The 2017 Green Bay Packers were supposed to easily win the NFC North Division. There were high-hopes in Green Bay that the Packers could dominate the NFC, and march into Super Bowl LII. In fact, after New England at 3 to 1 to win the 2018 Super Bowl, the Packers were an 8 to 1 second choice.
This was the season Green Bay’s defense and rushing attack would step it up to support one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play, Aaron Rodgers. What happened? The Packers were bit by the proverbial snake. With a single bite, the proverbial snake changed Green Bay’s season.
Before Week 12, Green Bay is at 5 and 5. Check out the update!
Green Bay Packers 2017 NFL Update
I go over some of the statements and questions I made on my Green Bay Packers 2017 Preview article. Then, I discuss Green Bay’s chances of making the playoffs this season. I also add some thoughts about how Green Bay might fair in the future.
Green Bay’s Offense Starts (Again!) with QB Aaron Rodgers…
…And that’s the issue
I just had dinner with a friend of mine. Okay, it wasn’t dinner. We just went to a local bar to watch a hockey game. Eventually, as it often does, we ended up talking about the NFL. He reiterated to me that Aaron Rodgers was still the best player in the NFL. I didn’t disagree.
I don’t believe I will ever disagree. While Aaron Rodgers was on the field for the Packers, Green Bay was 4 and 1. The Packers only loss was to the Atlanta Falcons, 23 to 34, in Week 2. Green Bay certainly appeared to be on a roll.
Rodgers had just led the Packers to a 35 to 31 upset victory over the Dallas Cowboys. With 1:13 left in the game, the score was Dallas 31, Green Bay 28. Rodgers rallied the Packers to an incredible 35 to 31 win over the Boys. Green Bay’s quarterback threw a 12 yards pass to Davante Adams with only 11 second left in the game.
That’s what having one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL can do for you. The Achilles Heel for Green Bay is if Rodgers ever gets hurt, like he did the very next Sunday in Minnesota’s 23 to 10 upset win over the Packers.
Rodgers again broke his collarbone. He’s on I-R. Since going to injured reserve, the Packers are 3 and 1 straight up. Green Bay has only beaten Chicago as a +4.5 road dog in Week 10. In Week 11, the Baltimore Ravens, with the worst offense in the NFL, beat Green Bay 23 to 0 at Lambeau.
Why? It’s easy to just say that QB Brett Hundley doesn’t know what he’s doing. He definitely needs some work. He can’t read defenses like Aaron Rodgers. That’s true because he’s not Aaron Rodgers. Nobody in the NFL is Aaron Rodgers.
Exclusively laying the blame on Hundley isn’t fair, though. It’s not fair because the truth is that Green Bay, for years, has been all about Aaron Rodgers. Every single part of the Green Bay Packers rests on Aaron Rodgers’ shoulders.
I write a lot about the Saints. The reason is because it’s remarkable how the Saints have shifted from being a team that relied on QB Drew Brees (another sure-fire hall of fame QB) to a run first, defensive team. Saints’ coach Sean Payton realized that the only way to win was to develop a team that could compete, not just win, without Brees throwing the football 50 times a game. The Saints did that. That’s why they’re 8 and 2 this season before their Week 12 game.
Green Bay hasn’t done that. Just to compete, Aaron Rodgers must be under center. Even the defense depends on Aaron Rodgers. The defense isn’t good enough to play man-to-man. It’s not good enough to rush the quarterbacks. When Rodgers is in the game, the defense can take more chances because Rodgers is like the ultimate bailout.
That’s how important Aaron Rodgers is to the Green Bay Packers. He’s so important that the Packers aren’t even a 7 win team with Rodgers.
Is Ty Montgomery the Answer at Running Back?
In most season long fantasy football drafts, Ty Montgomery was no worse than a 3rd Round choice. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy had stated that Montgomery was the Packers’ starting running back. The converted wide receiver really came on towards the end of last season.
Montgomery’s been hurt for most of this season. He’s only played in 8 of 10 games. He hasn’t been effective when he’s played. Montgomery’s biggest problem is that he doesn’t know how to shed tacklers. He’s one of those straight ahead Eric Dickerson type running backs. Dickerson had the speed, and the stiff arm skills, to keep from getting hit head on.
Montgomery wasn’t taught how to do that. What’s happened? He’s been repeatedly hit in his mid-section. Montgomery’s had injured ribs the entire season. Nobody ever taught him how to run with the football as a running back.
That, more than anything, is possibly why he’s so often injured.
If Montgomery isn’t the answer at RB who is the answer at RB?
Answer: Not even coach Mike McCarthy knows
It’s apparent that even Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy isn’t sure. Based on what I’ve seen, the Packers might be shifting to a thunder and lightning backfield. At least, that’s what McCarthy wanted to do. The lightning part of the equation is rookie running back Aaron Jones. Jones was fantastic versus the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. He recently got hurt, though, and won’t be back until late December.
The thunder part of the running back equation is bruiser Jamaal Williams. Williams has rushed for 148 yards from 49 carries. He averages 3.2 yards per carry. Williams has rushed for a TD. He’s also shown that he can catch the football. He’s got 9 catches for 83 yards.
The problem with all Green Bay running backs is that they play behind a pass protecting offensive line. Because everything about Green Bay stems from their brilliant quarterback, shifting what they do on offense isn’t possible unless the brilliant quarterback is under center.
How Will Green Bay’s Defense Perform?
Answer: Not well
I asked the question about the Green Bay Packers’ defense. I thought it might perform well. It hasn’t. Stats imply that the defense is much better than what’s occurred during Packer games since Rodgers went down with the injury.
Green Bay ranks 18th in total yards allowed at 240. At less than 106 rushing yards allowed per game, Green Bay ranks 11th. At 23 points allowed per game, Green Bay ranks 18th. Those aren’t horrific defensive rankings.
The reason Green Bay’s defense hasn’t performed well, once again, stems from Aaron Rodgers’ injury. In the games Brett Hundley has started at quarterback, 5 not counting his start in Week 12, he’s thrown 7 interceptions. Versus Baltimore at Lambeau in Week 11, he threw 3 picks. Almost as bad is the fact that Hundley can’t move the football.
Green Bay’s defense is always in a hole. Green Bay’s D never has a field position advantage because the Packers’ offense can never move the football.
Bottom Line: Green Bay Packers are Done this Season
The Green Bay Packers are done this season. Without Rodgers, I can’t imagine the Packers winning more than a single game from now until the end of the regular season. Also, it’s not like the schedule does the Packers any favors.
In Week 12, Green Bay travels to Pittsburgh. It would have been tough for Green Bay to beat the Steelers at Heinz Field if Aaron Rodgers was playing. Now that Rodgers is out, beating the Steelers is next to impossible.
Green Bay is at Carolina. They must battle Minnesota again. They go to Detroit in Week 17. Rodgers might play starting in Week 15. By then, the Packers could be out of the playoff race.