The Packers Are a Mess

The Green Bay Packers started this season off with a great win against the Bears, but have fallen off since that dominant win. There are several key factors in the failure of this team as a whole.

Some put the whole blame on Joe Barry, which is understandable, but that is poor vision if you truly believe he is the only negative aspect of this team. These problems span across the entire organization and have been sidelined due to having Aaron Rodgers for the past 15 years.

This team is incredibly young, don’t get me wrong, and I’m excited for what they’ll look like in the future. But, there comes a time when the Packers coaching staff and front office reflect upon themselves. The Packers are the textbook definition of insanity, and if certain glaring issues aren’t resolved, this team will be terrible for a long time.


Problem #1: The Defensive Ideology

In recent memory, is it possible to name one consistently elite defensive coordinator the Packers have had?

It’s an impossible task to do because there is something wrong with our front office and coaches. Instead of hiring young, hungry, and unique defensive coordinators when given the chance, they go for the old guy with a horrible track record.

The only exception was hiring Dom Capers, but man did he fall off so fast. After the Super Bowl win in 2010, the mobile quarterback emerged and Capers’ defense had no way of stopping it.

Fast forward eight years to the tenure of Mike Pettine. Pettine never had a consistent season despite elite talent, and was the major reason for Aaron Rodgers not making another Super Bowl in 2020.

Finally, Joe Barry: the man every single Packers fan despises. It still is so mind-boggling that LaFleur and the front office saw a guy who coached one of the worst teams of all time and said, “Yeah this guy will help us win another Super Bowl.” His constant soft zones and putting pass rushers on wide receivers have been detrimental to how the defense performs.

The crazy thing is, Pettine did the EXACT same thing. They practically run identical defenses. Outrageously though, Barry has still shown just enough competence to keep his job which is so frustrating. It will never make sense how he can’t get the star-studded defense to perform at the same elite level multiple weeks in a row. Heck, even for the same game.

Someone at some point has to realize they are making the same mistakes over and over again. These weak zones that the Packers have been running since Capers does not work anymore, the time has passed for it. For hiring an “innovative” head coach, they sure do not like hiring innovative or creative defensive coordinators.


Problem #2: Conservative Play Calling

This feels like an undervalued topic when it comes to the Packers’ lack of success in the LaFleur era. Matt LaFleur is supposed to be an offensive mastermind. on the same level as McVay and Shannahan, but he has had an immensely difficult time showing that in Green Bay.

In his first year, the offense was hard to watch due to him, Rodgers, and Hackett not being on the same page at all. They were 15th in points and 18th in yards that year, which is horrible for a guy who’s all about offense. 2020 and 2021 were great years for the offense, thanks to effective communication between coaches and players that created a well-oiled scoring machine.

2022, a year without offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, went back to typical LaFleur form where they were 14th in points and 17th in yards. This year will be the worst year by far, having the Packers 14th in the league in points and an abysmal 28th in yards.

This season and last season have shown that LaFleur cannot call plays effectively. He starts the game so conservatively, that the team ends up playing from behind from the start. I don’t believe that Stenavich is a good offensive coordinator either and he was much better off as the offensive line coach.

From running screens on third and long to putting themselves behind the chains by not being able to run the ball, it’s painful to watch this offense. LaFleur needs to open up the playbook earlier in the game. Being outscored 54 – 6 in the first halves of the past three games is pathetic.

Love shows promise, give the kid something to work with instead of only running or only throwing the ball. What happened to the balanced attack from 2020 and 2021? How can LaFleur just scrap everything from that year and play like he’s scared to move the ball? I get that the offense is the youngest in the league, but they need to at least show progress rather than regressing or being stagnant. It’s about trusting your guys, and how can anyone on this roster develop if they aren’t put in the positions to grow and learn.

There’s still time to turn the offense around, but they need to figure it out sooner rather than later to give these guys some juice heading into next year. These same struggles are what got McCarthy canned, and LaFleur will be next if he doesn’t understand he needs to change his philosophy.


Problem #3: Brian Gutekunst

I personally believed that Gute has been a serviceable GM so far into his tenure. He’s had his ups and downs, but I just kept trusting the process. Now though? I cannot believe he still has a job.

This is the man that drafted a quarterback in the first round, when we needed another wide receiver or defensive support. He’s also the same guy who lets go of talented players because they can’t play well for the terrible DCs he hires.

