The dust having settled and the emotions having drained, it’s a proper time to assess the 2016 Green Bay Packers’ season results.
I didn’t believe, at any point in the season, that this was a Super-Bowl-bound team – and that was before a spate of devastating injuries.
In the fourth quarter of the team’s first game, cornerback Sam Shields assisted on a tackle of the Jaguars’ T. J. Yeldon. At the time, this concussion did not look serious, but it turned out to be Shield’s last play of the season. You could view that play as the primary reason the team is not preparing to play in the Super Bowl.
This was perhaps the most costly injury – even more so than the loss of running back Eddie Lacy – in an endless stream of them. Lacy suffered an ankle injury on October 9 against the Giants. Strangely, neither injury was thought to be serious, until both were placed on injured reserve in week 7 of the season. Neither player returned to action and neither may ever play another down for Green Bay.
In the next day or two I’ll list and describe the extent to which the Packers were missing other players or had them playing injured during the course of the year, but here’s some of those who had major injuries (affecting them three consecutive weeks or more): Chris Banjo, Randall Cobb, Jared Cook, Jayrone Elliott, Kyler Fackrell, Demetri Goodson, Jeff Janis, T.J. Lang, Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Nick Perry, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Jake Ryan, James Starks and J.C. Tretter.
Even when the team’s defensive backfield was a relatively healthy crew, the group, and in particular the cornerbacks, showed themselves to be the team’s Achilles’ heel.
The Packers’ midseason swoon, which put them at 4-6, was inexcusable and certainly cannot be passed off as being due to injuries. They lost to inferior teams, including the November 6 home loss to the Colts and the Titans’ and Redskins’ losses in the two weeks that followed.
The six-game win streak to close out the regular season was an act of desperation by the team and inspiration to its fans. The thrills carried over into the postseason, with stirring wins over the Giants and the Cowboys.
The last-second 34-31 victory over the Cowboys was overachievement, plain and simple, with the Packers knocking off the top seed in the NFC at their place.
That win redeemed this group in my eyes. I’m proud of them and their comeback efforts. They allowed us fans to cheer and agonize, for three more unexpected games.
I had very pronounced feelings as the action unfolded in the NFC Championship game. The missed field goal was an early omen, but when Aaron Ripkowski lost a fumble just yards away from Atlanta’s end zone, I sensed it was over. I felt that way and I’ll bet the Packers’ players had the same feeling, because it was by then apparent that Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan was going to have his way with the Packers’ defense all afternoon. Sure enough, it took Atlanta nine plays to go 80 yards and convert the turnover into a 17-0 lead.
No matter what Aaron Rodgers might be able to do, the Packers were two scores down and would be unable to make up that gap. As that reality set in among the players, you could observe the loss of morale. Very little good football was played by Green Bay the rest of the way.
When Julio Jones made it 31-0 a minute into the second half, Ryan’s passing yardage stood at 344. It could have been well over 500 if needed, but Atlanta mercifully went “prevent” and Ryan only threw for another 48 yards the rest of the way.
The Packers’ leader and main repository of talent, Aaron Rodgers, was off from the start of this game. He was perturbed and complaining to the refs incessantly and the topper came when he ripped the helmet off of cornerback Robert Alford with seven minutes to go, drawing a 15-yard facemask penalty.
Let the record show that, facing a 3rd and 18 midway through the fourth quarter, my man Jeff Janis drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone, leading to a 1-yard TD pass to Jared Cook – Green Bay’s third and final score.
While there can be no doubt that the Falcons were the vastly better team, I agree with others who feel the Cowboys’ win was such a high, and with the Atlanta game being the team’s 16th in as many weeks, The Packers were both physically fatigued and mentally played out. And, regardless, vastly overmatched.
For the past seven years (yes, including 2010, though possibly not 2011), the Packers have not been the league’s best team, and not even in the top five several years.
Ways must be found to add more talent to the roster if Green Bay is ever to get through the playoffs unscathed. The Packers’ chances will also be greatly enhanced if they can acquire that top seed entering the postseason.
The debate over whether any or all of the foursome of Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, Mark Murphy and Dom Capers should be replaced also needs to continue.
At the least, I recommend that Thompson step down voluntarily – for the good of the enterprise – as he is a lame duck and we risk losing his likely successor to another team if he remains until his contract ends after the 2018 season. As a compromise, Thompson might accept the head scouting job, at the same pay as his GM job, but make way for a new and younger GM.
