While this loss came in the regular season, it was eerily familiar to the previous three seasons when the Packers saved their worst game for the end of the season. While the Packers 20-16 season ending loss to the Lions made it clear quarterback Aaron Rodgers can no longer carry a team, it also raised serious questions about head coach Matt LaFleur. Four years in a row the Packers laid an enormous egg when it mattered most.
Last night’s loss was one of the worst of the year considering what was riding on the outcome. The Packers made mistake after mistake. They dropped easy passes, they committed absolutely idiotic penalties, Rodgers couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and the defense was beat into submission by the physical Lions. That falls on the head coach. Now I’m not going to say it’s time to fire LaFleur. I can’t wait to see him coach a young, more talented quarterback who is eager to learn. But I think he’ll be on the hot seat soon if this pattern keeps up.
So now what?
Of course everything begins and ends with Rodgers. Reading between the lines at his post-game presser last night I think he knows he’s retiring, but he just wants to make sure he feels the same after the emotion wears off. The Packers need to make it clear that they aren’t paying sixty million dollars a year to the 15th ranked quarterback.
Rodgers always said if he’s stinking it up he’ll step away. Last night he had glory in his grasp. Time and downs he always used to say. Three plays later it was an interception and game over. I was at Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer and it was the exact same feeling. Watching Rodgers peel himself off the turf after that last pass was sad. That was a old man getting up. It is time.
Not everybody can be Tom Brady. Rodgers had a brilliant career and is obviously one of the best to ever lace up the cleats. The insane pinpoint passes during his prime will always be his calling card. He and his star trio of receivers in the early 2000s perfected the back shoulder throw. It was basically unstoppable. But those days are long gone. It’s time for Jordan Love to take over this team. Are the odds against him? Of course they are. Doesn’t mean he can’t do it, though.
Barry staying put
LaFleur said today there won’t be any changes to the coaching staff. So defensive coordinator Joe Barry isn’t going anywhere. The last five games of the year the defense played great. They ended the season 17th but were in the high 20s for most of the season. If that late season improvement could be counted on for next season I would be fine with Barry staying. But looking at his body of work as a whole I would prefer a change to Jim Leonhard if he were interested. I just don’t trust Barry.
It’s going to be a fascinating offseason once again in Green Bay. Never a dull moment with 12 on your team. Or off our team. Who the hell knows?