To add to that, Gute and Russ Ball give out atrocious contracts and continually dig the hole deeper by giving them more and more void years. Paying $127 million to five guys (Jones, Bakhtiari, Smith, Alexander, Clark) next year is one of the worst ways I’ve seen anyone manage their salary cap. That isn’t even counting Campbell, Jenkins, Douglas, or the contract extension Gary is deservedly going to get.

Some of these guys deserve to get the bag, but paying $40 million to David Bakhtiari, a man who has been hurt for three years, is terrible. The worst part is that if we cut or trade him we’d incur a dead cap penalty of 20 million dollars.

The rabbit hole only goes deeper when you realize that Preston Smith is getting paid incredible amounts of money for being a below-average player. He’s a veteran presence, great, but there comes a point where production on the field needs to match the salary.

Gute also has this bizarre tendency to keep terrible players, i.e. Royce Newman, but releasing or letting guys walk like Krys Barnes. How many times have we seen a guy leave Green Bay and immediately turn up the next year. Such pathetic management of salaries tore the Super Bowl-contending team apart a few years ago. No money for Corey Linsley, Davante Adams, Za’Darius Smith, Jordy Nelson, etc, but we have all the money to shell out to Preston Smith and De’Vondre Campbell.

To top all of this off, his drafting is such an embarrassing sight every year. I like the draft class this year, due to filling positional needs, but wow, previous years are real stinkers. Constantly reaching on guys in early rounds has put false hope in fans. There is no consistency in them at all either. Sure he drafted Alexander, Jenkins, and Gary, who are all top players in their positions. He also drafted Savage, Jackson, Myers, and Rodgers all in the first three rounds of the draft.

Sometimes the scouts, GMs, and coaches are wrong, but when you’re actively wasting high draft capital on hot trash, there is a problem there. He needs to be on a short leash from now on, but knowing the Packers, they will never fire this guy.


Problem #4: A Lack of Trying to Succeed

For whatever reason, after winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers decided to just completely neglect building a good team. The defense fell apart soon after, Rodgers slowly lost his weapons, and the team could never make it back to the title game. We got close several times, but every time we’d lose embarrassingly.

Tell me how the front office has one of the greatest players ever, and disregards how he might feel about getting rid of his best receivers constantly, having horrible defenses, and drafting his replacement when he’s getting paid $50 million a year.

The Packers’ ideology of looking inside for hires first, especially for executive positions, has been detrimental to the team. I get being a historic, traditional team, but times are changing. No longer is it about sitting and developing while your best quarterback loses perpetually. If you have a franchise quarterback, you need to put him in the best position to succeed.

At any cost, you need to put winning first. Championship windows are not open forever, so why not capitalize on it while you still can. Look at other teams that had great quarterbacks. Mahomes has two rings already, Brady won seven, Manning and Roethlisberger got two, Montana and Bradshaw each have four. These guys were put in the best positions to win games because their front offices understood what kind of talent they had. I feel like this isn’t talked about enough with how the Packers have failed to do anything meaningful recently.

Every single aspect of this organization needs to wake up and realize they need to adapt to the times. They keep doing the same thing over and over again, not realizing that slightly changing the roster is not going to win you more games. It’s genuine insanity, and it needs to be changed or else Jordan Love or whoever the next franchise guy is will never be as great as they can be.


Final Thoughts

I had low expectations coming into this year. At best I thought we could go 10-7 and make the playoffs, but most likely ending the year 7-10 or 6-11. After these first five games, we have seen a whole lot of ugly for this team.

Glaring problems deeply rooted within the organization are starting to come to life, and it just feels like nothing will change. These issues have been around since Favre was the quarterback. I don’t get the super-conservative approach. In a league where teams are more aggressive than ever trying to capitalize on having winning teams. There is so much potential with this team, but none of it will be tapped into if we continue being too passive.

Jordan Love has the tools, but he cannot perform well when he’s constantly under pressure and has no opportunity to get into a rhythm. This defense has so many great players, but they aren’t being used properly. I would rather go all in on a team that I know can win a Super Bowl in the near future than be stuck in mediocrity. Hopefully, changes come, but knowing Green Bay, we’ll have to endure this limbo for a long time.
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