Nice article Rob. Thanks for your solid point of view each week. Until TT goes, this team will flounder. Until Capers goes, this team will flounder. McCarthy is a big reason for the floundering as well. His arrogance is repugnant, he needs to go. Mark Murphy is without question not committed to half of his duties as President of the Packers. Instead of making CERTAIN that there is great player procurement and great coaching going on; His only concerns are centered around buying up land and making certain that the Packers become the next Elvis “Graceland” mecca. He definitely needs to go. If Aaron Rodgers was not making soooo much money, I would feel sorry for the fact that he has those 4 fucktards riding his coattails . . .
Wow, missing Sam Shields could be the reason the Packers aren’t in the Super Bowl? Makes sense to me.
Let me explain something to you, this team even being in the playoffs was nothing short of a miracle. Lets not act like Sam Shields is the difference of a team going to the Super Bowl or not. Are you kidding me?
If Sam Shields was in the Atlanta game, do you think he shuts down Matt Ryan? Like he shut down Blake Bortles?
Is Sam Shields a shut down corner? Didn’t Bortles throw for 320 yards in that game? A game we damn near lost. What’s next, you gonna start calling Shields …”Prime Time”?
Lets put Sam Shields body of work in “much needed” perspective.
In Randalls last 2 seasons…he had 6 picks, 23 passes defended
In Shields last 2 seasons (playing)…He had 5 picks, 22 passes defended
In Haywards last season…1 season…He had 7 picks, and 20 passes defended. (At less than half the price.)
“The Packers’ leader and main repository of talent, Aaron Rodgers, was off from the start of this game.”
Not mentioning the line getting their ass kicked, or the free untouched rushing linebackers sacking Rodgers.
Did you watch the game? Or should Rodgers perform perfect under any conditions? Watch it, you’ll see him get sacked, hit, or pressured on 14 of his 1st 20 dropbacks. Or doesn’t that matter? Don’t facts matter?
Let the record show my man Janis drew a pass interference penalty. Lets make room in Canton.
Although without Janis, we may not of had that great 8 game win streak. Not without Janis’s 2 catches for 15 yards.
Looking forward to the injury excuse articles. Like when we had 16 players on IR and lost 6-7 starters the year the Packers won the Super Bowl. Remember that?
When you win it’s ……”hey baby, it’s next man up yo”
When you lose it’s……..”In the next day or two I’ll list and describe the extent to which the Packers were missing other players or had them playing injured”
You are always entertaining my man. Thanks for the laughs.
Ok. Where do I start? What were Haywards #s in the past three years in Green Bay? Let’s wait and see what happens next year with Hayward before we proclaim it was a mistake to not detain him.
Picks and passes defensed aren’t everything. What are numbers for opposing completion % and passer rating when targeted? You may still be right, but corners may not pile up stats if they aren’t being targeted as much. The loss of shields was big, but I don’t know if it would have made a difference against Atlanta.
As far as Rodgers, he didn’t play great, but he wasn’t helped, don’t forget that there were some drops.
Listen little man. picks and passes defensed, are basic stats for a cornerback. I don’t like tackle stats because it just tells me they let the receiver catch the ball.
“What are numbers for opposing completion % and passer rating when targeted?”
I don’t know, other than it was bad. I would guess, more on the pathetic side. But if you want to look it up and if it shows our secondary in a positive light, You let me know right away. Because i’ll be fucking shocked.
Starting to think pf4l is kindve a deuche
Think how you want….i’m cool with that. I am being a douche. But i’m a douche who knows what he’s talking about. Anyone is welcome to counter debate anything i write. I’m consistent, i don’t flip flop my views depending how the winds blowing. What i’ve posted 2, or 4 years ago, is consistent to what i post now.
You won’t find me saying Rodgers is finished or done and Hundley should start., then a few months later hailing him as the best QB. That’s for the weak and the simple minded…No offence Kato.
What i’m not cool with, is this team underachieving, and wasting away golden opportunity’s. Or people being apologist for this team when there is clearly deeper dysfunction with the team. As you’ll see as you keep reading my post.
Call me an asshole…it’s all good. Sometimes the truth isn’t pretty.
I’m not always right. I think i was wrong once back in 2012. then there was that time back in 2006.
I hate to say it but the Packers, to me, clearly over performed. Which is actually gutty. Or lucky? They had a better record and advanced further in the playoffs then their talent should justify. I don’t know where to give the credit without offending — myself and others. The coaching?
We know without Rodgers this is a 4-12 style team. Rodgers likely makes it a 9-7 wild card and out first game of the playoffs style team. So… they over-performed and deserve some credit there.
Scratch that. The real deuche is here again