It’s been a wild week for the Green Bay Packers. Coming off a disturbing home loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the team has made a rare mid-season trade, lost their starting cornerback to the IR, and battled the media all along the way. The quick turn around time for the game against division rival Chicago Bears may just be the best thing for the team. It gives the team a chance to put Sunday’s loss behind them and, more importantly, a chance to step away from the questions and do what they do best. Even if their best has yet to come.
This is the 193rd meeting between these border rivals. Chicago leads the series with 94 wins to Green Bay’s 92. Here’s how the Packers get to 93:
Green Bay’s Leftovers v Chicago’s Wide Receivers
Within a short time, Green Bay went from “one of the deepest” teams in the league to a team scrambling to fill roster spots. And these aren’t nickel corners or third down backs they’re losing. We’re talking about the top three corners and top…well…only two running backs.
The Packers, on Tuesday, placed their top corner, veteran Sam Shields, on injured reserve due to a concussion suffered in the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Behind Shields, second year players Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins both suffered groin injuries and are scratched from the game on Thursday night. That will leave Green bay with some combination of Micah Hyde, the teams 3rd safety, Ladarius Gunter, an undrafted free agent in 2015, Demetri Goodson, a sixth-round pick in 2014 who just returned from suspension, and Josh Hawkins, an undrafted free agent in 2016.
Those 4 will have their hands full against Chicago’s emerging receiver trio in Alshon Jeffery (29 receptions, 487 yards), Eddie Royal (29 receptions, 338 yards), and Cameron Meredith (26 receptions, 295 yards).
Running Back De-Knile
The Green Bay Packers secondary isn’t the only one suffering from injuries. The backfield has been a cause for concern since the preseason when John Crockett was placed on injured reserve. Heading into the 2016 season with James Starks and Eddie Lacy as the only two backs on the roster was a risky play by general manager Ted Thompson. And it bit him hard as both players have been ruled out of Thursday night’s game against Chicago.
In response, Green Bay acquired Knile Davis in a trade on Tuesday. There is also the possibility of promoting Don Jackson, an undrafted rookie who’s currently on the practice squad. Then there’s Ty Montgomery, who the Packers drafted as a wide receiver in the third round in 2015, but took several snaps from the backfield on Sunday.
Fans, for years, have screamed for Ted Thompson to make mid-season moves, most notably Marshawn Lynch and Tony Gonzalez. And while I don’t think this was the kind of move fans had in mind, they will take it given how long it’s been since we’ve last witness a trade by Thompson.
**The last trade Ted made sent a conditional 7th round draft pick to Jacksonville for safety Anthony Smith in 2010. Smith was previously on the Packers roster in the 2009 season following the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl season in 2008. He was placed on injured reserve in 2010 after the Packers acquired him and he stayed on the roster throughout the season netting him his second Super Bowl ring.
Regardless, with the injuries to Lacy and Starks, expect Knile Davis to be given a lot of snaps right off the bat. Fortunately for him, he’ll be taking those snaps behind one of the best offensive lines in football.
No one is pretending that there isn’t something off with quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ play. It is obvious. The numbers don’t lie. But what exactly is the problem? Does anyone truly know? Maybe only Aaron, himself. And he was planning on figuring it out over a glass of scotch and a few hours watching film. Must be some really good scotch.
“The scotch was great,” Rodgers said. “You know, I saw things that we’ve been seeing throughout the year. We’re close. We’ve been making some plays at times, but not good enough consistently. We’ve got to clean some things up. I’ve got to make some better throws at times and we’ve got to get on the same page a little bit more consistently, especially in the red zone. The last two weeks we’ve struggled down there, turning the ball over a few times, I have, so you’ve got to clean that stuff up. You can’t take points off the board like that”
Rodgers, however, remains confident that he – and the offense – will get back on track.
“It’s football,” he said. “There’s going to be stretches where you’re just playing really great and stretches where you’re just a little bit off, and we’ve just been a little bit off I think collectively. I’m confident. Were five games into it. We’re going to get it fixed pretty soon.”
I hope your right Mr. Rodgers. We all do.
When the schedule was first released this was a game you felt safe marking a “W” next to. Now, the whole script has been flipped. Jay Cutler is out and Brian Hoyer is the starting quarterback in Chicago. And, to his credit, his numbers are better than Aaron Rodgers’. However, the record shows different. When the end of the year comes, we will all look back and only see Wins and Losses. Once again, despite all controversy and injury, the Green Bay Packers get the win and close the gap in the all-time series.
Green Bay 28 Chicago 17