Although there are six games left to play, it’s time for loyal supporters of the Green Bay Packers to come to terms with our reality and concede that this proud franchise has hit rock bottom on the heels of a fourth-consecutive loss in which a decimated group couldn’t stop the profuse bleeding resulting from an utter bludgeoning administered by the Washington Redskins.
There is no shock value in the fact that this 4-6 outfit couldn’t keep up with an ascending opponent equipped with an intoxicating assortment of offensive weapons in the passing game since most of us from Lombardi Ave —not to mention countless others—have accepted the dire fate and circumstances surrounding the 2016 Packers; but what is enough to truly drive any devoted fan to the brink of insanity is the inability of this club to be competitive in a parity-driven league.
Yesterday’s prime-time massacre saw our green-and-gold gladiators following the all-too-familiar script of falling behind early and spending the rest of the game pointlessly chasing their tails in trying to catch up to the opposition.
As expected, Aaron Rodgers put up his numbers and made great use of his supporting cast, including tight end Jared Cook, who made a triumphant return in his first game after an eight-week absence. A languishing defense, however, repeatedly nullified any achievement earned on the other side of the ball.
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Although the visiting Packers held serve with their foe in the first half by trailing 13-10 at halftime, the defensive unit continued surrendering an inordinate amount of big plays that ultimately brought the unit down to its knees, as they were victimized by five completions of 20-plus yards —three of which went over 40 yards—and three running plays that generated 10 or more yards, including a nail-in-the-coffin 66-yard scamper that set up Washington’s final score of the evening.
The disparity between the amount of formidable targets Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins had at his disposal and an ever-shrinking Green Bay secondary that keeps losing pieces at every turn was enough to make any exasperated onlooker want to run onto the field and woefully wave a white flag in a show of resignation.
The much-anticipated return of Clay Matthews, moreover, didn’t come close to producing anything resembling a consistent pass rush and never forced Cousins into committing a turnover that might have inspired a rally.
The effort was there, for the most part, but like a club fighter facing Mike Tyson is his epic prime, this punch-drunk unit could do nothing more than blindly flail their open palms supported by a pair of rubber knees on the verge of buckling with every glancing blow.
Blake Martinez and Demetri Goodson are the latest casualties that can be added to a long list of injury-riddled components that have hampered a defense that must continually go down the depth chart in order to put 11 men on the field.
While several arrows have justifiably been tossed in the direction of Mike McCarthy in recent weeks over his general mismanagement of the offense, it’s time to call GM Ted Thompson to the carpet for his legendary reluctance to reinforce player personnel with veteran free-agent additions.
Injuries have hit this Packers’ squad harder than most organizations due to Thompson’s overreliance on inexpensive draft picks and undrafted free agents to fill the roster. Many of them cannot come close to replacing the production of key components in times of need.
Changes are in order and there will be plenty of time to suggest what measures should be implemented to turn things around in 2017. But for now, we continue to assess the weekly performances of this withering band of gridiron warriors that are dragging their carcasses to the finish line.
Here is the Week-11 Stock-Up, Stock-Down Report.