Packers Season is Flatlining All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Tramon Williams
Things really came unraveled on Thanksgiving in Detroit. Tramon Williams is seen here as he shoves a referee

Another Thanksgiving Day game between the Packers and Lions is in the books, only this one didn’t turn out anywhere close to what most Packers fans expected.

Some expected the Packers to win and held out hope that quarterback Matt Flynn could carry over his brilliant play from last week against the Minnesota Vikings.  Some expected the Lions to win a hard-fought game against a short-handed and down-but-not-out Packers team.

The latter scenario played out, but only in the Lions winning the game.  This was not a hard-fought effort by the Packers and they are both down and out right now.  Out to lunch, that is.  The on-field performance by Green Bay in all phases today flat-out sucked and was, in a word, horrible.

More sloppy play, communication breakdowns, missed tackles and a major lack of execution hampered the Packers as the Lions pulled away comfortably in the second half and on their way to a 40-10 victory.  It was Detroit’s first win on Thanksgiving Day since 2003.  What a nice 10-year anniversary gift from the Packers to the Lions, eh?

To those who still want to say that the missing link to this team is Aaron Rodgers and that when he returns, everything will be just fine, I say “wake up”.  Things are anything but fine in Green Bay right now.  If you think I’m overreacting, feel free to stop reading.  Also, go watch today’s game again, it its entirety and without skipping any snaps.  I’ll wait.

Every team has a bad day, a bad game.  Sometimes a team just comes out flat and gets beat.  As is often said, “the other guys are getting paid too” and we have to admit that our team, our beloved team, was outplayed.  Today, the Packers got wedgied.  Embarrassed.  Punked.  Used and abused.  The list goes on.  This wasn’t simply an anomaly.  It was the culmination of an entire month of uninspired and bad football.  From the offense to the defense and special teams as well, this Packers team has been hard to watch.

Minus the second half of last week’s tie with the Vikings, the Packers have shown zero signs of life and aren’t even a shell of what they were before Rodgers was hurt.  How can one player, even Aaron Rodgers, make such a grand-scale difference to this team?  Rodgers doesn’t play defense so why has that side of the ball slid into the slums of the NFL rankings?

Injuries?  Sure, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Casey Hayward, Sam Shields and Johnny Jolly have all missed time this season.  It’s time to stop making excuses for missing bodies.  While there may be a drop-off from the first team to a backup, what the Packers are doing on defense doesn’t resemble a Pop Warner team.  They have completely forgotten how to tackle.  Routinely, they are out of position and how many times do we hear “blown coverage” during the telecast?  To put it mildly, if it were a drinking game, we’d all be hammered every Sunday by halftime.

Many want to go straight to the top and blame defensive coordinator Dom Capers.  Surely he is the common denominator.  At this point, I’m not sure that Capers isn’t part of the problem too.  But the execution is nill on the field and these players should be embarrassed at the level of play they have turned in over the past five games.  Many of those working in corporate America would have been let go weeks ago if they did as poorly as the Packers have.

On offense, the issues are rampant as well.  The offensive line has struggled with some health issues and today, it culminated with T.J. Lang having to step in at center and doing a horrendous job at that.  I’ll give Lang a bit of a break because he has played through some bumps and bruises and is one of the emotional leaders of this team.  He wasn’t expecting to play center and didn’t prepare to this week in practice.  Still, the biggest contribution from the rest of the line came earlier this week from guard Josh Sitton, who took to the media to call the Lions “dirty”, from coaching staff to players.  We all know what talk is worth on the football field.  It doesn’t equate to any points.

And here is my “rant within a rant”:  if Marshall Newhouse remains on this roster and continues to play, the Packers are completely culpable and negligent of their quarterbacks and run game.  Completely.  Newhouse sucks and I hate using that word to describe a player, but it was either that or an expletive that would call into question how poor my vocabulary is.  I’m a much better employee than is Newhouse so I’ll stick to my softer wording.  Marshall.  Newhouse.  Sucks.  He stays healthy every week but the irony is that most of us would trade him in for most any other guy on the injured list right now.

The quarterback position behind Rodgers has been pitiful.  Seneca Wallace was a hot mess and his injury, while I never wish one upon a player, was probably a blessing in disguise.  Scott Tolzien can throw a deep ball.  Great.  He can also throw untimely interception after untimely interception and that negates the good throws.  Flynn gave the team and fans hope that he could keep the Packers in this game against Detroit.  Today, Flynn had zero touchdown passes and managed a measly 139 yards passing, 56 of which came on one pass to James Jones when Ford Field was already half empty and with the game well in hand for Detroit.

