The Packers Are Broken and It's Time to Make Major Changes

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterNovember 26, 2018

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 24-17. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

The Packers' season is over. It's done. The only thing left is the insertion of the fork.

Minnesota beat Green Bay 24-17 on Sunday night, but it wasn't that close. The Vikings toyed with their NFL rivals to the east all night, the way a cat herds a mouse into a corner before the inevitable end.

The Packers are 4-6-1. They'd need to win all of their remaining five games to even have a chance at the postseason, and so far, they've shown nothing to indicate they can even come close to doing that. NBC estimated the chances of Green Bay making the playoffs stand at 3 percent after the loss. So, you're telling me there's a chance?

Not really.

The offense is stagnant and slow. The Cleveland Browns are more offensively dangerous. Entering the fourth quarter of a game that would become the Packers' eighth straight road loss, one of the best quarterbacks of all time, Aaron Rodgers, was 12-of-21 for 116 yards. He finished with 198 passing yards. Those are Nathan Peterman-type numbers.

An offense that has always been fun and dramatic because of Rodgers has become predictable and almost embarrassing. Mike McCarthy is either too stubborn or too clueless to decode this mess.

During NBC's pregame show, Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy and former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison absolutely shredded the Packers.

Davante Adams was one of the few bright spots for the Packers offense Sunday in Minnesota and one of Aaron Rodgers' few reliable targets in the passing game.
Davante Adams was one of the few bright spots for the Packers offense Sunday in Minnesota and one of Aaron Rodgers' few reliable targets in the passing game.Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press/Associated Press

"I just see, offensively, a lack of creativity," Harrison said. "As a defensive player, nobody is afraid. I wouldn't be afraid of this offense. They don't make you think, they don't make you adjust, and the only thing really exotic about their offense is Aaron Rodgers running around, scrambling and making incredible throws down the field."

Added Dungy: "I'm going to go one step above that to the front office. They have not replaced their passing game—their receivers—with star players. They have Rodgers; he's one of the three best players in the league. When we had Peyton Manning, we stocked it up, always. Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Brandon Stokley—make sure you get him stars. They only have one big-time player and that's Davante Adams."

All of this leads to one inescapable conclusion: The Packers are broken.

This franchise needs wholesale changes. It needs a new head coach, new players, a new everything.

Everything should be on the table except a handful of players, including Rodgers and Adams, obviously, maybe Aaron Jones and a few offensive linemen, too, as well as some of the young defensive talent.

But everything else? Put it on the curb for recycling day.

Mike McCarthy's hold on the Packers' head coaching job may be getting looser after presiding over a team that has lost four of its last five games.
Mike McCarthy's hold on the Packers' head coaching job may be getting looser after presiding over a team that has lost four of its last five games.Jim Mone/Associated Press/Associated Press

Actually, check that. Just put it out for trash day. Recyclables have value.

Rodgers shouldn't be immune from scrutiny either. He's not the reason they're losing, but there's no question that as much as the team looks off-kilter so, too, does Rodgers. He's missed throws he always makes and, at times, looks simply discombobulated.

Whether it's his injured leg or some type of issue with McCarthy or just apathy with how this season is going, Rodgers sometimes looks as wrecked as his team. No matter what it is, the fact remains the Packers entered Sunday with a losing record through 10 games for only the second time during Rodgers' tenure as the the starting quarterback, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The first time was two years ago, and the Packers won their final six.

That won't happen this time.

Whoever coaches the team next has to figure out how to get Rodgers back to being Rodgers. The Packers have invested $134 million in him. He's the warp core of this franchise.

Once the Packers release McCarthy (and that's not a lock before next season), they have to find a coach and offensive coordinator who can do for Rodgers what talents like Andy Reid and Sean McVay do for their quarterbacks.

Then the franchise must dramatically upgrade its offensive talent. Patrick Mahomes has a billion weapons. Tom Brady has a billion weapons. Jared Goff has a billion weapons. Rodgers essentially has one.

On Sunday night, the Packers tied for a season low in points with 17 and third-down conversions (two) and set season lows in total yards (254) and net passing yards (172).

That's what you would expect from the Bills. Not the Packers.

But when you're broken, there can be a lot of unexpected damage.

It's time to throw out most of the shattered pieces and start over.

    

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreemanNFL. 

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