This is a topic I bet is on the minds of many Green Bay Packers fans as of today and most likely until the end of the regular season. A lot of people could say that it’s all Mike McCarthy’s fault, and that’s an easy conclusion to come to for most fans of sports teams that when a season isn’t going according to plan. I’m here to state the fact that it’s not just coach Mike McCarthy, but it’s an interesting mixture of various reasons that has led to what is now a 4-6-1 record so far. First off, to blame McCarthy is so easy to do and most fans would just simply roll with it as the season goes and it becoming a shared belief, but if you’re a true fan of the Cheeseheads, you would take the time to actually do research and look at the stats and study the game footage from each week so far and see, oh there’s way more factors than I had originally thought of. It’s true, there are way more problems with the team than the coach himself that have attributed to this spiraling season.
Here’s what I can tell you the least, there are way more than just two reasons why this season has been in the dumps so far. So far it has been a wild ride up until week 12. So many close games, so many thrilling, and insane moments. We started off with what seemed to be a horrible start to the Packer’s season when the Bears defense, led by the now hero in Chicago, Khalil Mack. This guy dominated the first-half of play during the game and it seemed relevant that Coach Gruden in Oakland made a huge mistake letting his best D-Lineman leave for the Windy City. Then in what would seem like a repeat of last season with Rodgers being out with a collarbone injury, he was crushed under the might of Khalil Mack and the rookie Roquan Smith late in the second half. Rodgers held his knee and then was carried back to the sideline where we would later leave the field in a cart, which is the single worst thing to see when a key and future hall of fame player leaves the field with an injury. Being carted off is an instant signal that the injured player is most likely not coming back. As the game went on, the Pack looked to previous starting QB of the Browns, DeShone Kizer. His initial start coming in to replace Rodgers was looking good for far during his first drive, up until Khalil Mack came storming in and strip sacked the second year QB out of Notre Dame. Then, it went downhill from there when in an attempt of panic for whatever reason under pressure in the pocket in the ensuing drive, Kizer threw the ball right into the hands of Khalil Mack who returned that ball for a pick six. It had all seemed but over for the game and possibly for the rest of the season, but like a strange light from the heavens, Rodgers comes trotting out, yes trotting, from the main field entrance and seemed all but unscathed and was wearing a helmet! After half time, he came on to the field and with it, an uproar of fans showing much support and relief that their star player was back on the field playing. His performance that game is one of the single greatest performance by a QB with an injured knee I had ever seen, as if Rodgers hadn’t done any else spectacular before.
So the season would seem like a smooth ride to the playoffs from there with the jaw dropping performance orchestrated by the Hero of Green Bay. Soon then, week 2 would come against the Vikings, which would lead to a tie and then after that, things would seem to start to digging itself into the ground. So here’s what my first reason for why the season has being going roughly as it has been so far, it’s bad luck. This team has been riddled with bad luck since week 1 of the season. First it began with Rodger’s knee after being pummeled by the Mack, which would limit his ability to scramble immensely, which is what makes him such a fantastic player as he is, but don’t get me wrong, during that week one game, he seemed perfectly fine with being in the pocket most of the time in the second half. It then went aground again when Clay Matthews was penalized for the most ridiculous call by Refs since the tuck rule, roughing the passer. I mean, I get that the league wants to protect quarterbacks and it was mostly because of Rodger’s injury the previous season, but if you look at the replay from that week 2 game, it’s a textbook hit that even rugby players practice the hit in-game against people with no padding at all. That kind of ruling would make sense to me if the person sacking the quarterback was completely on top of the QB and just using his entire body to crash him into the ground, or doing a hit like the one on Rodger’s from the 2017 season, it would make a lot of sense. But the way the Matthews was driving Cousins down on his rear end, it doesn’t really seem like a cause for major injury on a play like that. The worst part of that penalty was that, at the same time when Matthews was sacking Kirk Cousins, the ball was picked off by the Rookie from Louisville, Jaire Alexander. So the game would’ve been done and over with, with the pick from Alexander, but because of the penalty, it allowed the ball to be given back to the Viking’s offense, and would eventually allow them to take the game to overtime and then led to what was the end of that game, a tie. The bad luck continued with the week 5 performance by Mason Crosby when he missed five attempts, four field goals and one extra point. It is also clearly depicted when the Pack played the LA Rams in week 8. 4th quarter, it’s 29 Rams to 27 Pack, the Rams are kicking off to Ty Montgomery, one the Packer’s most reliable return men. There’s 2:05 on the clock and with this drive late in the 4th would seem ideal for a 2 minute drive that would end with a game winning field goal by the veteran Mason Crosby, a perfect scenario. The ball is kicked high in the air and Ty receives the ball in the end zone. In this case, this very moment, one would most likely just take a simple knee and take it out to the 25 yard line, but for a lame excuse, Ty decided to take it out and the most devastating situation to occur would occur. The reliable return man fumbles the ball and the ball is picked up by the tackler, Ramik Wilson; Thus, allowing the Rams to drive out the clock and would end the game in the worst possible fashion for the Pack. Most of the games this season that were lost have all resulted in pretty close games and it’s just demoralizing for a team when they lose a close game, I would know personally, having played a lot of team sports my whole life. You work so hard to win a game and to only come so close is just that bad compared to losing big time.
