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Closing the Books on a Snake Bit Season

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Closing the Books on a Snake Bit Season

"You are who your record says you are".  That statement could not be any more true for the 2018 Green Bay Packers who have fallen to a disastrous 5-8-1 after they were defeated by the Chicago Bears yesterday afternoon at Soldier Field which officially crowned the Bears as the NFC North Division Champions.  To add insult to injury, the Packers playoff hopes were officially vanquished when the Minnesota Vikings demolished the Miami Dolphins by a score of 41-17.  

With the results of both of these games, the Packers season is officially over and the inevitable will be delayed no more. We can now look at the 2018 Green Bay Packers in their entirety, as an atrocious 5-8-1 team that is 0-7 on the road and has not won a road game since last season, against the Cleveland Browns, with Brett Hundley as their starting quarterback. (Let that sink in for a moment)

All that is yet to be determined in the final two weeks of the 2018 regular season is where the Packers will be making their first round selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.  If the Packers decide to play out the final string of games and somehow finish the season at 7-8-1, they could end up with the 18th pick (and *32nd pick depending on how the Saints do in the playoffs) in the first round.  Conversely, if the Packers were to rest their banged-up players and take a look at some of their young players of the future, and ended up finishing the season 5-10-1, and got help with multiple favorable outcomes from their competition at the bottom, they could still end up with, as high as the 3rd pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Although drafting as high as 3rd overall seems unlikely, the Packers are in prime position to land themselves with a top 7 pick in this years NFL Draft, which could prove to be a nice start to a much-needed reconstruction of their roster.  Realistically speaking, the Packers could end up with three selections inside of the top forty picks of this year's draft which makes it crucial that they finish this current season with an eye toward the future.  

Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that the Packers blatantly tank, but at the same time, they must make judicious decisions when it comes to playing key players that are nearing free agency or have long-term financial commitments over the next several years.  The reality is that in today’s NFL, players must not be exposed to unnecessary risks and must have their financial futures protected; just ask Earl Thomas, or any of the other players who lost any amount of guaranteed contract dollars due to injuries.  Simply put, the Packers must protect their players from themselves.

What should the Packers roster look like heading into their final two games? (Addressing the elephant in the room)

  1. Aaron Rodgers should not play in the final two games of the regular season under any circumstance, put him on IR, and start Kizer.
  2. Sit Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, Jimmy Graham, and any other player that might be on the free agent market in 2019.  The best thing that the Packers could do for any player facing pending free agency, is to help them maximize their earning power by protecting them from injury.  
  3. Sit any player who has been battling injuries throughout the season.  There is no reason for any player who is battling injuries to prolong their battle any longer.  It is simply time to rest the body and get ready for the crucial first offseason program of a potentially new-look coaching regime.  
  4. Give the young players on offense and defense maximum reps in both practices as well as the games.  By doing this, the Packers will start creating a highly competitive training camp like environment for the young players and start next year's positional battles early.  This early pre training camp competition will ensure that the Packers will be playing the players who are making an impact on the field and are desperate to be a part of the 2019 fifty-three man roster as they battle to leave a lasting impression heading into the offseason programs.

Yes, I can already hear the yelling and screaming from all of you Lombardi Era fans and Packer purists out there (Trust me, I understand your frustration).  How could I ever suggest such a blasphemous act from an organization as storied as the Green Bay Packers?  Well, the answer to that question is painfully simple, because it is the best decision for the Green Bay Packers organization moving forward.  

Football is a brutal sport, and a players career can end at any moment.  In fact, I happened to see Jermichael Finley's career end right in front of my eyes while visiting Lambeau,  so this idea of protecting the players from unnecessary risks in a sport in which contracts are not always guaranteed is an issue that I will always advocate for whenever possible.  By making these unpopular and less than ideal decisions for the final two games of the season, the Packers players can get a head start on getting healthy, refocused, and rejuvenated for the 2019 season, and the organization can look ahead to their coaching search, free agent, and draft preparation with the hopes of constructing a more competitive fifty-three man roster next season.     

