Inconsistency and disappointment. The 2022 season ended in much the same way the year went for Green Bay. When the season started, there were very few who thought this team would fail to even make the playoffs. Now, the Packers offseason decisions are both immediate and long term in nature. Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur cannot allow a fear of change to take ahold of them and prevent them from making some hard changes this offseason.
Admittedly, it’s difficult as an outsider to truly know if there are areas where coaching has been lacking. However, it seemed pretty clear that multiple units underachieved, particularly on defense. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry finished the season strong, and he adjusted his defensive strategy greatly after the bye week.
When the pressure is on in critical moments, his obsessive dedication to passive zone defense still shows up. On the Lions final scoring drive, Barry lined up his corners 8 yards off the ball on 4th and 2, giving a free first down to extend the drive. Deep zones also gave the final first down, again on 4th down, the Lions needed to ice the game.
On Offense, the Packers woes in the read zone are well documented. They ended 2022 as the worst red zone team in the NFL. While some of this can be identified by the numerous changes on the offensive coaching staff last year, it’s worrisome that LaFleur is so sure that the same coaching staff can make a radical improvement to such a key area.
Coach Matt LaFleur indicated in his post season press conference that he expects to make little to no changes to the coaching staff. While continuity and internal improvement are admirable goals, rewarding mediocrity sends a poor message. LaFleur has earned some trust and leeway in building his staff with his previous winning seasons. One poor season is frustrating, but excusable. A second one in 2023 would up the temperature on LaFleur significantly.
Rodgerswatch is back in 2023. At the end of the day, the Packers will have very little to say about quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After signing him to a then record-breaking contract last offseason, he is driving the ship so to speak. The body language police out there would say that Rodgers was acting like a player saying his goodbyes during the Lions postgame. Whether that was a goodbye from football or a request to be traded, is anybody’s guess. Or he could say he wants to come back to the Packers. Luckily, it sounds like he will make the decision early enough to ensure that it doesn’t impact the offseason negatively.
After clarity is reached regarding Rodgers playing status, the next move will be determining what to do with Jordan Love. He has improved each year. Love has grown immensely his confidence in running the scheme and has made major changes to his footwork and processing. He deserves a chance to start in this league. Hopefully that is with the Packers, but it’s understandable that it may be elsewhere. It’s pretty safe to say that both Rodgers and Love will not be on the Packers in 2023.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.