It’s a bit awkward, isn’t it? To be eliminated from playoff contention with two weeks to go, left to watch a team play with nothing but pride at stake for two divisional games. It’s but an up and down year in Green Bay, to say the least. Standing at 4-1 after five weeks, they looked to have a realistic chance at the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a trip to the Super Bowl. Then came the shard of kryptonite to the gut that was Aaron Rodgers broken collarbone.
Hope wasn’t lost then, at least not if you listened to me. All they needed was to have 12 come back with three weeks to go and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, run the table. It looked like it just might happen, before Aaron came back and didn’t look quite right and Geronimo fumbled away our hopes and dreams. As Packer fans, we’ve grown used to heartbreak in the Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre era. Since 2010, seemingly every Packers season has ended in agony. In fact, last years blowout to Atlanta in the NFC Championship may be the easiest of the losses to stomach. Hope didn’t wait for the season to end this year. Whether we thought we were good or bad, we all got a lump of coal for Christmas this football season.
To be eliminated with a few weeks to go, lifelessly marching toward the offseason, has led to an outcry from fans and media members across the country, calling for massive changes to the team. From an overhaul of players, to a replacing of coordinators, to a firing of Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson, nobody, save for Aaron Rodgers, has been free from critique.
With that background, I present you with an admittedly uninspiring directive:
Calm. The hell. Down.
I know you’re mad at the defense, I am too. I get that you don’t like the play calling. None of us do. You think we need more talent on the team? Every fan of every team thinks that. You can yell for sweeping change. You can say we’re better off without Ted, or Mike, or Dom. Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t. The answer, however, is unequivocally not going to be sweeping change. Allow me to join the fray of writers and media members whose jaws would fall to the floor harder than Thor’s hammer if the team fired both the GM and the head coach after a seven win season in which the team was rocked with injuries, including what may well be the greatest quarterback who has ever lived.
Let’s examine some positives for the team (or at least some not so bad parts). The team has gone 3-4 with Hundley as the starting quarterback so far this season. There are 3 teams that have three or fewer wins on the season, six with 4 or fewer. So, with a backup who had never played meaningful NFL football, we managed to win a few games, that’s a start. When healthy, the team proved to have several capable, quality players on both sides of the ball. From Damarious Randall stepping up to Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams bursting onto the scene, the team isn’t without young talent. No, we aren’t a formidable team without Aaron Rodgers, but we are average, which is more than some teams can say.
Looking at some negatives, the defense has played terribly as a whole all season. For several seasons really. The errors are characteristic of a poorly coached team. Opposing offenses read the schemes easily, players are often out of position and seemingly unprepared for the task at hand. If you call for Capers to lose his job, I won’t tell you to calm down or to step back. If you think the defense sucks and has no talent, then it’s time for you to take a chill pill.
The point is this. All is not lost (well, it is for this year I suppose). We didn’t look very good without Aaron Rodgers and the defense struggled. Does that mean we make sweeping changes, or does it mean we tweak the defensive staff and reload for next year with a healthy team that’s anger about this season and ready to give it another go? Calm down everybody. They’ll tweak, hopefully reshuffle the defense, and come into next year a favorite to win the NFC, just like this year. If we expect more than that on a yearly basis, we’ve grown a bit to greedy as fans. Take a deep breath. Things aren’t as bad as you think.