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Blog – Per on the Pack

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Packers Win Over Browns Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

What a game!  If you were watching this past week’s Packers and Browns game, I’m sure that you were just as excited about it as we were.  Talk about on the edge of your seat kind of stuff!  This season has actually turned out to be a very interesting one for the Green Bay Packers and for all of NFL football really, football being something that has definitely been on my mind a lot!

In this last game, the Packers battled with the Browns neck and neck for the whole game, finally winning the game in overtime.  Aaron Rodgers stood on the sidelines watching, admidst rumors of his soon-to-be return to playing, though nothing has been confirmed yet.  Rodgers may be back next Sunday for a game, after his team kept hopes alive for a playoffs appearance by just barely beating the Browns twenty-seven to twenty-one in overtime.

The season seemed to be done after Rodgers broke his collarbone on October 15th.  But since then, replacement quarterback Brett Hundley has won three games and lost four, and two of those wins were the last two games, both of which were won in overtime, if you can believe that! 

One player, left tackle David Bakhtiari, had a comical analogy of the Packers to zombies with how the team has sustained so many injuries this season but just seems to keep on going no matter what:

  • “We’re like a zombie, we refuse to go down.  That’s a nice characteristic you want from a team when physically, the injuries are piling up. I don’t know what percentage we’ve had with back-to-back overtime games and having two walk-offs. It’s definitely a momentum builder.”

Coach Mike McCarthy has been constantly pestered with questions regarding Aaron Rodgers and his possible return to play this week.  Key eyewitness did see Rodgers playing in pads at practice, but that is no guarantee that he will play.  According to McCarthy in his rather emblematic and brusque demeanor:

  • “We love Aaron Rodgers, but I will not answer any questions about him today.  This is about winning the game. He’s still in the medical situation, and as soon as we have the information, we will try to get it to you.”

Green Bay Packers

In this past game, all seemed lost in overtime as the Browns pushed forward against the Packers.  Then, Packers safety Josh Jones intercepted a pass from Browns quarterback Kizer during overtime.  Then, as the Browns essentially knew it was lost with Packers’ possession of the ball, Hundley connected a short pass to Davante Adams, who scored the winning touchdown.  Talk about edge of the seat suspense indeed!

Our biggest concerns for the upcoming game are the mysteries about it.  Will Aaron Rodgers be playing in it?  Will he not be playing in it?  If he plays in the game, how will he perform?  Our biggest concerns about the game have to do with Rodgers’s passing game, if he does play.  How many picks will there be?  How many pass interceptions?  That is our biggest concern by far.  If he does not play, how will Brett do?  How will he play against the better scoring Carolina Panthers?  We have a few big games coming up!

So, with the completion of this last week’s game, the Green Bay Packers are at seven wins and six losses.  Not bad for a team that has been without its star quarterback for seven games!  However, there is some tough competition ahead.  The Packers play the Carolina Panthers on December seventeenth, the Vikings on December twenty-third, and the Detroit Lions on December thirty-first.  These are three powerhouse teams coming up that we have to be ready for.  In fact, the Panthers just squared off against the Vikings in week #14 and what a game that was too!  Plus the Lions won their last game as well, and all three of these teams honestly have been doing quite well for themselves.  So, in closing, it will take a decisive amount of effort, but if we push I think we can make it to the playoffs and then beyond that as well!

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Rodgers Returns: Did it Hinder Packers’ Playoff Chances

The weather isn’t the only thing cooling off in Green Bay this season as hopes of the Green Bay Packers making it to the playoffs and perhaps even finding success and winning a trip to the Super Bowl are now cooling as well and will have to wait for next year.

Aaron Rodgers has been an integral part of the Packers’ winning games this season as he has been able to lead their offense to come up with the points they needed to compensate for what some think of as a defense that is a bit lackluster.

Unfortunately for the Packers football organization and for their fans, Rodgers was injured around halfway into the season in an October 15th game against NFC rivals the Minnesota Vikings.

Following a controversial hit from Vikings number 55 Anthony Barr that many believe to have been a late hit after the ball was thrown, it was determined that Aaron Rodgers had suffered a broken collarbone on his right side and sat out the rest of the game.

Anthony Barr has since become something of a persona non grata in Green Bay, Wisconsin as many fans and members of the Packers blame him for in their eyes wrongfully putting a serious damper on Rodgers’ 2017 NFL football season.

Rodgers was then scheduled for surgery and physical rehab and was not expected to return until at the earliest the Dec 17th game against the North Carolina Panthers if the Packers were still in contention for an NFC playoffs spot.

