Greg Peck: At midway point, Packers are disappointing
I almost laughed out loud when I heard that the Vegas oddsmakers made the Packers a 2½-point in Sunday’s game at undefeated Carolina. Were these so-called experts watching the same Packer team and its indefensible defense the past two weeks that left fans shielding their eyes from the TV screen?
I wasn’t optimistic Sunday, and so when I stopped doing yard work to catch the start of the game, I also grabbed a Sunday newspaper to read. I only glanced at the TV often enough to realize that for the second straight week, the Packers were unprepared and overmatched.
If I hadn’t been reading, I’d have been back outside before halftime. As it turned out, I did go out at intermission. When I later asked my wife to move her car so I could get the mower out, I didn’t even ask for an updated score. The fact that she didn’t offer one was all the information I needed.
I finished raking and mowing in time to catch that furious rally. When that last-ditch drive for a touchdown failed, I didn’t yell or scream. It was inevitable. When your team is three touchdowns—and a pair of two-point conversions—down with half a quarter to play, it needs a near miracle.
Call me a fair-weather fan if you’d like. I can take it. But Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was right in his story The Gazette printed today. No fan should take solace in that rally and final score of 37-29. It wasn’t that close. Green Bay was playing a clearly better team, and a better-coached team, for the second straight week.
I mentioned in a frustrated tweet last Monday that Green Bay’s 6-0 season start might have been a mirage. Now, I’m convinced I was right. I launched another tweet suggesting that with Green Bay’s tough schedule ahead, a 12-4 final record might be optimistic. Now, I’d grab that in a heartbeat.
With the season at its midway point, it’s time for a reality check.
Sure, Green Bay has time to turn it around. The team sorely misses my favorite player, wide receiver Jody Nelson. It also needs a quality deep threat at tight end. Getting receiver Ty Montomery and TE Andrew Quarless—if we can keep him away from handguns—back from injuries would give Rodgers more receiving options. But that overrated offensive line can’t give even fast receivers time to break free without quarterback Aaron Rodgers dancing and fearing for his life, much less run block effectively. And does Eddie Lacy (five carries, 10 yards) suddenly remind any Packer fan besides me of John Brockington late in his career?
Better offensive production won’t solve all the problems on defense. If Dom Capers is such a genius, how come his defense has been the team’s big problem for so many years? When an opposing QB throws for more than 500 yards—at Lambeau Field, no less—you know something is wrong. Sure, the Packers missed injured cornerbacks Sam Shields and Quentin Rollins on Sunday, but wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago when we were reading that the team had so many quality defensive backs that it couldn’t give them all enough playing time? How many times did I read about Cam Newton’s running ability, only to glance over my newspaper Sunday to see gaps big enough for even me to run through?
Could we trade the entire Packer defense for the one that plays home games at Camp Randall? Which is harder to watch—Green Bay’s defense or the UW’s offense?
Here’s my biggest fear: That time is running out on Aaron Rodgers. Wait, he might play another decade, you might reason. True. But he also might be just one, maybe two, concussions from saying, “Hey, that’s all for me, guys.” And as often as he spins circles trying to escape furious rushers, it seems only a matter of time before he suffers the next head knock.
It would be a real shame if a quarterback as talented as Rodgers retires with just one Super Bowl title.