So it is clear that this season was a disappointment for the Packers. Of course in Wisconsin anytime the Packers don’t win the Super Bowl would be considered a disappointment. A lot has happened this season and change is on the horizon. Here are some interesting takes on the Packers and where things are heading.
Body Language was Key:
I noticed this years ago and it came to a head this year. Rodgers was not showing the body language of a true leader. Ever notice that after a 3 and out or when the offense is on the sideline that Rodgers is never talking with his wide receivers? He is never pumping up the receiving core and will sit by himself. One thing we can notice this season is that Rodgers does NOT like playing with young receivers. Yes, Rodgers’ talent is great and he makes any receiver around him look good, but when they make a mistake he gives them a death stare. He will do this even when he is the one making a bad throw. Rodgers is the captain and supposed to lead the offense. This year, however, his body language did not show leadership. If he did not look good he appeared defeated. Whether is was him or the receivers it is the leaders’ job to get things back on track and get back in the win column. It may not be all Rodgers’ fault, but his body language showed defeat in week 1 and he was never able to turn the ship around.
On the receiving side of things, Davante Adams was the one and only weapon. Jimmy Graham looked like a big waste of money. Through week 16, Adams is the 2nd most targeted receiver in the NFL only training Julio Jones by 2. In addition, Adams is 2nd in the NFL in percentage of targets on the team being targeted 32.11% of the time. Almost one third of the time did Rodgers throw his way. In the past 5 seasons there was always at least 2 receivers at over 15% targeted with many of the seasons being 3 receivers above that mark. This was the first season without Jordy Nelson which clearly made and impact, but there is no reason that one of the other young receivers could have been utilized more.
Rushing should have more utilized:
Through week 16 the Packers are tied for last in rushing attempts. Meanwhile during his playing time, Aaron Jones led the league in yards per attempt with 5.5 yds/att. What would have been the harm? Aside from Adams, Rodgers did not like throwing to anyone else resulting in the most throw-aways in the league. Weeks 8 through 14 Jones averaged 14 rushes per game averaging 5.42 yds/att. The rush game was working well while the air game was struggling to get going. They should have played to the strength at the time.
Well it could be worse. Dom Capers could still be the coordinator. The Packers ranked in the middle of the NFL in many categories. Rating a defense on yards allowed is not valid in my opinion anymore because with the officiating favoring offense, the yards has been up this year compared to others. In expected points contributed by all defense via Pro-Football reference, the Packers ranked 21st in the NFL. In Turnover Percentage (TO%) they ranked 26th. The Bears were an absolute machine on defense topping the league in many of the categories. Khalil Mack has made an incredible impacting which has made the Bears a playoff contender. A bright spot on the Packers defense is Blake Martinez who ranked top 10 in the league for 2 straight seasons in tackles. He will be the defensive bright spot for years to come.
Not good. Get a new kicker. He missed 5 field goals/extra points in a single game. Nuf said.
First priority is to hire a new coach. Philbin will not be that guy. The new coach has to be tough enough to not be bossed around by Rodgers. With Rodgers becoming uncoachable, a guy the Jim Harbough would be a perfect fit but that seems unlikely at this point. Body language will need to improve next season starting with Rodgers. More receivers will need to be involved in the passing game and the run game needs to have a bigger role. Rodgers is an all-time talent and so far there is only 1 Super Bowl to show for it. There is a reason Brady goes to the Super Bowl nearly every season and Rodgers doesn’t. Brady is a better leader and takes advantage of ALL his weapons. Rodgers needs to return to being a humble player and start showing that he wants to win a Super Bowl. Sometimes greatness requires sacrifice. That is what Rodgers needs to realize.