What is the identity of the 2014 Green Bay Packers?
Clay Matthews tackles Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte last week. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph
The ebb and flow of the 2014 Packers season has seen weeks of mania and weeks of dejection.
One week it’s Super Bowl or bust the next it’s just bust. What is the identity of the 2014 Green Bay Packers?
On one hand, what we have witnessed could very well be the DNA of this squad. A team that comes out flat on offense with a junior varsity defense some weeks, while others there is no stopping Aaron Rodgers and the offense as the defense is seemingly ready to take on the world.
On the other hand, maybe this team is working to find its groove and what we’ve seen at times is a snapshot of their ceiling and some of the natural missteps of the process. Ultimately the team finds its way and in doing so congeals the potential into consistency. This is what champions are made of, high caliber play on a consistent basis.
Weeks 8 and 10 represented the epitome of who the Packers have been this season.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks catches a touchdown past Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Week 8 the Packers traveled to New Orleans and put up big numbers on offense but couldn’t get it done in the red zone. The defense floundered and the usual warts came to light – bad tackling and unable to stop the run. The result was one for the loss column and the Packers left the French Quarter with a hangover.
After the week 9 bye, the Bears came to Lambeau. The rivalry alone would make one think it would be a hard fought game. Instead Green Bay sent Chicago back to the Windy City distraught and wishing their season away, defeating the Bears 55-14.
Rodgers was masterful and extremely efficient as he dissected a discombobulated Bears defense. The Packers defense was alive and was the image of the proverbial defense flying around with their hair on fire.
Dom Capers’ surprise move of putting Clay Matthews at inside linebackers appears to be a stroke of genius.
Other than a lack of consistency on both sides of the ball the other knock on the Packers is their inability to beat good teams. There is certainly truth to this, as their losses have come from Seattle, Detroit and New Orleans. All are teams that are at the top of their respective divisions or in the hunt for their conference title.
Davante Adams helped the Packers win at Sun Life Stadium. Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Of the Packers’ victories their signature win is against the 5-4 Miami Dolphins. Clearly a marginal team, but the victory came on the road and the Packers showed some grit in the process.
A few more clues as to the identity of the Packers should be exposed this coming Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Mark Sanchez, more infamous for his butt fumble than his quarterback skills, leads the Eagles into Lambeau fresh off a blowout victory over the Carolina Panthers. Philadelphia is playing well with Sanchez at the helm in relief of Nick Foles.
The Eagles and the Packers match up fairly well. They both have a defense in the bottom half of the NFL, the Eagles ranked 21st and the Packers 23rd. Philadelphia’s offense is high powered with a very good running game.
They will be a test for the Packers defense.
Davante Adams celebrates a touchdown. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph
A victory over the Eagles won’t necessarily mean buy your Super Bowl tickets, but it does take a step in the right direction of affirming that the Packers can beat good teams and are, in fact, a good team themselves.
A loss makes me begin to think that Green Bay just doesn’t have what it takes to get over the hump. Momentarily I don’t believe this and I look forward to the results of this one.
Because unlike a Kim Kardashian Paper Magazine cover I think what is revealed about the Green Bay Packers will be real and worth another look.