A Dark Cloud Has Settled Over Green Bay

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Everson Griffen

In the past 10 years, Green Bay hasn’t had much to worry about in making the playoffs – they’ve won the division five out of seven times from 2010 through 2016. That’s ancient history now.

It’s a dark purple cloud that hangs over Green Bay and its near future. The Minnesota Vikings have gone in the space of a year from a coming-of-age team to a dominant force in the NFL. I don’t expect the Packers to be favored to win the division for at least the next three years. Several of those recent Packers teams that won the NFC North, despite being little better than average, would not make the playoffs at all in the coming years.

Never mind, for now, the Vikings’ offense. Their defense is among the league’s best. Statistically, it is the league’s best. Their players are still young and getting better, and it has no obvious weaknesses.

The Packers’ present roster isn’t equipped to score points against the Vikings’ defense. Back on October 15, without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers could manage only 227 yards and 10 points. Then on December 23, at home and again without Rodgers, the Packers totaled 236 yards and no points.

In week 2 of 2016, with a healthy Rodgers, the Packers still only gained 263 yards and scored only 14 points. Three months later, Green Bay broke through for 348 yards and 38 points – though the Vikings outgained the Packers by 98 yards. It took one of Rodgers’ finest games – and a 136.6 passer rating – to get this one win out of the last four contests versus Minnesota.

Vikings’ defenders who have been named to the Pro Bowl in the past few years are: LB Anthony Barr (2015-17); DE Everson Griffen (2015-17); DT Linval Joseph (2016); S Harrison Smith (2015-16); and CB Xavier Rhodes (2016-17). Their respective ages are 25, 30, 29, 28, and 27, so they’re not going anywhere for a while.

In 2017, the Packers had no receiver, including tight ends, who displayed game-breaking ability or were close to all-star status. Their running game consisted essentially of two rookies drafted in the mid-rounds – they aren’t about to strike fear in Vikings’ defenders.

You might have watched the Vikings miraculous win over the Saints on Sunday, which advances them to the NFC Championship game. Drew Brees and his offense, second-ranked in the NFL, managed to score 24 points after going scoreless in the first half. Even so, they were aided by a Case Keenum interception and a blocked Vikings’ punt. It took pinpoint passing by Brees to almost win the game, as the Vikings’ coverage was tight throughout the game.

Green Bay, and in particular new GM Brian Gutekunst, faces a daunting task in late April. They don’t just need to draft well and wisely, they need to select some players who can play and make a difference right away. To have much of a chance of scoring against Minnesota, Aaron Rodgers needs both a new wide receiver and a tight end who are ready to play from week 1.

The only other option is to pick up one or two very good free agent receivers. I expect them to try to do this – and to release either Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb to make money available under the salary cap for such signings.

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

25 Comments on "A Dark Cloud Has Settled Over Green Bay"

  1. Kato

    It appears that way, but things change very quickly in the NFL. Keep in mind all of their QBs are free agents, and the younger Vikings are set for second contract, and will not be able to resign everyone. The saints suddenly had a good team this year, in large part due to a strong rookie class

    • KILLER

      Well, only one QB starts at a time though the 2nd strong QB some would argue is the second most important player on the team. Keenum, at least with Shurmer, is a top tier QB. So is Bradford if his knee can be trusted. I’ll tell you now and you’ll believe me later, we will resign one of them. Keenum for the money he deserves but no Bradford and our salary stays even. Keenum leaves and we resign Bradford he will, if anything, be cheaper now due to the knee question.

      Losing Shurmer — which is going to happen — is the truly telling factor. His coaching really makes a difference. He is going to be a great coach and I am so relieved the Bears will not have him. As should you guys be. That way the Packers will be a 3rd place team instead of 4th place the next few years.

