Remember when, in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina fiasco and right around the Republican Party's 2006 electoral implosion, it was discovered that then-President George W. Bush had hired a "Director of Lessons Learned" (the White House circa 2006's words, not mine) to the tune of around $110,000 a year to do nothing more than apparently analyze the "lessons learned" from Brownie's heck of a job?
If you didn't, you do now. And since $110,000 is a drop in the bucket for a National Football League team such as the Green Bay Packers, perhaps it's high time that the Packers hire a "Director of Lessons Learned" to call their own. After all, learning lessons is normally part of the job description of a football team's coach, and Mike McCarthy doesn't seem to be doing much of that at the moment. In lieu of that, I'll present my own study guide of sorts of lessons learned for the rest of the Packers' season in light of their recent embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
1. Aaron Rodgers Can't Let Go
If I started a drinking game on the Packers' next gameday based around the number of times I ended up shouting "Throw the god-damn ball, Aaron" or any variants thereof during the course of the game, then I'd probably be an alcoholic by day's end. Or dead. Or both.
The point being, of course, that Aaron Rodgers seems to have severe issues with throwing away the frigging ball when under pressure by defenders. Look, buddy, it might hurt your own self-confidence a bit, but there's really no shame in throwing the ball away on third and one with a non-existent offensive line and defenders closing in on you.
2. Don't throw the ball on 3rd and 1
What would you rather have: An uneventful run that ends up in fourth and inches, or an Aaron Rodgers sack that ends up in a certain punting situation on fourth and long with an uncertain punter?
If you chose the latter, then I believe Lane Kiffin's got a nice bridge to sell you in Oakland.
3. Offensive Line
It's amazing how two simple words can make the difference between a vaunted offensive attack and a weekly comedy of errors involving Aaron Rodgers running for his dear life sdventy-five times in an hour of regulation play. Seriously, aren't there any random old schmos out there that the Packers could pick up for a season or two to place on their offensive line? Aaron Rodgers is an obviously capable quarterback, and Ryan Grant is an obviously capable running back. It'd just be nice if they had a capable offensive line to show for it.
4. Ted Thompson!
I originally wanted to name this section "Ted Thompson's Veteran Problem," but then decided that "Ted Thompson" simply suffices as a lesson to learn. Subsection time!
4a. Ted Thompson's Draft Problems
Please don't spend first round draft picks on any of Justin Harrell's contemporaries in the future, Ted.
4b. Ted Thompson's Veteran Problems
What, exactly, is Ted Thompson afraid of in regards to to putting veterans on the Packers' squad? It's nice and all that they've put together a halfway decent young team, but having the lowest (or one of the lowest) average ages in the NFL can only get you so far when embarrassing mistakes like nine-tenths of their offensive line happen. Hiring a veteran worked out with Charles Woodson, and it briefly worked a few years back with Rod Gardner. Perhaps the Packers should try it again.
And no, Ahman Green doesn't count.
5. Holy shit, rivalries!
Has anyone else noticed that in recent years, the Packers seem to completely freak out when facing talented rivals? Be it their embarrassing 2007 losses to the Bears that made up two-thirds of the losses in their 13-3 NFC Championship Game-making campaign or last week's loss to the Vikings, the Packers seem to be plagued by a chronic inability to show up most of the time against their evenly-matched or relatively evenly-matched rivals. If they managed to remedy that -- perhaps by acquiring some veterans -- they'd be much better off.
Again, consider this my "study guide" of sorts if the Packers care to have a halfway-decent rest of this season. I guess it's good that, from the looks of the rest of their schedule, they'll probably end up at least 8-8.