The Green Bay Packers and their future Hall of Fame quarterback are in shambles. Like an Aaron Rodgers deep ball, the Packers continue to fall dreadfully short time and time again, this week reaching an even lower low after crumbling to the previously 1-6 Detroit Lions, 15-9.
Through the first eight weeks of the 2022 season, the Lions sported one of the worst defenses of all time by several statistical measures. The Packers put up 9 points.
This was the team’s final chance at a get-right game, and instead it became a showcase of just how broken this offense is at every level.
The beginning of this one was bizarre. The Packers’ offense moved the ball well for a good chunk of the first half and finished the game with almost 400 total yards of offense. Awful red zone mistakes from the quarterback and failure to capitalize on short-yardage opportunities killed Green Bay and ensured they left the first half with a big, fat goose egg on the scoreboard.
The severe issues the team has on offense are layered. The Packers look nothing like they have the past three years under Matt LaFleur from a schematic standpoint. The offense is completely out of rhythm, and it starts with the quarterback.
There are tons of plays you can point to in this game vs. Detroit where receivers are simply running straight go routes 20-30 yards downfield, then slow down and look back at Rodgers being chased or sacked.
It was reported earlier in the week that Rodgers told his friend and NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews that he wants to “go down swinging” and that the team needs to air the ball out to have a chance at redeeming this season.
The similarities to the awful 2018 season start here. That year ended the Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay and had fans questioning if Rodgers was cooked.
In 2018, the tension between McCarthy and Rodgers boiled and reached its breaking point. Rodgers openly criticized McCarthy’s offense that relied heavily on one-on-one matchups, a scheme that demanded talented receivers who can separate on an island.
When the 2018 Packers realized their talent from previous successful seasons had deteriorated, Rodgers was forced to play hero ball and often resorted to chucking up deep passes to heavily covered receivers.
Now that the 2022 Packers face a severe lack of talent at the receiver position, frustration across the team but especially from the quarterback is obvious. Rodgers screamed to himself after several broken plays vs. Detroit on Sunday.
How does Rodgers deal with the frustration and try to pull the team back into games? By completely hijacking LaFleur’s scheme that is built on getting guys open for short passes.
You can see it on the film in multiple instances throughout the game; some guys are getting open, and Rodgers is flat out missing them. Sometimes he’s even looking directly at them and bails.
The play below is a mirror image of the bizarre, rattled choices Rodgers was consistently making when the offense was broken at the end of McCarthy’s tenure.
Instead of keeping patience and taking what the defense gives you, the Packers panicked as usual, and thus it was time to “go down swinging” by going for hopeless home run plays.
This is flat out not the offense we’ve seen from LaFleur’s Packers and not the one they want to be running. Rodgers has the resume and power to influence the offense like this. We’ve seen it devolve to this level with two different regimes and receiving corps; Rodgers is the common denominator.
The Packers’ offensive issues are as psychological as they are physical. The similarities to previous broken offenses are astonishing and likely to only get worse as the teams grows more desperate.
Rodgers will not and should not be benched, like so many fans and media called for Sunday. He does not deserve sole blame for the offense’s struggles and still occasionally makes great throws that look like his old self.
More importantly, though, he has the Packers’ hands tied. He’s making $50 million guaranteed this season and $60 million next year. He’s a four-time MVP, the reigning back-to-back MVP, a Super Bowl champion and a future Hall-of-Famer.
The Packers would surely like to see more of what they have in Jordan Love, as they need to decide whether to pick up his fifth-year option early next year. Picking up his option guarantees him $22 million in 2023. However, if Rodgers doesn’t retire, they owe him that $60 million next season and lose $99 million in dead money if they cut of trade him. It’s hard to believe Green Bay would pay both of those deals.
The Packers are broken, and their future is uncertain. In the immediate future, they get Mike McCarthy’s 6-2 Cowboys coming to Lambeau next week followed by matchups against the undefeated Eagles and 5-3 Titans.
They needed this one in Detroit. There’s a far too real possibility Green Bay will be riding an eight-game losing streak after the next three games.——————