It’s Time to Wave the White Flag in Green Bay
It’s time to face reality if you are a fan of the Green Bay Packers. The 2016 season is completely over. Green Bay entered the season as one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The injuries began to pile up and their 3–1 record quickly turned into 4–6. After another humiliating loss, It’s officially time to start thinking about 2017.
After the playoff loss to Arizona, the Packers felt pretty good after all the dust settled. The offense would get Jordy Nelson back. Eddie Lacy would return in tremendous condition. Lastly, Green Bay found a tight end in free agency that can stretch the field. The combination of a good defense and advancing their weapons on offense would surely lead the Packers back to the postseason.
That wasn’t the case.
The Packers opened up the season on a hot day in Jacksonville. Their win didn’t come without a major casualty. The Packers’ clear #1 cornerback, Sam Shields left the game with a concussion. It was the fifth concussion he suffered since he was drafted in 2010. Even though he was eventually placed on the IR, Green Bay felt pretty good with last year’s draft picks stepping up.
Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins were poised to be the #1 and # 2 cornerbacks for the young Packers’ secondary. The Packers selected the two CBs in the 1st and 2nd rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft. They both made a lot of plays in 2015. The young tandem could rely on veterans, Morgan Burnett and HaHa Clinton- Dix if they had any trouble. The secondary could survive without Sam Shields. Right?
Wrong. The injury bug struck again.
Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins both sustained a groin injury. Luckily for Rollins, the injury didn’t need surgery. Randall wasn’t so lucky.
Damarious Randall suffered a groin injury in a win over the New York Giants. He gutted it out in the loss to Dallas, but had to leave the game early. It was later revealed that the Packers’ #1 pick in the 2015 draft needed to go under the knife.
Quinten Rollins has been battling a groin injury too. The former Miami of Ohio basketball star is battling to stay on the field because he knows the secondary is very thin. Realistically, Rollins is listed at the 3rd CB. It’s all but impossible for a team’s #3 CB to cover guys like Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and other premiere wide receivers.
It’s been proven over the current 4 game losing skid that Brice, Gunter, Goodson, and Rollins aren’t good enough to stop the passing game of the opponent. The Packers are usually the team scoring 40+ points. This year, they give it up.
We all know Green Bay can’t defend the pass, but what about the run?
The Packers began the season with a pretty good run defense. It was tough sledding for opponents to run on Mike Daniels and others early in the year.
That quickly changed.
The Dallas Cowboys’ leading rush attack came to Lambeau Field and humbled the Packers’ number one rush defense. The game consisted of Green Bay turning the ball over and Ezekiel Elliott feeding himself after an impressive first down run. The Cowboys ran all over the Green Bay Packers in their backyard.
The Cowboys aren’t the only team that ran all over the Packers.
Green Bay entered Tennessee giving up a respectable 76 yards on the ground. The opening drive punt resulted in the Packers losing their leading tackler and young LB, Jake Ryan. That left a gigantic void in the Packers’ run defense. It took Demarco Murray one play to expose it when he rushed the ball for a 75 yard touchdown. The game was only 2 minutes old when they gave up 1 less rushing yard then their season average.
The injuries to Clay Matthews completely took away the ability to rush the QB. The Packers’ secondary lost their 3 best cornerbacks which resulted in wide open receivers. The combination of Green Bay’s injuries and Dom Capers’ inability to recognize his personnel has turned the Packers’ season into a flop.
What about the other side of the ball?
There is no question the Packers’ offense hasn’t clicked in 2 years. We all believed losing Jordy Nelson was the main reason that Green Bay sputtered. It also didn’t help that Eddie Lacy had a “little bit of a weight problem”. The return of Jordy and Eddie, and the addition of Jared Cook gave Green Bay the opportunity to be the best offense in the NFL.
The injury bug also attacked the Packers’ offense in 2016.
Let’s start with this. If the Packers didn’t have Aaron Rodgers, they would be competing with the Cleveland Browns for the 1st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Packers are very fortunate Aaron Rodgers has been able to stay healthy. (Knock on wood)
The Packers’ running back situation has been a revolving door. Green Bay lost their top 2 running backs. Eddie Lacy was placed on the IR. James Starks has finally returned from injury.
While Lacy and Starks healed, the Packers turned to their practice squad and acquisitions for help. It began when they elevated Don Jackson from the practice squad. They also acquired Knile Davis from the Kansas City Chiefs. When Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Ripkowski ran the ball in big spots, they decided to turn to WR, Ty Montgomery as their main RB. That’s all you need to know about the production of Knile Davis (no longer on the team) and Don Jackson (IR).
The Packers just acquired former Seahawk, Christine Michael to be help the running game. It’s difficult to run the ball when your defense gives up 40+ points and the offensive line if bruised and battered.
In August, the Packers looked like they may have a top 5 offensive line in the NFL.
In a shocking move, the Packers cut former pro bowl guard, Josh Sutton. The emergence of Lane Taylor allowed Ted Thompson to move on from Josh Sitton who signed with the Chicago Bears. The other pro bowl guard, TJ Lang is still blocking beautifully for Aaron Rodgers. However, TJ suffered an injury in the blowout loss against the Tennessee Titans.
JC Tretter began the season as the starting center. Another injury for JC resulted in him being sidelined. Cory Linsley stepped into the starting center role. Linsley is a good center, but the loss of Tretter has major ramifications. JC Tretter has the ability to play every position on the offensive line. Without Tretter, we are forced to watch Don Barclay play professional football. It’s hard to find a offensive lineman worse that Don Barclay.
The Packers have two very good tackles. Bahktiari and Bulaga have done an excellent job protecting Aaron Rodgers. When healthy, both guys are great. However, Bahktiari and Bulaga have always battled injuries throughout their careers.
It was more of the same from the tight end position for the Packers.
Jared Cook was signed by Ted Thompson to finally give Aaron Rodgers a legitimate tight end to throw the ball to. Unfortunately for Cook and the Packers, he was injured in the win over Detroit. This left the Packers with Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo. The city of Green Bay loves Richard Rodgers for catching Aaron’s Hail Mary in 2015, but we have to be realistic. Richard Rodgers is not Rob Gronkowski. He’s by far, the worst receiving tight end in the NFC North.
Jared Cook proved two things in last night’s loss to Washington. One, with a legitimate tight end, the Packers can score with anyone. Two, Richard Rodgers isn’t good enough to stretch the field. The Packers need to bring Jared Cook back if they want any production out of the tight end position.
The wide recievers weren’t immune to the injury bug going through the Packers’ locker room. Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery have dealt with various injuries in 2016. It’s more important for them to be in the lineup because of the lack of running game. The Packers lined Randall and Ty at running back on numerous occasions. Cobb and Ty’s slot positions give Nelson, Cook, and Adams the ability to get open for Aaron Rodgers.
As long as the Packers don’t quit, Mike McCarthy deserves another year to show the NFL why he’s an elite coach. There is no question that he needs to make changes to his coaching staff. Dom Capers can’t be the defensive coordinator. Injuries are a huge reason why they can’t stop anyone, but Capers has done a putrid job playing with the hand he was dealt. How many times does he have to blitz HaHa and Morgan to realize his players can’t cover?
It’s not even Thanksgiving and the Packers are done in the NFC playoff picture. When healthy, the Packers are an elite team, but they aren’t. They are a 4–6 team that will likely end the season trying to spoil Minnesota and Detroit’s. Aaron Rodgers isn’t the problem despite all the angry ex-teammates calling him out. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and only one Super Bowl. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy need to look into the mirror before the 2017 season because 2016's is over.