Packers: Loss to Buccaneers is same old, same old

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Packers were outclassed by the Buccaneers for 60 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s not an aberration.

The Green Bay Packers were riding high through four games of the season after beating the Vikings, Lions, Saints, and Falcons. But when finally faced with a real defensive front capable of generating consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers, the team folded like cheap tents. This is so reminiscent of countless “wake up” call games the Packers have suffered through over the years.

But the Packers, simply, aren’t physical, talented, and balanced enough to compete for the Super Bowl. Against the Buccaneers, Ndamukong Suh, who is on an $8 million contract, was in the face of Rodgers the entire game. Kenny Clark, who is on a four-year, $70 million contract, was nowhere to be found all game.

After getting absolutely emasculated by the San Fransisco 49ers twice last year, the Packers somehow managed to get even worse defensively. The Buccaneers ran as simple an offensive game plan as you could devise, knowing they could bludgeon the Packers down after down, and they did. Clark, Dean Lowry, Preston Smith, and Montravius Adams were easy pickings for a far superior team in the trenches the entire game.

Rodgers had a miserable game. He threw what could have easily been four interceptions and missed a wide open Marcedes Lewis for what would have been a much-needed big play in the first half. But a team with a real, even decent defense could have kept the Packers in this game. Rob Gronkowski, who had been out of football and has more metal in his body than bone, was running five yards behind helpless Packer defenders.

Green Bay entered the game 29th in the league in DVOA against opposing tight ends, and let a team without its best tight end torch them up and down the field. The point is, the Packers are not a Super Bowl team with Mike Pettine as their defensive coordinator and Kenny Clark as their highest-paid defender.

The Packers didn’t exactly make the biggest effort to improve themselves in the offseason, bringing in a linebacker with fewer than 10 starts in the last three years, and a draft class with nearly no one contributing a thing to the field in the 2020-2021 season.

There is nothing to suggest the Packers are going to be any better whatsoever should they match up against the Buccaneers again in the playoffs. Only that time, they’ll have Leonard Fournette.

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