The Green Bay Packers are in free fall. Meanwhile, Packers Nation is melting down. In addition to the teams’ poor play. General Manager Brian Gutekunst failed to appease the Packers faithful with a trade for a desperately needed wide receiver. All that said, there’s still hope, and reason for optimism. Could it be that a loss to the Buffalo Bills will Galvanize the Packers?
There was a lot of talk Monday following the loss to the Bills of this game being a moral victory. The Packers beat the 10.5-point spread (by half a point) and didn’t get embarrassed. However, the Bills were in control of the game from early on. And stayed in control throughout.
That being the case and combined with now coming off of four straight losses very little seems to point towards success going forward for the Packers. But this does not seem to be a team that has given up or turned on itself. Granted, things are not looking great. The Packers are not playing well on either side of the ball or on special teams. Nonetheless, there is talent and a four-time MVP quarterback on this team.
Aaron Rodgers Still Optimistic
Speaking of the MVP quarterback. Aaron Rodgers is not giving off the vibes of an angry, dismissive veteran, wondering why he hasn’t hung it up. On his weekly visit to the Pat McAfee Show, he very much sounded like a man who still has optimism. And by accounts so do his teammates.
After all, it’s about winning when it matters. Not that it doesn’t matter now. But finishing strong and getting hot when the playoffs start is the true path to success. It’s cliche at this point, but the last time the Packers won the Super Bowl they went 10-6 and didn’t get hot until just before playoff time.
I also look at the Philadelphia Phillies. Currently in a dead heat with the Astros in the World Series. For Packer fans hailing from Wisconsin. They’ll remember just a few short weeks ago the Phillies were in a contested race with the Brewers for the final Wild Card spot. Both teams were determined to blow it.
Despite Injuries – Now or Never for the Green Bay Packers
The margin for error for the Packers at this point is slim. I wrote back in week one that it would take some time for the Packers to contend this season. The team needed to simmer. In an effort to allow all the various pieces of this team to find their groove. Since week one the Packers have seen more downs than ups. Now, however, is the time. If the Packers are going to have a chance at the playoffs, they best start Sunday against the Lions.
If you’re being honest, you’ll admit that the play has often been bad. Dropped passes, poor passes, wrong routes, poor tackling, mental mistakes, playing out of position, and penalties. The list goes on and on. However, you’ll also admit the Packers have been bit by the injury bug.
Have they had the same offensive line lineup for two consecutive weeks? The only player to line up at the same spot week after week is Josh Myers. And he has been fabulous. The wide receiver group has also been banged up. Operating without go-to starters and playing some very young and inexperienced receivers.
Joe Barry Needs to Coach Like His Job Depends On It
On the side of the ball, the defense also had a few injuries. While not as hamstrung as the offense by injuries, enough to be noteworthy. The problem with the defense is execution and scheme. Matt LaFleur may not say as much. But the natives in Packer Nation are not afraid to express their frustration with Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry. They are growing restless and calling for Barry to be dismissed. Over the next couple of months, Barry has an opportunity to change the narrative. If his story is going to be a long one, his unit best start playing winning football.
Winning is contagious is the old adage. Whereas going through adversity and staying together as a team, is the recipe for success. Starting Sunday, the Packers need to stack some wins. If they can manage to do so, this rough patch may be just what it took to galvanize the Green Bay Packers and meld them into a dangerous post-season team.——————
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.