So we’ve discussed one big reason, but there are still plenty of other reasons for why the Packer’s season has gone so far in the a hole. So far, if you haven’t noticed, is becoming a record season for our famed QB, in both a good and bad way. The good way is that he has only thrown one interception throughout the whole season so far as a starter this entire season and that one interception came when the ball was tipped by the receiver and then picked off by a free safety. The bad way is that Rodger’s is having one of the worst seasons in terms of passing completions and percentages. As of this moment, his passing completion percentage is lowest it’s been since his second year in the NFL. This is mostly due to the many throw aways during the game and the team’s situation with injuries at the wide receiver core. The Pack have a major issue with moving the ball down the field and it’s a blend of the fault being on the injuries and the O-line as well. His inability to stay mobile because of his knee injury and the O-line breaking down within seconds of the ball being snapped had caused Rodgers to throw away the ball multiple times, and he is on a record-setting pace, which is really bad. Have you also noticed that Rodger’s accuracy and consistency is a bit off at times? If you take a look at the week 12 game in the second meeting agianst the Vikings, there were many times when Davante Adams was open in front of the Xavier Rhodes during fade routes and Rodger’s just simply overthrew his number one receiver a multitude of times. Even during simple screen plays, there have been times when he threw the ball in the wrong spot and because of the inaccurate throw, it allows more time for the defenders to cover up the receiver faster. At times during the screen pass as well, Rodgers will simply just throw the ball into the ground. It’s hard to see this future hall of fame Quarterback under perform like this, like he’s a rookie QB or something, because of what he has been known to be, the most accurate Quarterback anyone has seen ever; but it’s the reality and a lot of people would simply want to ignore that fact because they’ve never seen their quarterback play like this before. They are more used to seeing Rodger’s as their savior and hero in Green Bay, the man who ran the table years ago.
The other big reason is because of the strange decisions the Packers organization make during and after the regular seasons. This team seemed to be the team that would finally bring Rodger’s to another Super Bowl. Especially with a revamped secondary, the return of Rodgers, and the many receivers that were waiting to show off their skills. The receivers time would come, but the issue with rookies is that is takes time for them to get used to the offensive scheme and getting into the right place during the play, and it is clear when Rodger’s is frustrated and when he is comfortable. In all my time watching the Packer’s, I’ve never seen Aaron so angry in my entire life, until this season. It’s completely obvious that this may be his most frustrating season ever. He received a $134 million contract that would secure his time being in Green Bay and set the record for the highest paid QB in NFL history. When you’re a humble QB and you receive a contract with that kind of earning, you expect the organization to make good decisions and surround you with a good team that will help you win another Super Bowl. That is not the case with Rodger’s, sure Guntekunst made some great moves getting the 6’5 tight end out of Jimmy Graham, a red zone threat, and Mohammed Wilkerson at D-line, but that’s not enough, especially with what the Packer’s needed to address. I won’t lie that Gutekunst has made great moves and has secured a potentially good draft class in the 2019 draft with two first round picks, but there’s just simple decisions that just makes me want to just roll into a ball and question everything. Why in the world would you trade away the one of the best, if not the best Free Safety in the league in Haha Clinton-Dix for a 4th round pick. At least get another first round pick, or second round pick or some good player from another team with that extra first round pick we have for 2019. No, you had to go and get the worst trade I’ve ever seen and weaken this young secondary even more. It doesn’t matter whether you have the best QB or best coach in the league, you have to help them by the adding good additions to the team or just don’t trade anyone at all. You now have Tramon Williams who is playing the role of Haha now and cornerback mechanics are so much different from safety mechanics and you can see that without Clinton-Dix, this secondary can’t make anything happen now. To add to that, you have many injuries in the secondary now and taking Haha out of the picture just thins out the depth and strength even more in the secondary. I get it, his contract was up and you don’t want to pay a high price for an extension, but seriously, he is still young and Rodger’s is almost 35 now, his years are closer to the back-end of his career. He is one of the most outstanding QBs in history and for some reason this organization has the guts to make a bad trade, no wonder why Rodger’s is frustrated this year!
Though it will take a lot help and effort to try to make it to the playoffs at this point in time, it’s easy to point towards someone and put the blame all on them, and it’s easy to just find a scapegoat. My word to Mike McCarthy, your seat may be warm, but it’s not red-hot yet, and there’s a lot of factors why; you have mostly rookies playing because of injury, Rodger’s isn’t playing at his highest level, and the team just keeps having a bad run in with luck being against the Pack, so don’t be worried, there are still many out their that believe you are a great coach still and I firmly believe that. Until this team is playing horrible with healthy players, I can’t come to the conclusion that we should fire coach McCarthy yet. You have to just do simple research and know that it’s not only the coach, but the many other factors generally can attribute as well to the way a season goes, in any direction.
Photo credited: NBC Sports: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/04/17/report-aaron-rodgers-frustrated-with-being-frozen-out-of-personnel-decisions/
I do not own rights to any photos featured in any article