The Green Bay Packers are coming off of their ugliest loss of the 2023 season, and it was against a pretty bad Raiders team. The offense was stale all night. Jordan Love put on his worst performance as a professional quarterback. Christian Watson had his most head scratching outing since his first game as a rookie. The defense… has certainly had worse nights under Joe Barry, so they can’t entirely be blamed (for this one, anyway).
Ultimately my point here is this; we knew what to expect from this Packers team. Jordan Love was never going to keep up his pace of three touchdowns and no interceptions every game. Joe Barry wasn’t going to suddenly change the way his defense schematically functions. The first and second year players on offense were never going to suddenly memorize the playbook, protections, signals, etc. This team wasn’t going to just get better overnight, especially after an offseason where they lost around 10 starting caliber players.
Identity Crisis for the Offense
The 2023 Green Bay Packers are a team that is still trying to figure out who they are, especially on offense. Are they going to try to regularly push the ball downfield? Are they going to do everything in their power to establish the run? Are they a “take what the defense gives them” type of offense? The current answer is: they try to be something different every week. Obviously no team is as one dimensional as I am currently implying, but it is nonetheless important to have an idea of what your strengths are as a football team.
When Jordan Love was asked what is most consistent about the offense he began his response with, “I think we’re able to adjust once we kinda get a feel for what the defense is doing… we can start moving the ball in the second half.” This was slightly alarming because it sounds like the offensive identity at the moment is to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall until something works and then roll with more of that.
With a young offense this approach isn’t too surprising. Still, at some point this team need to figure out what they do well. Not only what they do well, but how they can best come in and exploit defenses out of the gate based on film study, and not necessarily what they see in the first half of a game.
The Packers now have a chance for plenty of self scouting, rest, and recovery during their bye week. The goal is to use this bye week to bounce back against a weak Denver team, but the problems on this team most likely won’t be going away any time this season. The 2023 Packers will have games that look like weeks 1 through 3 and they’ll have games that look like weeks 4 and 5. The ultimate goal is to have fewer games that look like their last two as they get deeper into the season.
So, Is This a Playoff Team?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that the 2023 Packers were never supposed to be a playoff team, and it would be extremely promising for their future if they even came close to earning a playoff spot.
I know there was a lot of hype after the Packers dismantled the Bears, or after Jordan Love tossed three touchdowns on the road in a close loss against a commendable Atlanta defense. This hype never meant that this team was going to be perfectly consistent. The expectation for the Packers should not have been to lose the best quarterback in team history, as well as 5 other veteran players, and suddenly look more experienced or more consistent.
This team will continue to have flashes of promise, and it will certainly continue to have growing pains as well. The goal for fans should be to do as Aaron Rodgers said on the Pat McAfee Show; “Just take some deep breaths.” Jordan Love will likely be around for at least a couple years, so let’s give him and the offense some time to go through growing pains and improve.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.