Packers declining bye week after London game a mistake

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Before the schedule was released and the Green Bay Packers knew they would be playing in London in Week 5, they had the option to take a bye the following week.

The Packers declined, preferring to have their bye week later in the season.

In hindsight, it looks like a terrible decision. The Packers’ season will likely be over by the time their Week 14 bye finally arrives.

Also, Aaron Rodgers injured his thumb in the London game, an injury he is still dealing with now. Had the Packers immediately gone on bye, maybe he would’ve had enough time to recover.

Despite that, Matt LaFleur shouldn’t be blamed for this. The process is important, despite the outcome.

The logic to declining the Week 6 bye made sense.

It’s a long season.

In the past three years, the Packers have won 13 games and earned a first-round bye. But only one team earns a week off in the playoffs.

Had the Packers taken a bye in Week 6, then made a playoff run, they would be playing weekly football from October to January without a break. That’s tough.

Ideally, a bye will be placed around Week 10. Not only is it a good time for a midseason rest, but coaches also have plenty of film to rewatch and self-scout before the final stretch of the regular season.

While a Week 14 bye is a little late, it looked to be an ideal spot for the Packers when the schedule was released last spring.

Also, this team isn’t struggling because of their lack of a bye week.

They played poorly in Week 1. Even in Week 4 when they defeated the New England Patriots. And the offense was stuck in first gear before Rodgers hurt his thumb in London.

Despite that, perhaps an earlier bye would’ve helped. The team would’ve had longer to recover from the long travel, and injured players like Rodgers would’ve had time to get healthy.

It likely wouldn’t have made much of a difference to the Packers’ season, and the thinking behind the decision made a lot of sense.

But not taking an early bye has turned out to be the wrong move.