Clearly, not one member of the Packer staff saw a 3-4 record to start the 2022 season on the day Aaron Rodgers signed his extension. But as little Elliot in the movie, “E.T.” blurted out, “This is Reality Greg.” The Packers don’t have Spielberg’s option of taking it from the top. The Packers have lost three in a row and face the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo. A 3-5 start looks likely.
November 1st at 4 PM eastern time is the official NFL trade deadline. The 49ers have done a self assessment and given up big capital in future draft picks to get better this year. To make a move like that, a team must first believe that their team is a player away from SB winning potential.
The Panthers also made a self assessment and dealt a valued asset for the future. They correctly assessed that their team did not possess a playoff bound team. The Packers, along with every other team in the NFL, should be meeting to evaluate their roster and decide if it is time to double down or cut bait. The Packers could use a legitimate NFL receiver/playmaker. Is there any available? Only a small number of GMs really know for sure.
Would one receiver change this season? Would Davante Adams swing this season around? Possibly, but the Packer passing scheme requires time and repetition with Rodgers. Adams is not coming back. And Devin Funchess is not creating a championship in Green Bay. While the true assessment by the Packer front office will not be divulged in any upcoming press conference, it would seem clear that the Packers don’t have an option like San Francisco to cure their problems. They are more than one player away.
The Packers are strong at defensive back, running back, quarterback, and, as strange as it sounds, offensive tackle. All of those positions have potential trade value. As bad as the stats look for the last few games, Aaron Rodgers still has trade value.
David Bakhtiari might have limited trade value but would probably fail a physical. Jaire Alexander has trade value, and the Packers did quite well without him last year. All three of those players have contracts that can hamper the Packers’ future.
Alexander has the best upside and while he still has elite coverage skills, his tackling since his shoulder injury has regressed. But remember Packer faithful, all the Packers could hope for in a trade is what is vaguely called “draft capital” and “cap relief”. The Panthers gave up a top 5 draft pick for what will be an end of the round second, third, and fourth round pick next draft and one pick in the following year. Would you trade Aaron Jones for Christian Watson, Sean Rhyan and Romeo Doubs?
If the Packers are really going to self assess they should start with the coaching staff. The offense has a new coordinator and QB coach. One would think head coach Matt LaFleur is more involved in the game plans and play calling. The Packers have started games in decent fashion recently but fall apart in the second or third quarter… or both.
Now coaches can’t keep a player from dropping passes, but the quick hitches and other short passes are becoming predictable. The coaches have to look in the mirror and admit their game plans need adjustment. These assessments should not be done to point fingers or create scapegoats. Improvement can only come from learning from mistakes.
Brian Gutekunst should know this NFL is a league that wins with star athletes. You cannot trade stars and expect to win. But good GMs also know when to cut their losses on old players that will not fulfill their contracts. There is a crossroads coming for Gutekunst. It may have already arrived. If it has, does he recognize it?