Special teams were anything but.  This unit has been bottom feeding all season long and continue to get no production from the return game at all.  The highlight of the day came when the Lions kicked off out of bounds twice, giving the Packers good starting field position.  But that credit would actually go to the Lions, wouldn’t it?  Like they needed any more accolades than they already got today.

I tweeted early on in this game that the Packers needed the Lions to beat the Lions today and that turned out to be spot on.  Outside of a rare turnover-turned-touchdown in the second quarter, the Packers might as well have taken the holiday off.  Spent some time with family, enjoyed a big meal, and most importantly, gotten away from football.  It would have been time better spent.

I’m probably rambling now and many of you may have already stopped reading or are waiting patiently for a punchline.  Rather than leave you all hanging out to dry and empty handed like a certain football team did to itself and its fans today, I’ll do just that.

Things are bad in Green Bay, and I’m not just talking about any crooked politics.  I’m talking about a football team nearly 100 years rooted in the community and that has had a rich history of winning and doing so with class.  Today, the Packers looked more like the Lions.  Tramon Williams was flagged for shoving a referee.  The same Tramon Williams who is supposed to be a veteran leader and who was an instrumental part of bring another Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay three seasons ago.  Really, Tramon?  That’s what you want your teammates to see and emulate?  That’s what you want to teach the young players on this roster to do when things get low?

In the second half, it was evident that the Packers had checked out.  Micah Hyde fair caught a punt at the FIVE YARD LINE.  The FIVE.  I don’t care what anyone comes back with as rationale.  That’s dumb football.  If he was coached or told to do that, that coach (paging Shawn Slocum) needs to be escorted out of the building.  What happened after that came as no surprise to me.  I said right before the snap, “here comes a safety, they’re quitting”.  Cue a hapless Packers offensive line allowing Flynn to be sacked by Ndamukong Suh.  Based on his history, the Packers are lucky Suh didn’t rip Flynn’s head off, chew it up and spit out the pieces.

There is no fight in this dog that is the Green Bay Packers.  Rodgers returning isn’t enough.  If his return does spark something in this team, then what does that say about what has been the last month?  It’s not a comfortable feeling to know that the loss of one guy can lead to a team completely imploding on itself.  That is what is happening.  Listening to the players after the game, there is clearly some frustration.  Many of them don’t have the answers but know they need to do something.

In football, confidence is such a huge factor.  An opposing team coming in knowing you are a better team provides a huge edge before the first snap is even played.  Right now, no one fears the Packers.  No one.  They have become the head-shaking, “what’s going on?”, can’t-look-away-from-a-train-wreck team in the NFL.  Never did I think it was possible in Green Bay and especially under the same leadership who took a team to and won a Super Bowl.

It’s probably too early to say that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has lost this team.  They don’t appear to be jumping ship on him.  But they have jumped off of the ship they were sailing on before this five game slide (let’s toss the tie in as part of that for the purposes of this discussion).  Many are questioning whether the Packers can even win another game this season.  I’m sure some of the players are among those, although they would never say so out loud.  We won’t get anything but “we understand the expectations and we need to do better” from McCarthy, so don’t hold your breath for anything else.

It was unfortunate that Rodgers had to go down and even more unfortunate what has happened to Green Bay since then.  Instead of digging deep and finding a way to keep up and win a game or two, the Packers have laid down and rolled over on their back.  It’s possible that the Packers could still win out and somehow win the NFC North, but this is not a playoff team right now and they don’t have the horses to become one.  That’s me calling it like it is.  I realize that contrasts what some of my own colleagues here at have said and written about.  But I stand behind what I said.

It’s hard to watch and hard to admit, but this is a bad Packers football team.  I don’t see how they can magically become better to the point where we can erase this past month from our memories.  Much like 2005 and 2008, we will likely be looking back on 2013 as one of the few disappointing seasons over the past two decades.  Whether that becomes a one-off or the start of a trend won’t be answered until next year.  And right now, Rodgers or not, that seems to be all the Packers have to look forward to.





Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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54 thoughts on “Packers Season is Flatlining

  1. The talent level on this team is pathetic. Especially on defense. If you don’t believe me, look at the facts. Pro Football Focus grades: I will start with the Packer Lion match up. Anyone who thought the Pack had a chance to win this game is a foolish, head in the sand, non-realist. The offense grades have the pack 41.60, Lions 47.20. Defense -29.63 to 34.60. A 64.23 difference! What happened was not an aberration. Special teams 7.70 to 11.20.
    Lions have more talent in all phases of the game. How can coaches be objectively evaluated with this poor of talent. If you take a look at the grades since 2008 of the active players you will see that Newhouse is the worse player at -45.50 followed by Hawk at -44.20. Replace these two and you solve a lot of problems. The other problems: Raji -13.40 ( don’t pay for this! ), Bush -12.90, Worthy -12.60, Jolly -11, McMillan -9.10, Bakhtiari -9.30, Palmer -7.90, Barclay -7.60, Mulumba -5.40, Neal -5.10, J. Jones -4, Quarless -3, Jennings -2.10. Very poor drafting. It is on the coaches that they keep starting some of these dregs.

    1. Despite how much you must dislike AJ Hawk, at least he was flying around yesterday, in on as many tackles as any D player-there were just too many MISSED tackles for Hawk and Matthews to cover up. This defense continues to fail at fundamental football, that’s all on the HC for not holding assistant coaches responsible for the failures of the units they coach. Capers has had 25+ NEW defensive players and FAILED at making the D any better, give a Gregg Williams, Jeff Fisher, Lovie Smith or Bill Belichik that many players and they’ll produce a top defense or FIRE somebody who didn’t get the job done.

  2. I saw most of the game yesterday.

    I knew there would be trouble when I saw the first few snaps Flynn took in the shotgun. He had to bend down, hands in front, to receive the consistently low snaps from EDS. This allowed the Lions’ DL extra time to get to him.

    Lacy was getting zero running room. The play calling seemed to indicate MM was pinning his hopes on the running game.

    The Lions’ pass rush was getting through to Flynn with only four. The Lions’ defense begged Flynn to complete passes.

    With all this said, one would hope the Packers were playing with some degree of pride. They don’t appear to care.

    I remember Ray Rhodes only season as HC. He lost the team. I remember him marching up and down the Packers’ sideline screaming at a team who didn’t care. The same mindset may be taking hold now.

    The Capers defense has been figured out all over the NFL. Some have called for replacing him with Kevin Greene. He has the experience now along with the fire. His Army experience provides some of the leadership credentials as does his playing time. As Greene said himself “It is time.” All the coaches on the defense, except Greene, should be history at the end of this season.

    On offense, it’s time to make Edgar Bennett OC and can Clements and Campen. Clements seems a capable position coach. Bennett, on the other hand, is in a similar position to Greene. He has time as a RB coach and a WR coach. He also has credibility as a former player.

    Campen is in an unenviable position. His starters can’t stay healthy. If they are healthy, they get shuffled around like a deck of cards. However, there is enough of a long-term performance history to show he’s largely ineffective.

    MM might be coaching for his job now. Remember TT’s first season as GM? Sherman was the coach and the Packers went 4-12 after being in the playoffs for several seasons. Thompson witnessed the decline and fired Sherman quickly following that season. MM is in a similar situation now.

    If it comes to choosing between MM and TT, I’ll go with TT over MM. I could see TT giving MM this option…hire a new DC and a new OC AND surrender the play calling responsibility to the new OC. I don’t know if MM would accept that.

    Should GB back into the playoffs this season, I don’t see them lasting past the first round. I hope I am wrong.


    1. Did ANYBODY realize-McCarthy had Flynn running NO HUDDLE offense against the Vikings, leading them to a come from behind win that the D gave up because they couldn’t make ONE stop on 3rd down and yesterday he NEVER let Flynn have that option at any point to help this offense get some production? WHY? The defense was teeing off on Packers O-line, Lacy and Flynn, McCarthy should’ve at least forced Lions D to stay on field with the no huddle, tire them out and help his run game get going. His game plan looked as if HE DIDN’T WANT TO WIN! And his defense is looking that way every week now! The BIGGEST TURKEY ON THE FIELD WAS MIKE McCARTHY ON THURSDAY!!

  3. I’ll go ahead and say it for you–McCarthy doesn’t like ANY opinions on how this team should be coached–he called plays DESIGNED to fail for Matt Flynn. WHERE was the “no huddle” offense Flynn used successfully last week without ANY preparation vs. Vikings that brought them from behind and was one defensive stop from winning the game? McCarthy had 3 DAYS to prepare Flynn-and then NEVER game him the opportunity to use it to tire Lions defense, keep them from “D” changes and get some run production, short passing help. PATHETIC–the PATHETIC PACKERS–that’s the product Mike McCarthy put on the field on Turkey day-and the BIGGEST TURKEY OF ALL WAS MCCARTHY!

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