Wes, the final game the Packers regressed to the mean. The indicators (data, stats) are there, the question I have is why? What explains such a mediocre performance in such a meaningful game?
I’ve been asking myself that same question. Detroit just outplayed the Packers. Even when Green Bay was up at the end of the first three quarters, something just felt off. In the postgame locker room, Allen Lazard even acknowledged the parallels to the playoff game against San Francisco last year. A season like that leaves much to ponder for the coaching staff and front office.
Once again short yardage and red zone let us down. When will we commit to formations designed to get the tough yards and get out of the “multi-purpose” shotgun? There are never enough O-linemen/fullbacks to take care of the stacked box and running a WR end-around on fourth-and-1 deep in our own territory made me want to throw up.
In my opinion, that’s the No. 1 thing Green Bay needs to find an answer for this offseason. The Packers missed the mark inside the 20 this year. It’s not easy to convert 80% of your red-zone trips into TDs, but the Packers were nearly 30 points below that. Other than a few AJ Dillon goal-line runs and two TD passes to Marcedes Lewis, Green Bay didn’t have much to hang its hat on in goal-to-go.
Wow, such a disappointing way to end the season. The Lions are not a better team. They just played with more emotion than we did. We had stupid penalties, dropped balls, things that plagued us all year. Time for everyone to do some inner soul searching. As far as Aaron’s presser, please don’t pull a Brett and waver about retiring. Make up your mind early and stick to it. Show up to OTAs and build the chemistry. Don’t wait for training camp. If you retire, stay retired, don’t waffle!
The Lions played how I expected – gritty and fearless. Aaron Glenn and his staff developed two solid game plans for both matchups with the Packers. The Lions didn’t have the benefit of three turnovers inside the Lions’ 25 this time around but found ways to make life difficult on Aaron Rodgers with the two-shell. The Packers only committed four penalties, but they were significant. I had a pit in my stomach after Michael Badgley’s field goal before halftime and that uneasy feeling never left in the second half.
Looking at the future. The NFC East was the dominant division in the NFC this year. Can you see the NFC North being that dominant division soon? Despite what happened Sunday night, I believe the Pack will be back in contention. The Vikings have a great lineup and a good new coach, Lions are on the definite uptick, and the Bears…who knows what happens if they spend their high draft picks wisely and build around Justin Fields? With the NFL being so fluid lately, nothing would surprise me.
The task is only going to get taller with Fields in Chicago and the Lions on the rise. So many of you asked us last offseason about which team scared me the most and every time my answer was Detroit – because of the foundation Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell are building. The NFC is lucky the Lions got off to such a slow start and couldn’t catch the playoff pack.
Rich from Manitou Springs, CO
Being a kid during the Lombardi era, I heard it said that a rookie will cost you a game during the season. Do you think we had too many rookies this year for part of our downfall?
I actually think more the opposite. The rookies helped save this team. The offense went as Christian Watson went during the second half of the year, and Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt both improved significantly outside the regrettable finals. The Packers did not play to their potential this season. I don’t think we ever saw the best version of this 2022 team. There were too many missed opportunities, especially in the red zone. Final regular-season records reflect the totality of a season, and the Packers were as inconsistent as their 8-9 mark suggests.
Before Sunday’s game, I remember thinking the Packers really have something with Quay Walker and his aggressive, physical style in the middle of our defense. Here’s hoping this young man discovers a more mature player going forward and is able to channel that passion to stop at the whistle in his sophomore season. But is it as easy as that?
Football is a game of passion, but players must control those emotions. I commend Walker for coming into the locker room on Monday and taking ownership of his wrongdoings. Walker, teary-eyed, delivered a heartfelt apology and said he also reached out to the Lions trainer to say he’s sorry. Incidents like that cannot happen once, let alone twice, especially in the same season. Hopefully, it’s something Walker can learn from heading into his second NFL season. Walker is a talented young man, but you gotta control your emotions on the field.
David from San Antonio, TX
Wes, compared to Detroit, Green Bay was, in a word, soft. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, they were passive and outplayed. I don’t mean that to sound as negative as it does, but it speaks to culture. Is this an issue to address moving forward?
The undisciplined penalties are something LaFleur has to nip in the butt heading into next season. He said as much during his season wrap-up news conference on Monday, adding that those types of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will not happen again. I think that goes back to the culture under LaFleur’s watch the past four seasons.
A lot was made of Rodgers skipping OTAs, and I, like most, shrugged it off – he’d done it before and won MVPs. But with three WRs and a new one in Watkins this year, every game had multiple plays where he wasn’t on the same page as the newbs. In hindsight, Rodgers’ greatest strength has always been his telepathy. I now think the OTAs could’ve been an opportunity for him to coach them on things like diagnosing defenses, where to go when plays break down, etc. Have you changed your mind, too?
OTAs are voluntary, so I’m never gonna sit here and say, “Oh, Player X has to be here.” I’ve maintained my position that it was just as beneficial for the young receivers to learn the offense with Jordan Love under center given the learning process involved with the playbook. I think of it as studying with the teaching assistant before taking the test with the professor.