      The players coming up in the next 2-3 years for contracts for the Vikings are Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter, Trae Waynes, Anthony Barr, and Eric Kendricks. We have Griffen, Joseph, Rhodes, Thielen, Rudolph. Reiff, Remmers, Murray, and Harrison Smith locked up for a few years. We have a few players about to retire/move on and 60 million in current cap space — which is one of the best cap situations in the NFL. Also, the cap goes up by about 10 million per year. We have no one making crazy money for deficient play — like your Nelson or Cobb of Matthews.

      We may lose a player or two but we will also have draft picks and we’ve done very well in the draft.

      Things do change quickly Kato, and injuries can throw a monkey wrench into anything, but the Vikings are in about the best possible shape. I would not trade their players and cap for any other teams players and cap. Patriots with 40-year-old Brady and little cap? Give me a break. Saints? Same thing basically. Worse cap slightly younger QB. Eagles have a great young All-Star QB and great team as well. Maybe them. Jaguars? Two words if names are words = Blake Bortles.

      But besides the team on the field and the cap, I would not trade the Vikings coaches, GM, and front office for any other one. Rick Spielman was named NFL Executive of the Year before this weekend.

      And that beautiful stadium already full of wonderful classic memories!

      Just saying.

      • Philo Beddo

        See how consistent your team can be. So far you’ve made the playoffs exactly one year in a row, in a year when Wentz and Rodgers are hurt. Go ahead – sign Keenum long-term. I literally dare the Vikings to do this.

        • KILLER

          We’ve won the division 2 of the last 3 years including a year Rodgers was uninjured. We are 32-16 the past 3 years in total. We lost our #1 back all 3 years. We lost our #1 QB 2 of those 3 years. Last year we went through 5 LTs and lost all but 1 of our starting offensive linemen.

          Wentz being hurt did not help us make the playoffs. ? Weird thinking there.

          Yes, I also dare the Vikings to sign Keenum long term. Great move!

      • Case Keenum is my bitch

        The Vikings are in a great position but you don’t a QB. If you get one, then watch out. Till then I’ll take Rodgers and all the warts the Packers have over the Vikings 10 outta 10 times.

  2. Cheese

    “Several of those recent Packers teams that won the NFC North, despite being little better than average, would not make the playoffs at all in the coming years.”

    Don’t you question the coveted eight consecutive playoff appearances strung together by the highly successful Mike McCarthy! They were in the mix to win the Super Bowl each of those years. The 8-7-1 Packers and their swiss cheese defense had just as good of a chance as anybody to go all the way! Because with Aaron Rodgers we can do anything!

    • Kato

      I love how every one of those years writers would find some way to compare those teams to the 2010 team. So annoying.

      • Cheese

        This team has 24 players on IR. That means they’re gonna win the Super Bowl!
        They made the playoffs without winning the division. That means they’re gonna win the Super Bowl!
        Vegas says the Packers have good odds for the Super Bowl. That means they’re gonna win the Super Bowl!
        Aaron Rodgers wore a cowboy hat to a fan luncheon. That means they’re gonna win the Super Bowl!
        Who needs to acquire quality players when you can base your postseason success on superstitions?!

  3. PF4L

    The cloud started settling over Green Bay in 2011, and it wasn’t purple, it was green and gold. The purple queenies had nothing to do with it, nor did that roided out cheating freak in the photo above.

    100% juiced.

    • Not juiced, just better than any defender on your lousy team. When we win the Super Bowl, I’ll be sure to return to this trash website to mock you all while you are down and have to look up to the champion Bikings.

      • Philo Beddo

        Why are you on the site in the first place, troll? Go practice your one-year old cheer you swiped from a soccer team and prepare for the critical Keenum error you all know is coming.

        • KILLER

          He’s here because, like me, he knows it is a valuable public service to shine glimmers of truth into the delicate self-deceptions of Packer fans and knows only insecure Packer fans would ever attack him for that. Engaging Packer fans in banter and debate reduces their odds of becoming serial killers by something like 24%.

          Speaking of truth, Griffen is not juiced. You guys think anyone with muscles is on PEDs because your only player with muscles, Clay-mation Matthews, IS on PEDs.