Filling in for Aaron as starting quarterback while he recovered, was Green Bay Packers number 7, Brett Hundley.

Brett Had a rough time stepping into the offense to finish the game against the Vikings as he had not practiced with the offense at all that week.

He threw an interception, was forced to scramble, and was sacked all on his first drive after taking the field. While he eventually was able to lead the offense to the red zone and complete a 14-yard touchdown pass and tie up the score 7-7, he was not able to keep up with the Vikings and Green Bay ended up losing 10-23.

Hundley went on to play as the quarterback in the Packers’ next seven games and was able to find victory in three of them against the Bears, the Buccaneers, and the Browns.

Then came the Dec 17th game against the Panthers and Rodgers was cleared to play.

The Packers had a tough decision to make.

Should they start their stand-in quarterback Brett Hundley who had been struggling somewhat, or put in their star player Aaron Rodgers who hadn’t played for weeks,  was just coming back off of a shoulder injury, and whose health status was untested and unknown?

Considering the circumstances, and the playoff spot that was at stake it seems understandable why they went with the tried and true Rodgers, but it turned out that his injury and time off had hurt his ability to play at his normal level more than had been expected.

While Rodgers did play well in some ways, it became clear as the game went on that he was still rusty from the injury and time off, and his throwing arm was not performing at the level he needed it to be.

He threw a total of three interceptions in the game two of which seemed to be directly linked to his injury as they were badly under-thrown, and the Packers lost 24-31 and lost their chances at the playoffs.

This result leads some to wonder what might have happened if the Packers had decided to roll the dice and let Brett Hundley play against the Panthers and if he won, give Aaron Rodgers another week to heal and train, perhaps giving him enough time to come back in good form and continue Green Bay’s playoff dreams for the season.

green bay packers off season

What the Packers’ Lacked in Their Off Season Strategy

The Green Bay Packers are sort of notorious for two things during their average NFL offseason; pleasing themselves and aggravating their fan base. By most accounts, this has been a successful offseason for Packers football, and as a result, they are currently one of the favorites to make their way to the Super Bowl. A pressing question does remain as they look forward to the start of the regular NFL season: are they a strong enough team to take down powerhouses like the Atlanta Falcons or the Seattle Seahawks? There were a number of things that the Packers could have done to really bring their offseason to the next level.

The Problems at Center

The majority of the Packers problems seemed to have stemmed from their draft process. They did not re-sign T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter as free agents and let them walk leaving a big problem on the offensive line. This problem could have been solved by drafting Tim Barnes. Barnes has been an above average center throughout his entire career and could have been a nice insurance policy to ensure the success of the offensive line. Coach Mike McCarthy has been blessed with starting caliber centers for the majority of his tenure as head coach at green bay and now he seems to be lacking in that area. Barnes could have provided the flexibility at the center position that the Packers have already enjoyed for years and solidified the Green Bay offensive line.

The Advent of Adrian Peterson

Another player that would have made a big difference for the Packers offense is Adrian Peterson. Peterson may no longer be in his prime, but he would have made a huge difference for the Packers. Being a seven-time-Pro-Bowler, Peterson would have brought the experience needed to whip the Packers offense into fighting shape. He also could have provided the mentorship to groom Ty Montgomery into being Green Bay’s eventual starter sometime down the line. Peterson would have had a far reduced workload as it would have been split between himself and Ty Montgomery nearly fifty-fifty, taking the strain off him and potentially extending his own career.

Re-draft

The Packers draft was not nearly as successful as it could have been and a redraft would be the best way to fix this. The Packers had the right idea moving back on draft night, with the myriad of players of interest they needed the extra pick later in the draft. The second round pick of Kevin King was also smart to aid in the Packers lacking defensive backfield. The draft after that point was where the changes could have been made. The entirety of the draft should have gone as follows:

  1. Kevin King
  2. Alvin Kamara
  3. Jourdan Lewis
  4. Joshua Dobbs
  5. David Godchaux
  6. Jordan Evans
  7. Devante Mays
  8. Malachi Dupre

This combination of players along with Adrian Peterson would have been one of the strongest rosters in the NFL coming into the regular season. This combination of offensive and defensive players would have resolved many of the Packers weakness as well as paved the way for future starters under the mentorship of Adrian Peterson.

Final Thoughts

The Packers certainly have had a better offseason than they usually do, but it could have been much better. With the addition of a few key players and a redraft process, Green Bay could have been in a much better spot to start the season. Though they have some issue to work through the Packers are strong and determined to make playoffs and try to take home a Super Bowl victory. Only time will tell if their offseason planning was enough.