It’s been years since a Green Bay Packers loss was this disheartening.
It’s not because the 23-21 loss vs the previously 2-4 Washington Commanders dropped the Packers to 3-4. Several other perennial NFC powerhouses like Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Los Angeles sport the same disappointing record.
It’s not that the Packers lost to a team whose fans chanted “sell the team” throughout the game.
No, this loss stings like no other this season because the Packers revealed their missing identity; and that is, they don’t have one.
Strap in, Packers fans, because this is the team, and these are the types of games you’ll be subjected to for the rest of 2022. And who knows how far beyond that.
So many things about the Green Bay Packers that one could hang their hat on have vanished. Last week, the Packers broke their streak under Matt LaFleur of never losing two regular season games in a row. This week, they stretched their losing streak to three games, each one supposedly an opportunity to “get right.”
The passing offense is broken, and it’s become clear that bringing in a receiver before the trade deadline won’t be enough to save it. The team would need an All-Pro type of receiver to patch the dreadfulness that is the Packers air attack, talent that simply isn’t available on the market, and talent the team wouldn’t trade for even if it was.
Like no other quarterback, Aaron Rodgers preaches the importance of detail and trust with his receivers. Rodgers would reject any mid-level receiver the team brought in anyway, since he wouldn’t have the years of practice time it seemingly takes to gel with any pass catcher on the roster.
It’s hard to see this ship being righted. Besides another game against the Bears later in the season (and even that shouldn’t be guaranteed), this contest vs the Commanders was arguably the easiest game remaining on the Packers schedule. They didn’t take care of business and collect another win before the schedule really starts to ramp up.
What you can count on with this team solidifies their identity. Teams can come back vs Green Bay. The Packers held 10+ point leads against the Giants and Commanders that they promptly surrendered, primarily because of offensive incompetence.
You can count on Aaron Jones, the Packers best offensive player by a mile this year, to be scrapped from the gameplan after the first drive or two. Jones had just 8 carries in a game where both LaFleur and Rodgers admitted afterwards that Washington was playing two-high coverage almost the entire game – they were inviting the Packers to run.
LaFleur stands at the podium week after week saying that the number of carries Jones received was unacceptable, and that they’re going to find ways to get him more involved. For over a month now, nothing has changed.
Expect at least one crucial special teams blunder every week with the Packers. The unit allowed two kicks to be blocked last week, and this week, punt returner Amari Rodgers fumbled his fifth (!!) return of the season that gifted Washington points.
The defense is consistent, if nothing else. Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell returned an interception for a touchdown, the first time a Packers linebacker has done that since Julius Peppers in 2014. It was the highlight of the past three weeks.
The pass defense doesn’t give much up, except when they do in crucial moments. Teams can run all over the Packers. The defense as a whole tends to break in the fourth quarter, but it’s hard to blame them when the offense lets them down drive after drive.
The Packers aren’t in a rut, they’re not just working things out. These are their struggles, and this is who they are. They are a bad football team.
Next week, in front of the entire country on Sunday Night Football, Green Bay stumbles into a buzzsaw that is the 5-1 Buffalo Bills, arguably the most complete team in the NFL.
Liam O’Donnell is a devoted Packers fan and an aspiring sportswriter from Milwaukee. He writes for PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @liamodonnell___.
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