It sure looks like the Packers aren’t reaching the playoffs this season. They still can, but a lot needs to happen at this point to give them a chance that frankly, they don’t deserve right now. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that the Packers don’t look like a playoff team, I would have wondered how Rodgers got hurt. But unlike previous years…Rodgers seems to be a decent reason why. But I’ll get to that.

For most of the last decade it seems like the general consensus on the Pack was that they were a mediocre team, even a bad team, without Rodgers. Rodgers is the savior. The Packers, as long as they had Rodgers under center, were playoff and Super Bowl contenders. It was almost clockwork. The Packers start slow, Rodgers runs the table. Rodgers breaks his collarbone mid-season…it’s okay, he comes back and leads the Pack to a must win clinching of the division over the Bears. Rodgers is a miracle. For my money, he was the best QB in the game. I didn’t think anyone was better. He just struggled to reach the top past 2010 because one player, even arguably the best current player at the most vital position, can’t carry a whole team that far.

That miracle ability to win masked a problematic team and it makes you wonder how good this Packers team could have been if they spent the past 8 years with better coaches. With a better GM, making better picks and free agency pickups. Rodgers and his magnificent displays of football prowess kept a lot of people employed past their due date. In the past couple seasons, the cracks have finally broken through and the damage is being felt.

Mike McCarthy sucks. Well, maybe that’s too harsh. He’s not a good coach though, especially at this point. His gameplans seem terrible and it shows big time whenever the star is out. They never seem to use runningbacks even when the run game is working. He can’t make adjustments. The defense has taken a step forward this year, but mostly because they’ve been held back by Dom Capers for so long. They still aren’t amazing, but they are a little better. The strain on them is getting worse though since the offense is faltering.

Most shockingly of all though, it appears Rodgers ability to pull miracles out of his ass is no longer an asset but a detriment. It’s almost as if all the praise for the past decade has gone to his head. Rodgers doesn’t take the chunk plays, he tries to hit a home run all the time. He doesn’t move the ball methodically. He can still lead this team to success because he’s still amazing, but he’s not taking the easy road at all anymore. Brett Kollmann, A guy I watch on youtube who I thoroughly recommend for you x’s and o’s nerds does a better job explaining all my points here.

Brees and Brady are much better at taking what is being given to them. Brees has gladly taken a step back to let Alvin Kamara take charge in recent seasons and doesn’t try to hit home runs all the time, even though he totally can. Brady has always excelled at ball matriculation and taking the easiest plays to keep things going. His sheer efficiency at it is one of the reasons the Patriots are fucking boring. They operate for efficiency. Each play is purposefully planned set up the next sequence. Rodgers is more fun to watch because half the time it looks like everything broke and he still pulled it off (Russell Wilson is just as fun to watch for the same reasons).

So for the first time in years, even with Rodgers, the Packers look very mortal. If the downslide continues I think Mike McCarthy is probably gone as his failings at coach have been under fire for a few seasons. If the Packers once again pull off a miracle and make the playoffs, I actually think that might be a bad thing. They’ll always be contenders with Rodgers, but another year in the playoffs likely keeps jobs in place, and the problems which have led to this point will continue to not be properly addressed. Rodgers doesn’t have that many seasons left, especially with how often he gets hurt. They need to take some drastic steps to try and capitalize on him before he’s gone.

EDIT: 3 days after posting the Packers have lost, at home, to the Arizona Cardinals, their worst home upset loss in 40 years