In season’s past, the Packers have come off their bye week, ready to gear up to the end of season. So when the schedule came out it was hard to imagine how the Packers could benefit from the earliest bye week of the season.
The Packers return to action this Sunday when they welcome the Detroit Lions to Lambeau Field nowhere close to the end of the season. The Packers haven’t even completed the first quarter of the season.
But the Packers needed the early break. Injuries had nearly depleted two key positions, safety and running backs. Mistakes and inconsistencies and once again failing to win in close games plagued the Packers early games.
With the Packers returning from their off week on Monday, a couple of questions still remain.
1. Is anyone actually feeling better?
Morgan Burnett returned to practiced and seems to be in the best shape he has been all season. Both rookie running backs, Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin also returned. But the list of players who remain sidelined is long, and full of big names: Clay Matthews, Jermichael Finley, John Kuhn, Jarrett Bush and Casey Hayward.
2. What is going on with the roster?
With the Packers bringing up RB Michael Hill from the practice squad on Monday, the Packers roster is once again full at 53 players. But the move begs the question, another running back? That doesn’t seem to bode well for Starks or the Packers long term running plans. At the start of the season the Packers had one stand out bruising back, one flashy running back and one veteran to show them the way and Kuhn to block for them all. Now the Packers are looking at three rookie running backs, talented, but unproven.
And then there’s the issue of the cutting Jeremy Ross. It was a move that needed to be done. Aside from his fumbles, Ross showed in three games this season that his decision making skills are lacking on many fronts. From his inability to decide when to run out of the end zone, to his inability to make a quick decision and cut and run up field, Ross was a weak spot of a weak return game.
But now the leaves the Packers with four wide receivers. Four. In contrast, in 2012 the Packers carried seven wide outs. And with an injured Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless playing a pseudo full back role on occasion to fill in for the injured Kuhn that leaves a limited amount of options for Aaron Rodgers to target.
The strength of the Packers offense lately has been, we have too many weapons and you can’t cover them all. Four wide outs, a tight end at half back and three rookies running the ball, those sound like weapons that can be maintained.
The awful word. Does Rodgers have it with certain teammates? Does the team have it with each other? Are there real ripples in how the Packers offense is run?
Chemistry is a buzz word, thrown around a lot over the last couple of years to seemingly sum up any on or off the field issue. But after the talk of lacking motivation and desire last year, to the departed wide receiver drama club, to the sideline arguments between the coach and QB1, what exactly is the mood of the team?
Over the past couple of season the Packers have had “come to Jesus” moments, turning points in the season. After the horrific loss to the Giants, when McCarthy proclaimed the Packers are nobody’s underdog, the Packers have gone through adversity and in general come out the other side stronger. It’s too early in the season and there isn’t the same “The Ship is sinking” feeling, but how will the team respond to a game in Cincinnati that seemed to show the ugly underbelly issues of the team?
Jayme Snowden is a feature writer at CheeseheadTV and a contributor to Today’s TMJ4. She also co-hosts CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at Packertalk.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at [email protected].
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