Green Bay Packers: Not time to sound the alarm


Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, Nov. 4, 2013: The day that Green Bay Packers fans may consider “D-Day.”

When Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone, all of Packers Nation panicked. Since then, we have seen a team go from contenders to, more or less, pretenders. Is the rest of the Green Bay roster really this dependent on the play of Rodgers?

Rodgers obviously has a huge impact on the offense. No matter who’s in at receiver, tackle, etc., Rodgers seems to play at an MVP level.

Green Bay Packers injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports photograph

In the first eight weeks, we saw a defense that was ranked second in the league in run defense. The passing defense has been miserable all year and has only gotten worse. The Packers defense used to be known for turnovers, and this year they have a lousy nine total turnovers.

To the defense’s credit, they have had to stay on the field longer due to the increase in 3-and-outs since Rodgers has been out. Is the fact that their leader is out reason enough for the defense to lose confidence? Or perhaps they know they will be on the field more often, and they take plays off? Or is Dom Capers’ once dominate scheme exposed and no longer effective?

It’s difficult to speculate because the defense has been just that bad.

Since I have been alive, the Packers have never really been a team that goes into “rebuilding” mode. In the 2005 and 2006 seasons, the Packers had a combined 12-20 record, but quickly turned it around in 2007 finishing 13-3 in Brett Favre‘s final season with the Pack. In 2008, Aaron Rodgers’ first season as the starter, Green Bay finished 6-10, but again turned it around quickly the following season, posting an 11-5 record.

I am very thankful I have usually been able to watch the Pack compete for a playoff spot year after year, and having been able to witness two Super Bowl victories (and one loss).

The question has to be asked: is it too late for the Packers 2013-14 season? Can Scott Tolzien win against the Vikings this coming week to stay in the race for the NFC North title? The Packers will most likely have to win the North if they want a playoff spot. Carolina is proving themselves a worthy contender, and teams like San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas will all be competing for the two wildcard spots.

No matter how Green Bay finishes this season, one thing is for certain: They need to DRAFT A DEFENSIVE BACK.

Tramon Williams is not playing like he used to (even though he had a good game against the Giants). Casey Hayward had a fantastic rookie season but is now hampered by a hamstring injury. Sam Shields is having a decent year, but I don’t think he is the answer at cornerback. Morgan Burnett has shown promise, but needs to be more of a leader since he is the free safety.

Cornerback Tramon Williams played well against the Giants, but the Packers still need to draft a defensive back. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Hyde is a tackling machine and has fantastic ball skills, and I believe he can be a formidable option at strong safety, replacing MD Jennings. The Packers need to take a serious look at the cornerback position if they want their passing defense to improve.

Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), Lamarcus Joyner (Florida State), and Rashaad Reynolds (Oregon State) are a few names that stand out in college football.

But I digress … back to 2013.

Can Aaron Rodgers return in time to save the season? Will the Bears and/or the Lions tank? The Packers will need tons of help to reach the playoffs this season, but it is possible.

The Packers may want to have someone stand by, but I do not think it is time to sound the alarm just yet. The Packers absolutely need a win to get their hopeful return to the playoffs started, and it starts with week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings.