Around this time of year, there are always questions with below average teams as to whether they should scrap the current season in favor of a new start this year. The Green Bay Packers are, surprisingly, looking like one of those subpar teams facing a lost season and they would do themselves a favor by scrapping this season and starting fresh and healthy next year. Their defense is a seriously leaky faucet the last few weeks and they have been undone by injuries to both sides of the ball.
The biggest and most obvious injury is to Aaron Rodgers. He is their franchise player and evidence this year serves that he is as good as advertised, worth every penny of his $110 million contract, and the Packers just aren’t the same team without him. The flow of the offense and his leadership (which Green Bay has lacked since he went out) are just a couple of the roles he plays when he is on the field. Another big injury was Clay Matthews going down with a broken thumb midway through the season. Just like Rodgers is to the offense, Clay Matthews is the leader of the defensive squad and he seemingly makes the entire defensive unit play better as a team when he is active. He hasn’t been as effective this year as past years, but he always commands respect from his past dominant seasons on defense.
Inconsistent play from all aspects of the defense have also contributed to the derailment of the team over the last month. They have defensively allowed more points than they have scored on offense, and when you have a defense that lets the other team walk all over you, chances are you won’t win that often in the NFL. Combine that with the fact this defensive unit allowed more than 500 total yards to a Lions team that doesn’t have much talent on their roster, that is a big wake up call that something is not working like it should. The first few weeks of the season, the run defense was on track to have another great season, but they appear to have physically and mentally worn down from the long, injury plagued season. They allowed Reggie Bush to run all over them to the tune of 117 yards and Matt Stafford shredded the secondary for 330 yards and three TD passes. Maybe the mental aspect of staying in contention has passed by Green Bay and they might realize losing might be more beneficial for their team in the long run.
There have also been reports that Rodgers will be shut down for the rest of the season with their playoffs hopes getting smaller and smaller with each loss. This might be the best move seeing as how the Packers have a laundry list of injuries, including injuries to Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga among many others, and it may be the best idea to play out the season with younger players and draft in the top 20 in April and have everyone healthy for the start of next season. Just imagine what the outcry and riot would be if Aaron Rodgers came back this season and received a serious injury in the playoffs or the last game of the regular season and have months of rehab and effort ahead of him instead of swallowing this bitter pill of a lost season and gearing up for the future. When this team is healthy and clicking on all cylinders, we have witnessed how great they can be, as they won the Super Bowl in the year 2010 and nearly went undefeated the following year, but have looked like the polar opposite this year. Tanking a season intentionally might be frowned upon among some circles, but in this situation with this potential Super Bowl winning team, it might be the best thing to do for now and the future.