The Green Bay Packers tried. They really did try to make a move before Tuesday’s trade deadline, but they came up with, as so eloquently put by NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt, Bupkus.
Through eight games, the Packers are off to their worst start since Jerome Bettis’ final season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After starting the season 3-1, they have lost four consecutive games. Even in that ugly 6-9-1 2018 season that Mike McCarthy got fired in the middle of, they didn’t lose that many games in a row.
It’s not as if the Packers’ front office is going through this season wearing rose-colored BluBlockers. They know that the defense has underperformed, and the production from their pass catchers has been even worse than expected.
Management tried to bolster the wide receiving corps by attempting to trade for Chase Claypool, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Packers offered a second pick, but the Steelers instead accepted the Chicago Bears’ second-rounder.
On top of not improving an already underachieving roster, there is allegedly dissension in the ranks, and it has nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers telling Pat McAfee that he played great and some of his teammates should ride some pine after the loss to the Washington Commanders.
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The grumblings are coming from the defensive side of the ball. The Packers’ defense is currently 20th in weighted DVOA and some of the players are placing the blame on the coaching staff. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that the defensive players are “growing frustrated” with the play calls and the scheme. Joe Barry is in his second season as the Packers’ defensive coordinator, having held that title once before with the Washington football franchise in 2015 and 2016.
As bad as the Packers’ record is, they still have an outside chance at a playoff berth. They’re in that 3-5 pile with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, and Chicago Bears. That’s not far behind the 4-4 San Francisco 49ers — who currently have the final wild-card spot — and Washington Commanders.
A late-season rebound shouldn’t be out of the question. Romeo Doubs showed some improvement on Sunday with a big touchdown catch, and the Packers fought valiantly, on the road, against arguably the best team in the NFL — the Buffalo Bills.
Sunday is a chance for the Packers to get on track with a game against the Detroit Lions, but for anything to change they have to embrace their reality. No reinforcements are coming besides injured players who were on the roster at the end of the summer. For the defense, judging from Matt LaFluer’s quotes he seems to be in no rush to fire Barry. When asked about potential coaching changes on Monday he told the media, “Absolutely not.”
The Green Bay Packers today will be the Green Bay Packers come Jan. 7, 2023, outside of some minor additions that will be necessary due to the inevitable injuries that come with football. For this season to change at all, they’re going to have to stop complaining about their situation, and remember there is a reason that the overwhelming majority of experts picked them to win their division. Talent is present in that locker room.
They’re stuck with each other for the rest of this season, and had better learn how to live with it.