<– In the image: me in Israel wide awake at 3:30am cheering against the Vikes.
I’ll start with an apology meant for my 1 devoted reader. Dude, sorry I haven’t been writing of late, my optimism on writing after every single game turned out to be unrealistic, HOWEVER! I will do my best to write on occasion.
Now, here are some of my insights regarding the Packers for the 2019 season:
- People don’t give Jamal Williams enough credit. Yes, Aaron Jones is a big deal on LaFleur’s offense, but at the same time, Williams’ tremendous contribution as a 2nd runner was conspicuously missing vs. the Lions, and fortunately for us, we will see him in the postseason. He needs to get a lot more recognition.
- Some people, not just Pack fans, are too easy on the trigger with Rodgers – they thought so highly of him, that showing less than super-human traits has no circumstances, just statistics. This season is especially difficult on Rodgers, as he was molded into (and to some degree contributed to it actively) McCarthy’s offense, which is *vastly* different than LaFleur’s. Add new key players to the mix (best example is Lazard, our quasi-formal 2nd receiver), and you get a perfectly decent, post-collar-bone, veteran quarterback season. Did he miss some simple throws? yes. Did he misread some plays and ignored open players? Yes. Did he force the pass play when clearly they should have run it? Likely. Holistically looking at it, he’s adapting, as great as he is – and you’re seeing labor pain, imo. I believe no matter what happens this year, as Rodgers gets into LaFleur’s scheme and mindset, and they study each other, he will return to his greatness. Maybe not all-time, but certainly continuously improvement, until age (or god forbid, injury) does its thing.
- It is amazing to me how Pack fans are so extreme in how they perceive the team. I listened to A LOT of Pack podcasts this year. A LOT. and everybody is either saying things like ‘trash’, ‘inadequate’, ‘weak’, or, they’re saying ‘Super Bowl’. No spectrum. Very little regard to the process of a HC+QB combo with vastly different disciplines to bridge, (some) new key players, and generally speaking, a system on the rise but definitely not at a peak.
- As I said in the past, this Packer team should be very proud they’ve gotten to the playoffs, and tremendously so with getting the #2 seed in the NFC. much more than what 90% of fans would have expected, and a 13-3 record.
- Were we somewhat lucky with last-minute bailouts, key opponent injuries, and a mildly-difficult schedule? Definitely. But still, that team found a way to win. And I admire that, because character and locker rooms are the foundation of a strong sports team, then, talent, schemes, and execution will follow.
- Please, look at this season as one that went overwhelmingly well, but shouldn’t distract the system: front office, coaching staff, and players (and fans!) from the real objective: regrowing a successful, balanced, enjoyable dynasty. These are the buds, and they look great. Don’t nip them with your uncontrolled urge to criticize.
And one last thing,
Maybe it’s just the fan in me that refuses to acknowledge realistic expectations (i.e. getting to where we got is more than we hoped for), I am toying around with the thought that Rodgers’ saying before the Niners game: “We’ll have to beat them there (i.e. on the road) once” was almost a prophecy, and the fact they failed to do so then, makes me kind of fantasize about making it a reality, just when it matters the most, at the NFC conference final. But my fan-free prediction is that we get knocked out on the divisional round, and Lamar comes away with the MVP + Lombardi trophy, after having beaten Drew Brees and the Saints in Miami.