Aaron, sit down a minute. We need to have a chat. For 16 games we have watched you play at about 3/4 of your potential. It has been like taking your Ferrari out of storage in the spring, but one of the tires is partially flat. The car still drives, the engine still works and is as powerful as ever, but it’s just off kilter and doesn’t take corners as well as it used to.
Are you hurt? Has the lack of receiving talent gotten to your brain and warped your frontal lobe like it has mine? Don’t get me wrong, your statistics this year were solidly okay. But they are so far below your career averages, it’s alarming. You have shown flashes of your usual greatness, especially in the 4th quarter of games you are losing. It’s clear the talent is still there. Judging by your press conferences and interviews, the drive and desire to win is as strong as it has been your entire career.
So what is the problem? I’m hanging my hat on some undisclosed injury, coupled with bad receivers and discord with Mike McCarthy. Please tell me that I’m right, and that next year will be back to normal. Because if this type of play continues next year, Packers fans might implode Twitter like a dying star, and I really don’t want that to happen.
From week 2 until the change was made, I screamed from the mountain tops that I wanted McCarthy to take playcalling duties back from Tom Clements. When he did so, I was expecting the Packers offense to improve. I’m not clinically insane, so I wasn’t expecting to turn the season around and become last year’s offense. But I figured that there would be a more natural flow to the offense, one that would open the field up a bit.
Perhaps schemes to get receivers open, and a more consistent running game. Unfortunately, McCarthy has not only failed to live up to these expectations, he’s gone the complete opposite direction. And after nuggets like his post game presser where he basically says that he isn’t changing anything, I’m not optimistic that things are going to get any better until he, his coaching staff, and the veteran players on the offense come together and have a long conversation.
My fear is that won’t happen until the offseason, although I guess next Monday isn’t that far off.
P.S. JUST BECAUSE YOUR RUNNING BACKS AREN’T AVERAGING 6 YARDS PER CARRY DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD COMPLETELY ABANDON THE RUNNING GAME, MIKE. HELLO? MIKE? OH GREAT, HE’S SPEAKING PITTSBURGHIAN AGAIN.
Perhaps the most upsetting thing for me about this season is how the lack of offense has completely wasted the best defense the Packers have had in several years. Save for the Chargers and Broncos games, this defense has been lights out all year long. Are flux capacitors real? Like, are they actually a thing? Is 1.21 gigawatts an actual measure of electrical power? Does anybody out there have a DeLorean? We need to figure out a way to get this defense onto last year’s team. If you have a better idea, let me know.
Micah Hyde had one of the greatest interceptions you will ever see. Watch that a few times to appreciate how insanely difficult that catch was. On Twitter, roughly 643,298 people simultaneously made the same joke about moving Hyde to wide receiver. I was busy sending an email to Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns asking him to give Hyde a look at shortstop.
Clay Mathews returned to the team this week in a big way. Much like he did during the first game against Minnesota, Clay made Teddy Bridgewater uncomfortable all game. Mike Neal and Mike Pennel were in the pocket most of the game as well. Ted Thompson has a few very difficult decisions to make in a few weeks regarding defensive free agents. It’s a good problem to have.
I want to address two particular special teams plays from this week’s game. I couldn’t find any video for this play, but Jeff Janis is a special teams monster. In the 2nd quarter, Tim Masthay punted and Janis (as usual) was to the returner before the ball. He timed his hit perfectly and jarred the ball loose. Unfortunately the ball ended up going out of bounds, so the Packers couldn’t capitalize on the muff (giggety), but the play was a reminder of how great Janis is as a gunner. It’s such a cool thing to see a player find a niche. Janis has definitely found his this season.
The second play happened in the 4th quarter, as the Packers were attempting their patented comeback. Mason Crosby kicked off to Cordarrell Patterson, who returned the ball 71 yards. All the momentum that Green Bay had just built had returned to the Vikings, and the game was about to be iced.
Suddenly, like a majestic centaur looking for a meal on rainbow covered plain, Mason Crosby appeared out of nowhere and channeled his inner Don Beebe, causing Patterson to fumble with a perfectly executed strip. Micah Hyde was there to recover the ball, and the Packers had new life.
Watch the video, and look at Crosby’s face on the sideline after the fumble is confirmed. That was his Rudy moment. If the Packers would have somehow won and not named Mason Crosby team MVP for the season, I would have called Judge Judy and filed a lawsuit.
The Packers travel to our nation’s capital for a Wild Card weekend matchup with the NFC East winning Washington team. FedEx Field is a career ender, and to be honest, my biggest hope is that everybody makes it out of their with all their bones and ligaments intact.
Kirk Cousins has been playing out of his mind, and the receivers will present some matchup problems with the Packers secondary. Hopefully Sam Shields will be back. Same goes for David Bakhtiari. Josh Sitton is a multi year Pro Bowl guard. He struggled badly as a left tackle against Minnesota, and clearly there are no other viable alternatives. It’s all hands on deck going forward for Green Bay. It’s a new season now, and the Packers need to pull together and get back to what makes them great.
GO PACK GO