Green Bay Packers

The First Real Crisis Of the Matt LaFleur Era

Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Well, at least we’ve got those pesky New York teams behind us now.

Been watching the Pack for a whole lot of years. Have seen a lot more good than bad over the last three decades or so, primarily always assured that we’d see elite quarterback play and an offensive line that was the envy of the majority of the 32 teams. Defense? That’s another story.

What we’re watching right now boggles the mind. The O-line was absolutely manhandled by the New York Jets defensive front all afternoon. I can’t remember ever seeing a Green Bay Packers offense look this inept at Lambeau Field (granted, my memory’s not what it used to be). They’ve scored a grand total of ten points over the last six quarters. And Aaron Rodgers, whether his thumb was an issue or not, has looked nothing like the two-time reigning MVP through six games this season.

Where does this team go from here? How do they fix things? Yes, the NFC is muddled with just four teams sporting a winning record, but the Packers look nothing like a team that’s ready to figure things out. And with a schedule that still includes road games at Buffalo, Philly, Miami, and even Detroit (not to mention stiff home tests against the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and Tennessee Titans), they’ve put themselves into that ‘could they actually miss the playoffs?’ category.

It looked like a blocked punt would finally get the Pack untracked in a scoreless game, set up on the Jets 36. But a holding penalty negated a 14-yard Aaron Jones run, and a sack pushed them out of field goal range. On came the punting team. That tells you all you need to know about the state of Green Bay’s offense right now. No imagination in play calling, no speed, no inclination to give Aaron Jones the touches he deserves, and a line that showed it can be pushed around.

I’m not sure what to make of the defense. They completely shut the Jets down for the first eight drives, and then they collapse on the second drive of the second half, letting Corey Davis beat them on back-to-back plays before Braxton Berrios befuddled them with some misdirection. A blocked punt touchdown quickly made it a 14-point lead, and the Pack was cooked. Just like that. The defense hasn’t been egregious, but they’ve faced Bailey Zappe, Daniel Jones, and Zach Wilson the last three weeks – with Taylor Heinicke on deck. We’ll get a true measure of where they’re at on Halloween weekend in Buffalo.

We do know they’re not good enough to make up for a sleepy offense and a maddening special teams unit that saw two kicks get blocked on Sunday. This is the first real crisis of the Matt LaFleur era. For the first time, they’ve dropped back-to-back regular season games. For the first time in nearly two full seasons, they lost a regular season home game.

Leading up to the Jets game, you had Jaire Alexander saying his unit would be fine and all would be right with the world if they beat the Jets. You had LaFleur saying you hate to beat up on your good friend and brother. This is not the mindset of a winning, championship-caliber team. Rodgers was right to call out some of the noise coming out of the locker room.

This team is facing some serious adversity for the first time since Mike McCarthy was roaming the sidelines. We’ll find out quickly whether the coaches and team leaders have what it takes to right the ship. What we’ve witnessed the last three weeks on the field and off doesn’t fill me with a whole lot of hope.

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Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

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