How are you doing Packer fans? Have you survived the emotional roller coaster that has been the first six weeks of the regular season? Because that’s exactly what the Packers have done. They’ve survived. And now, they limp into their bye week and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Packers, as is the case to begin every year, entered the season as favorites to compete for a Super Bowl title. After an offseason filled with moves of gall and excitement, it appeared as though Packer fans were finally getting the change they had long been clamoring for. But, after six weeks, it is nearly impossible to get a good read on this year’s Packers.
Once again, Green Bay has fallen victim to key injuries. This is the first of many reasons that Green Bay eagerly welcomes their scheduled week off. Luckily, however, only a couple of long-term injuries have been sustained. Muhammad Wilkerson and Jake Ryan, support players of their respective units, are the lone victims of season-ending injuries amongst the starters. The injuries, for the most part, have been nagging ones. Key members of the defense including cornerbacks Kevin King and Jaire Alexander have yet to really have the ability to play together. The defense has yet to be at absolute full strength this year. The offense is no different.
After suffering a knee injury in his heroic comeback in week one, Aaron Rodgers has been obviously hampered by the bum knee. Rodgers has yet to really be the Rodgers that Packers fell in love with many years ago. The reasoning for that is up for debate. Has the knee injury truly affected him? Is he trying to do too much? Is he thinking too much? Rodgers has also yet to have his full arsenal of offensive weapons. Suspensions and injuries have kept key players off the field at various points. Aaron Jones is back and continuing his absurd productivity. Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison will look to return following the bye. Rodgers and his offense have a legitimate chance, similarly to the defense, to return from the bye at full strength.
Aside from the injuries is the concern for the stale nature of the offense. Like in recent seasons past, the offensive scheme just seems bland. That falls on head coach Mike McCarthy. There appears to be a lack of creativity and too much reliance on the greatness and ability of Aaron Rodgers; complacency, if you will. McCarthy can use the bye to gather his coaching staff and come up with a revitalized game-plan and a fresh set of ideas to deploy against arguably the toughest stretch of opponents in Green Bay’s schedule.
Coming out of the bye, Green Bay goes to New England, Los Angeles (Rams), and Minnesota in a stretch of 4 games. Not only is that a lot of traveling, the opponents will be no cake walk. If Green Bay is able to survive the next 4 games at a .500 clip, they should be counting their blessings.
Green Bay has notoriously been a second half team. Both the offense and the defense have yet to get on the same page and put together that “statement win”; a game where both units live up to the potential they’ve flashed and completely dominate an opponent. We’ve seen what they can do and have been wooed by the excitement and flashes just to be let down by the festering inconsistencies of both units. If Green Bay is going to make their infamous second-half of the season run, both units will need to be cohesive and consistent.
The Packers have many things to figure out during the bye week. They need to get healthy first, but when they do, there is no reason not to believe Green Bay can’t come out of the bye week firing on all cylinders and finally bring to fruition all of the excitement and potential that was discussed before the season began. The talent is there, they just need to put it all together.