The old saying goes: “you can’t fix stupid.” Thankfully, stupid isn’t the issue for Packers leadership. It’s their pigheaded, “head-in-the-sand” stubbornness. Along with countless experts and analysts, we could all see needed changes and course corrections Packers leadership could have made this year. Instead, they’ve been painfully slow to act, when they’ve acted at all.
Change could have come sooner
There’s a long list of missed opportunities by Packers leadership thus far in 2022:
- The defensive tactic of soft zone coverages was not effective. It also did not play to their strengths. It took until weeks 4-5 for a response.
- It appeared that draft pick Zach Tom was better than both Royce Newman and Jake Hanson, both higher on the depth chart since training camp. His elevation took until October.
- Against Dallas Rodgers was 9-for-11 for 158 yards when under center. The offense is more effective with Rodgers under-center, opening up play-action, than in shotgun. A serious shift to that didn’t happen until last Sunday against Dallas, It’s no coincidence that’s when they ended their losing streak.
- Safety play from Darnell Savage has been below average to terrible all season. It took a 5-game losing streak before Rudy Ford, rostered since week 1, saw more playing time. Clearly, he should have seen the field sooner.
- It’s was clear that Amari Rodgers should have been cut at the end of training camp. Packers leadership didn’t accept that until 10-weeks into the season. He lacked confidence fielding punts and then showed us why by fumbling 25% of them. Yes, he fumbled 1-of every-4 he fielded and didn’t lose his job until week 10! More to the point he was not explosive as a returner or good enough to get playing time on a team starving for WR’s.
Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur and Joe Barry didn’t get these NFL positions because they were stupid. But flexibility and responsiveness are also measures of leadership talent. Recognizing a problem, accepting it and finding a solution to address it quickly is a leadership test they’ve all failed this season. Ron Wolf said more than once that the bigger mistake, is sticking with the mistake.
Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt
Gutey was stubborn enough to think Sammy Watkins and a couple rookies were enough to address the talent vacuum at wide receiver. Apparently his stubbornness included keeping Amari Rogers longer than his performance warranted.
Joe Barry was too stubborn to see his zone defense was not working. Also, too slow to make a change and it likely cost the Packers chances to win very winnable games against the Giants, Jets and Washington. That Rudy Ford sat for weeks while Savage struggled is equally puzzling.
Matt LaFleur stubbornly gave his stubborn willful quarterback too much control over offensive direction. This offense needs a religious commitment to a running game, which contributes to a more effective passing game. The productivity of the run game leads to better pass protection and more lanes for lesser receivers and Aaron Rodgers to exploit.
The season is not lost yet. The margin of error for the Green Bay Packers is now razor-thin. At most, they can afford 1-2 losses to have any chance at a playoff spot. They cannot afford continued stubbornness to needed changes they cannot afford.