Aaron Rodgers goes down and nothing is right in Packerland.
Mike McCarthy forgot how to coach. General Manager Ted Thompson is an idiot. Dom Capers? Is it true his middle name starts with an "F"?
The offense is boring and the defense can't stop a runny nose. The only Green Bay institutions escaping criticism these days are Kroll's and the church booyah feed. The only thing for sure is that the circular firing squad is now in session among Packers after the team lost three straight with Rodgers' snapped a collarbone. Everything sucks, they say. All is lost. Everyone at 1265 Lombardi is stupid.
A Hall of Fame quarterback in-waiting covers up a lot of warts and Rodgers did that and then some during the five games he finished this season. Folks making February hotel reservations in the Twin Cities after the 4-1 start are now cursing the Packers brass after the Monday night loss to the Lions. Rodgers' loss is massive, revealing cracks in what looked to be a Super Bowl foundation.
Rodgers' departure is one of injuries that laid waste to a Packers roster that looked good enough on paper in August to make them many an expert's choice to go to LII. Other teams lost QB's, too, and seem to be maintaining--Minnesota is winning with third-stringer Case Keenum--but when Rodgers left, Green Bay got exposed, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It couldn't get off the field at the end of the Dallas victory and it was on #12 and the offense to save the team's bacon.
That's when times were good.
Head coaches get second-guessed. So do assistants. Players are always fair game, and so are General Managers. Ted Thompson took a free-agent flier unlike any he's ever done before in signing Martellus Bennett and others during the past off-season. The same fans calling for his head in November are the same ones who wanted him out of town back in March for not fluffing the roster with available, veteran talent. We like to call ourselves "knowledgeable" but the fact is we're just as fickle, emotional and hypocritical as those who follow other teams. Sorry. Rip McCarthy for being too cautious with Hundley. Tear Capers apart for a predictable, underachieving "D", but leave Thompson alone when it comes to rolling the dice. If you want to have at him for anything, light him up for not owning the Bennett issue, leaving it to McCarthy to squirm, hedge, parse and finally get snarky with reporters after their 15th question about a player who never fit.
Accountability was a hallmark of the Bob Harlan/Ron Wolf era, when a front office treated the fans it claimed to admire with respect. That's the least they could do after decades of loyalty through lean years and a stock campaign or two that garnered millions in return for "shares" that amount to worthless receipts. GM Wolf answered any and all questions, good times and bad. He was great copy when winning, brutally honest in defeat, as in the "fart in the wind" label he hung on his team after losing Super Bowl XXXII to the Broncos.
Thompson only talks when ordered to and, when he does, he serves up nothing-burgers. By letting silence rule, team president Mike Murphy forces McCarthy and his players to answer for the sins of the front office. The NFL isn't a democracy and fans don't have a speaking part when it comes time to pull the trigger on a free agent or decide what's needed on draft day, but they deserve the dignity of an honest take from the man who's job it is to make those calls.
Those folks in the seats are about to be tested, too: just how loyal will they be as the season plays out? Will Lambeau be packed to the rafters come December if the worst-case scenario happens and the losses mount? Or will Packers fans do what others across the country do when fed an inferior product and vote with their feet, opting to stay home or at the corner tap? Worse yet, what if they decide to put tickets that have been in the family since Uncle Klaus helped beat the Kaiser up for bid on Seat Geek? What would make for worse optics: row upon row of exposed aluminum bench for that last game against Minnesota December 23rd when the visitors might be on the cusp of a playoff berth or a full house that's half Packers, half Vikings? Do we want to live in a world where Lambeau chants of "Skol Vikings" are louder than those of "Go Pack Go"?
Everyone's on the clock here as the second half of the season is nigh. Victories fix everything but continued defeats will test the team to the core, from the fifth string DB to the most powerful of suits. Win or lose, transparency would be a welcome change from a disturbing new Green Bay tradition that has a franchise claiming to embrace its fans allowing it's GM to hold them at arm's length through good times and bad.