   

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (37) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

There's no way that any of this happens. The team is going to continue to try to win. And, unfortunately, I think that's likely the last two games.

stockholder's picture

I agree. No body will tank. Too many jobs on the line. Arron Rodgers will be MVP the last two games. 7-8-1 gets you pick #20.

Kb999's picture

They tanked all season. What makes you think anything is going to change. Play the young guys. Not winning a game on the road is inexcusable. The way Rodgers played, he should be benched.

Skip greenBayless's picture

I hate to even say this but our best chance at getting a higher pick in the draft is to play Aaron Rodgers or Kizer. It also kills me to say this too but for as much as I want our future star qb Tim Boyle to play this week and get some valuable reps, I would rather have Boyle sit because he would only make our pick lower by winning the final two games if he plays. Playing Boyle is a damned if you do and damned if you don't decision. Based on his play this season, I think we can all agree on this at least that Aaron Rodgers needs to be starting the last two weeks as he gives us our best chance at losing.

Lare's picture

No NFL QB could be successful with the current offense- below average scheme, OL, TE and WRs. The Packers will improve that this offseason and after a year of transition to a new offensive scheme will draft the Packers future QB next offseason.

As in everything in life you're either moving forward, backward or standing still. The Packers moved backward this year, they'll be moving forward next year.

mnklitzke's picture

They did it last year after Rodgers couldn't save the season losing to the Panthers. I think they do it again. Get Rodgers Healthy.

packerbackerjim's picture

Rather than “overtly” tank, I would like to see a heavy dose of MVS, ESB, Moore and Kumerow, preferably with Rodgers in the first half, Kizer in the 2nd. Tonyan at TE. Williams first half only. On defense, instruct the DBs to jump routes whenever possible.

Turophile's picture

Yep, as David Michalski said you don't aim to lose, you aim to sit players that need to be sat, emphasise the young guys, and playcall to win. Let the final record be what it is.

Oren Burks, Josh Jackson, Josh Jones, MVS, ESB, Montravius Adams, Tyler Lancaster, James Looney, Kendall Donnerson, Tony Brown, Kizer and/or Boyle.... lets see them on the field for the last two outings (and I don't mean like 5 snaps a game).

Bert's picture

David. I do agree with your suggestions 1 thru 4 but I kinda doubt Philbin & Co. will actually do any of those. Philbin is as good as gone anyhow so I'm guessing he'll stay pretty status quo rather than get into any pissing contests with AR or other veterans such as Cobb, CM3 etc.

Samson's picture

If the Pack did as you suggest, there's a good chance that GB would be fined big bucks & even lose a draft pick (maybe even a #1). --- The NFL looks very unkindly on anything that makes it appear that a team is "mailing it in". --- Besides, Vegas also has a stake.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Do you have an example where the NFL fined a team or took away picks for sitting injured players? Or, are you just making stuff up?

Samson's picture

I'm not into doing research for other posters. -- Try this search: "Does the NFL discipline teams for tanking games". -- If you are unfamiliar or just incapable of navigating the internet using a search engine, ask someone near you. -- I'm sure someone will help.

Turophile's picture

If the Raiders don't get penalised for 'deliberate tanking' after this season, then there is effectively no penalty for doing it.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

+100

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I did. And nothing came up which is why you can't provide any evidence for your nonsense.

Rufus's picture

They would only fine a good team for playing down. Green Bay sucked. No one would fine them.

Bert's picture

Given the overall play this year of both AR and the team, I don't think starting Kizer would be viewed as "tanking". I mean doing what we have been doing has resulted in 5-8-1!!

dobber's picture

"Closing the books on a snake-bit season"

I knew that was a long nap, but I didn't think I slept for two weeks!

Lare's picture

The only players I would consider shutting down are those that have injuries that could be further aggravated or will need offseason surgery. If so, they should be IR'd and have the surgery now. No sense waiting 2-3 weeks playing through meaningless games.

dobber's picture

Snap counts here...

https://www.acmepackingcompany.com/by-the-numbers/2018/12/17/18144618/pa...

Most of the younger kids we're talking about seeing are playing.