          I’ll tell you a little draft day story about Griffen. I thought the Packers were going to take him in Round One. I worried about that. I had visions of him at OLB just destroying OTs. An ideal sized DE with superior LB speed and safety level agility and power offensive guard strength. I was like, “Those fucking Packers are going to get a yearly pro bowler late in round one. Not just a pro bowler, an All-Pro, a legit defender of the year some years.” I literally sighed in relief when the Packers did not take him Round One (took Bulaga). Same thing round Two but with great disbelief (took… Mike Neal? Are you sh*tting me? And, by the way, that guy was PEDs walking around in human skin). I was downright incredulous in Round 3 (took Burnett). Then the Vikings STOLE him in Round 4 29 picks AFTER the Packers Burnett pick and I could not believe our luck.

          Now… I am conveniently leaving out the Vikings goof-balled and took Chris Cook top of round 2 and Toby Gerhart middle of round 2 — not such a bad pick but no way should we have taken him before Griffen — so the Vikings were not so stellar either… until round 4!

          61 regular season sacks in 8 years. But the first 4 years he was a back-up — and a gunner on the punt coverage team! (It should be noted he was a back up only due to the excellent pair of DEs starting — Brian Robison and Jared Allen) In 4 seasons as a starter he has 43.5 sacks, almost 11 per year. Against the Saints he got another sack, a forced fumble, and tipped a pass the wonderful hard-hitting smart-playing great sportsman, leader, and ideal teammate Anthony Barr intercepted in the red zone.

          If you saw Everson in interviews, smiling, relaxed, enthusiastic, kind-hearted, etc. you would realize he is not a product of PEDs. Ran a 4.59 at his pro day at 273 lb.s and benched 225 lb. 32 times! His size, strength, speed, and agility are once in a blue moon rare. He did the 3-cone drill about as fast as Vikings 4.31 CB Trae Waynes did years later! But he is more than the physical, he a great leader and all about football 24/7 and hard work constantly to get better.

          Don’t be slamming Everson just because you are all J and all. You had your chance — 3 times — to draft him.

          • Savage57

            Speaking of draft gacks, brain trust, the Vikings win going away having passed on Rodgers twice in the 2005 draft, opting instead for locks like Troy Williamson and Erasmus James.

            Vikings = paper champions. Every year.

      • Case Keenum is my bitch

        Who cares if (and that’s a big IF) you win the Superbowl. We’ll still have 3 more than you and a better stadium. You have the Hormel Chili dome 2.0. Why do you keep building domes? Do your dicks fall off in the cold?

        Oh, and I almost forget, we’re getting Rodgers back. You got bunch of backup QBs with a great defense. Great defenses last a few years. Look at Seattle and Denver.

        So congrats! You’re going to the NFC Championship game because a defender had one of the worst missed tackles in recent memory. Enjoy it while you can because next year it’s back to 2nd place. Enjoy the an ass whooping by the Patriots, if you make it that far. Belichick eats backup QBs for breakfast.

        SKOOOOOOOOOOOLL!!

      • Savage57

        Fair deal, conditioned on the assurance you return after the Vikings choke so we can verbally kick the living shit out of you and Kriller.

  4. MJ

    Well, credit where credit is due. They have been doing things well these years, personnel wise. They drafted playmakers, while we got plenty of JAGs. Yes, there are some occasional bright spots (Martinez, Aaron Jones come to mind), but that is not enough to build a championship team. We need a better “playmaker density”, so to speak. Some people can name our better players (oh, we have Bahktiari, Bulaga, Nelson, Cob , Matthews…), but they are mistaking average or competent guys with all pros. That doesn’t lead to championships, but to swift playoffs eliminations.

  5. Pack Attack

    I predict the queen offense comes back dwn to earth next year. The d will be tough but i recall people thinking the seahawks would be awesome forever too

  6. TyKo Steamboat

    This team can’t afford all that talent. The salary cap is gonna hit them one way or the other.

    A real reason why the Pack can’t get free agents because we gotta pay the commercial pretty boys

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