Another January, Another Choke Job (by 12)

Recap~  We all should’ve known, especially me.  For as much as I’ve clamored the Packers will never win another Super Bowl as long as Rodgers is QB, I sure did think they’d beat Tampa Bay in the best possible scenario to arrive at a Super Bowl as a team could ask…then again.

I began writing this the day after the Super Bowl, but have waited to ensure my mind was clear before finishing.  The main sticking point with the NFC title game: Points off Turnovers.  That’s really it.  Had anyone told me, prior to the game, the Packers would intercept Brady on 3 consecutive 2nd half drives, I would have bet the house on the Packers to win and booked tickets (if I were a front-line worker in Tampa) for the Super Bowl. 

  • Tampa Bay scored 14 points off both (2) turnovers.
  • Green Bay scored 6 points off three (3) turnovers.

That’s not gonna get it done vs. almost anyone, especially Tom Brady.  Very reminiscent of the 2014 NFC title game @ Seattle when the Packers’ defense/special teams got Rodgers 5 turnovers, which too amounted to a total of 6 points…noticing a trend here?  I’m not going to hang the losses in San Francisco (2019) and Atlanta (2016) on Rodgers, but I will on the others.  Your defense shows up and outperforms expectations and the offense sputters, that’s one 1 person.  It’s a trend that’s been happening for far too long, and the fan base – just like Favre – covers for the QB.  See Tom Brady.  The Haters always praised his defense, coaching staff, etc. for his wins, yet here he is…winning again. 

Score 21 points off those 3 turnovers and no one is bitching…hell, Green Bay probably beats Kansas City and hoists their 5th Lombardi Trophy, but alas…

Season Recap~ an odd season due to the lack of fans, but other than that, it really was fairly normal.  The weirdest thing that happened was the additional playoff team in each conference.  It really hurts the 2nd seed more than any other team.  I had the Packers getting to the Super Bowl and losing to the Ravens.  Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, turns out contradicting yourself typically doesn’t work.  Lamar Jackson is not a true thrower of the football.  Outstanding athlete and can beat you passing, sometimes, but until he can stand in a pocket and beat you with his arm for an entire game, you’ll see many more performances like his in Buffalo than games like Brady’s in the Super Bowl.  In the end, it’s obvious the safe pick (because it turns out right half the time) is to pick Brady in the Super Bowl vs. Mahomes or another studded QB-led solid team. 

Now What? ~  the main concern is the NFL’s Salary Cap will be dropping, considerable, to about $180M.  This mean, even after cutting ILB Christian Kirksey and RT Rick Wagner, the Packers are still about $11-12M over the cap. 

This means it’ll be even tougher to keep HB Aaron Jones, C Corey Linsley, and TE Robert Tonyan.  What about all the hype surrounding getting JJ Watt for a homecoming?!?!  Not worth it.  Again, the cap is a main issue, and getting him at what expense?  Also, he’d need to be available for essentially all 16 games, and absolutely every playoff game, and 100%…none of this halfway stuff.  Too many holes that even a superstar (which he no longer is) DE would fill. 

Other Free Agents?  WR Alshon Jeffery is now available.  He’d be a great addition, if Green Bay could get him on the cheap.  Doubt it, as some team with more room would be willing to pick him up.  From my perspective, the Packers’ strength was their offensive line.  Keep them in tact as having a solid group of 5 is about as tough to put together as any 1 position in the league.  Make resigning Linsley a priority, let Jones walk (HBs are easily replaceable and shouldn’t spend $ on them as it rarely, if ever, works out).  Maybe resign #30 HB Jamaal Williams and tender #85 TE Robert Tonyan.  Keep drafting best available in the draft in April, and possibly find a new starting RT in one of the rookies or if one of last year’s rookies are able to step in – I do NOT trust #77 T Billy Turner, especially at his price, cut him too.

All in all, the Packers are now in a tough spot due to drafting well and signing free agents.  Couple that with the falling cap due to the reaction to COVID-19, and here we are.  Thankfully the Packers kept EVP/Director – Football Operations, Russ Ball (cap genius), to maneuver around these dark waters. 

Until the Draft (April 29-May 1).

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