The Green Bay Packers started the season 6-0, and were playing about as good of football as a team could play. The defense was ranked number one in the league, the special teams was playing great again, and with an All-Pro at quarterback, things were looking good in Titletown. Three straight losses have changed all of that in a hurry.
One thing I've heard in my debates with friends and others over the last week or so is the idea that we need to remember that these are the Packers, and in the modern era, the Packers always figure it out. It may look rough at times, but somehow, someway, they always figure out a way to get the job done. Yes, that may be true, but here is the counter-argument. We have never, since the reemergence of Packers franchise in the early 1990's, seen these modern era Packers self-destruct like this. Before I go any further, let's take a look, piece by piece, at the ingredients for this self-destruction, starting with the man under center, Aaron Rodgers.
Yes, Aaron Rodgers is the best in the business. Yes, he has played the position at a level we've never seen until now. However Rodgers has a serious case of “Brett Favre Superstar” right now. So what does that mean? At the moment, this man, has his head, stuck so far up his butt, it's not even funny. He says the Packers are fine and they don't have any real problems. Really? Sorry to break it to you, but the Packers have problems right now, they've never had in the modern era. There is more to this as well. About a year ago, his relationship with Olivia Munn became public, and when it did, the mystery of Aaron Rodgers started to disappear. Up until about a year ago, when he wasn't in front of a camera in a Packers uniform or conducting interviews in reference to the Packers, Aaron Rodgers was a complete mystery off the field to the rest of us. I have to watch my words here, but Rodgers private life was a black box. He could have had a couple of small children. He could have had a 12-year-old half Japanese son somewhere. He could have been a skydiver, street racer, rally car racer, motocross racer, dirt bike trick artist, skateboarder, roller-blader, skier, snowboarder, bear wrestler, whatever. He could have been any of these things, and we wouldn't have known any better. This really played to his advantage on the field and now, with his relationship with Munn public, with us now knowing things about him personally that we didn't know before, that mystique has disappeared.
In addition, we have two other offensive problems, neither of which can be fixed in the middle of the season. Eddie Lacy is having a nightmare 2015 season, and yes, it is due to his weight issues. The Packers “official” statement on the matter is that Lacy's weight is not an issue, but as any trainer will tell you, it is. Lacy is extremely overweight, even for his standards. This is not something that can be fixed in season, so the Packers and Lacy are stuck with this for the rest of the season. Then there is the problem with what is going on with the receivers. Aaron Rodgers is frustrated right now. He is being dared by opposing defenses to go vertical. He can't. Jordy Nelson is standing on the sidelines with a torn ACL, Greg Jennings is gone, and James Jones doesn't have nearly the giddy-up he had four years ago. The only hope at this point is getting Jeff Janis on the field, but the team seems adamant against him playing for some reason. So unless Randall Cobb grows three inches, or one of these other receivers magically gets faster, this problem can't be fixed during the season either. Ted Thompson not drafting and developing a vertical wide receiver at some point in the last few years is really coming back to haunt the Packers right now.
Then there is the team attitude. In case you missed it, a fight broke out on the Packers sideline among their own players two weeks ago against Carolina. When players start fighting on the sideline with their own teammates during a game, that does not say team chemistry, that says we have a team that should be in panic mode. In fact, we've never seen the Packers players start fighting with each other before in the modern era. We've seen Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy yell at each other once or twice, but never players pushing and shoving.
What makes this self-destruction is not these factors alone, but the response to these factors. Over the last 25 years or so, every time the Packers have faced adversity, they have come responded energetically, animated, and made the proper adjustments. Not this time though. What do we see now? We see a team that is lifeless, has no emotion, no energy, and no answer for what is happening to them. We also see a team in denial, thinking that everything is alright when it clearly isn't. That would be like Edward John Smith, the Captain of the Titanic, thinking everything was alright after being told the ship was in two pieces. The bottom line is that the Packers are imploding like we have never seen from them before. Not only are the Vikings going to win this division because of it, they are going to win it easily.