Packers0808's picture

Whatever numbers of drafts the Packers have in the first round they had best pick a QB! Unless Boyle shows something they will need one next year new because Kizer is not the answer and from all appearances Rodgers is washed up. His performances this year are not a miss, this is what you are going to get and have from here on with him! I thought he was being putrid on purpose to get rid of McCarthy but nope what you have seen is the future with him. Btw just read McCarthy has the Jets job if he wants with a young QB he can work with who has not yet become big headed and a prima dona

Lare's picture

Thank God we have experts here to chart the correct path for guaranteed success for the Packers in the future.

Since '61's picture

If MM is smart he will stay away from NY. The media here would eat him alive. NY is not a good fit for MM, he is not a media guy. He is better off in Tampa if he is going to coach in 2019.

I actually think that MM should take off a season or two, spend time with his family and work on his health. He has nothing to prove and no need to rush back into coaching. Besides there is a coaching carousel every season. Who knows in a few seasons the fans may be begging for him to come back to Green Bay. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

This is interesting view. And I believe it have a lot of sense.

But, but... I also believe Mike McCarthy is already a new HC of Cleveland Browns, just it is not announced yet...

Rossonero's picture

This has truly been a bizarre season. My top 10 reasons are below.

Can we just have a season where...

1. A game is not decided by a blatantly bad call (i.e. Clay Matthews sacking the QB?)

2. Mason Crosby does not miss 4 FGs and one XP in a dome?

3. Where we don't have a Ty Montgomery - Brandon Bostick moment and someone does something inexplicably stupid at the WORST point in time?

4. Where players like Aaron Jones are used properly.

5. Where players are not complaining to the media (Clinton-Dix, Josh Jones, etc.)?

6. Where we do not trade away former 1st round picks and get nothing in return (Randall for a back-up QB and Clinton-Dix for a 4th round pick that may never pan out).

7. Where our 3rd rd pick can stay on the field? (i.e. Oren Burks)

8. Where draft picks like Cole Madison actually report to the team after the draft?

9. Where there is no bickering between the QB and Head Coach?

10. Where we actually get 10 or more interceptions? The fact that we have 6 -- yes only 6 and Chicago has 26 blows my mind.

Lare's picture

Yeah, in the parity driven NFL it's hard to win consistently when the NFL doesn't want you to.

At any rate, things happened to push this franchise into making changes for the future. While many fans hate change, a couple made field goals and a couple less questionable penalties and this team is still in the playoff hunt and McCarthy is still calling the plays.

Time to quit whining about the past and start looking forward to the future.

Rufus's picture

The main reason is they sucked in all phases of the game. They also need to sit Rodgers. You pay a guy 100Mill and have him miss wide open receivers was pathetic. This game was winnable. The Packers beat themselves again. Give Kizer a shot. Let him prove he can fill in when called upon.

henry113's picture

Rufus, You miss wide open receivers like that, maybe you need glasses.

Denise Chanterelle's picture

It escaped me that we have only 6 INT on the season. Wow. Unacceptable!

Rufus's picture

How many road wins do we have??

Lare's picture

How many injured players do we have?

Rufus's picture

No excuses Lare. Every team has injuries. We just have more knuckleheads on the team & coaching staff.

HankScorpio's picture

They sure had a lot of injured defenders missing yesterday. They played pretty good.

OTOH, the offense was relatively healthy. They stunk on ice.

ILPackerBacker's picture

Most fans not only accept it but they demanded with Dix going to Washington. Be careful what you wish for indeed!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Quantifying point #3 about sitting any players who have been battling injuries, those arguably include:

Defense: Breeland, Clark, Brice, Martinez (ankle).

Offense: AR, Aaron Jones, Taylor, McCray, Bulaga, Bakh, Graham, Cobb and ESB.

We probably don't have the bodies to rest four OL.

PatrickGB's picture

A new HC who is not a MM clone would help. Injuries HAVE been a factor as has age. Inexperienced players don’t do well against experienced ones.
Next year will be better.

cheesycowboy's picture

Get some tape on these guys to aid the new head coach and staff. Something to peruse during the off season. The old way definitely isn't working anymore.
Let's be proactive for a change.
Nice article.

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