It would be one thing if the Green Bay Packers lacked talent. These losses to the Giants, Jets, and now the Commanders would be understandable. However, with a pivotal game with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football, many thought the Packers would be 6-1 at this point. Smart football people were calling this a Super Bowl preview. Now those same people are saying the Packers – specifically the offense – return is questionable.
After two straight losses to teams from New York, it was pragmatic to think the Packers would travel to our nation’s capital and have the proverbial “get right game.” I’ll be the first to admit, I predicted the Packers to whip up on the Commanders 34-13. And for the first half, it looked like things were moving in the right direction.
Defense – Not Great, But Should be Good Enough
There’s really not one part of this Packers team that has been very good. While the defense has not been exceptional, they have been good enough. The problem is the defense is on the field way too much. As a result, by the second half, they’re gassed. And down the stretch, they’ve been beaten.
Special Teams – Far From Special
Indeed one could point a finger at the special teams unit. Notable was a short stretch in which it seemed Rich Bisaccia had the Packers’ notoriously bad special teams group turned around. But the turnaround was short-lived.
There always seems to be one special team’s play that puts the Packers over a barrel. Sunday against the Commanders it was Amari Rodgers muffed punt, again. Rodgers has often found himself the object of scorn of Packers Nation. In a moment in which the Packers had the momentum on their side, Rodgers put the defense back on the field. The fumble ultimately turned into a field goal, which proved to be the difference in the game. Rodgers has three fumbles on the year, two in the last three games.
Rodgers Aging Like Wisconsin Cheese? He’s Beginning to Stink…
But the real problem rests with the offense. While there are numerous examples of their futility. Above all, the fact against the Commanders, the Packers were unable to get a first down on a third down play screams of ineptitude. The last time this happened was in 1999 when Ray Rhodes was at the helm of the Packers. Brett Favre was the quarterback and Aaron Rodgers was still in high school.
It’s easy to blame Aaron Rodgers for the Packers’ shortcomings. Whenever a guy makes $50 million a year, the expectations are obviously high. And right at the moment, he is looking like a guy making his money on what he has done, not what he is doing. That’s never great.
However, the reality is he is not playing well. Rodgers is known for his accuracy in the passing game. Presently, he has not been very accurate. He overthrew Sammy Watkins on a deep ball against Washington. And several other passes have been at the feet of receivers. He does have a thumb injury on his throwing hand. It’s certain that the dinged-up thumb is having some effect on his throws. However, his pass selection and comfort in the pocket seem to be the real problems.
Receivers Dropping the Ball and Dropping Like Flies
Whereas Rodgers is having trouble making passes. His receivers are having equal difficulty catching his passes. Again on Sunday, there were numerous drops. Romeo Doubs, a rookie who was quickly becoming a fan favorite, didn’t catch any of his four targets against the Commanders. Allan Lazard also had a costly drop on a third downplay. All total, there were six drops on the day.
Coming into the season the questions about the Packers’ receiving corps were bountiful. Those questions still very much remain unanswered. And Packer Nation is begging for reinforcements by way of a trade for a veteran.
It would be out of character for Packers GM Brian Gutekunst to make a splash trade at this point in the season. It will likely come down to does Gutekunst believes enough in this team to give up his coveted draft picks. With very few teams in the NFC playing well, there is plenty of time to turn things around. The question is, can they? Do they have the heart to do so? Time will tell, but right now, for the Packers their return is questionable.——————
Patrick Hughes is an owner and life long fan of the Green Bay Packers. He is passionate about immersing himself into the Green Bay Packers community in Wisconsin and around the globe. A landscape designer and marketer by day and a Packers writer by night. You can follow him on twitter at @PHUGHESWI.