With every down that the Packers are without Aaron Rodgers, it becomes increasingly clear that he has sustained success in little part because of the organization, but in spite of it. Everybody, from the players to Mike McCarthy to Ted Thompson to Mark Murphy, should be embarrassed by last night’s performance against the Lions.
Without Rodgers, the Packers might as well be the Browns.
Two weeks ago, Mike McCarthy stood up at a podium and defiantly said the team would not even consider bringing in an outside quarterback like Colin Kaepernick because he had over two years invested in Brett Hundley. For the second straight week, the Packers’ offensive game plan consisted of short passes that limited any sort of risk and reward. Before the final drive in garbage time, Hundley was 22-33 for 187 yards; 46 of those yards came on a screen pass to Randall Cobb. This was the second straight week that the offensive strategy belied McCarthy’s case that all was well and good in the quarterback room.
As frustrating as it was to watch the offense, the defense was in a whole other stratosphere of putridity. The Lions are a decent offensive team but the Packers made them look like the 2007 Patriots; Matthew Stafford had season highs in completion percentage (78.8) and yards per attempt (10.9). Aside from forcing one fumble and one drive where Matt Prater missed a field goal, the only way the Packers defense could get off the field was to allow a score:
Green Bay’s performances without Aaron Rodgers against the Vikings, Saints, and Lions should really make everyone call into question whether the right people are in charge.
The best skill of Dom Capers, whose defense’s inability to get stops when they need them has been a motif in playoff games, is managing to stay employed. He arguably should’ve been out as far back as early 2013. There is zero pass rush. Aside from a flea flicker that took forever to develop, Matthew Stafford had time to boil water in the pocket before finding open receivers.
Mike McCarthy has had three years to work with and evaluate Brett Hundley, and this was the best game plan he could come up with against a division rival off a bye in a season-on-the-line game? I thought he should be on the hot seat last year, and I stand by that opinion’s merit before the Packers improbably ran the table for a berth in the NFC Championship Game.
Ted Thompson has loaded the defense with early round picks, and as a unit it performs as though it’ll catch the bubonic plague on the sidelines. At some point, this leadership has to stop coasting on the brilliant decision to move on from Brett Favre for Aaron Rodgers, which led to a Super Bowl victory in early 2011.
You can say it’s not fair to judge the Packers’ organization when they lose a transcendent talent like Rodgers, but look at how the Patriots have performed without Tom Brady. They went 3-1 without him during the Deflategate suspension, and went 11-5 with Matt Cassel in the year he was out with a torn ACL. Andy Reid was able to win games in Philly without Donovan McNabb. The best coaches find a way.
If the Packers’ season continues to spiral in this direction without Rodgers, the dwindling window of his career should not be in the hands of the regime presently in charge.