Is it Time to Panic in Green Bay?

Panic Green Bay
Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Normally in the NFL, you don’t want to hit the panic button after just a game or two. They say it takes a about 4-5 games to really gauge where a team is at contention wise. We’re at that five-week mark. The Packers have a winning record. Yet this is perhaps the most worried Green Bay fans have been in years. After falling to the Giants overseas in what many predicted to be a clear Packers win, it’s easy to see why. Some old bugaboos are rearing their heads as well as some new troubles. It’s got many fans wondering. Is it time to panic in Green Bay?


The Packers defense has been on the receiving end of a ton of flack. That’s certainly not new from past years. This one however, has a different type of sting to it. They had lofty expectations this year. There is some serious elite talent on this end of the football.

Kenny Clark, DeVondre Campbell, and Jaire Alexander were regarded as some of the best at their positions last year when they were on the field. Rasul Douglas had a breakout year. Eric Stokes showed plenty of promise as a rookie. Rashan Gary put together another season in which he progressed significantly. They drafted linebacker Quay Walker and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt in the first round. Add in solid contributors like Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, and new acquisition Jarran Reed and you have what many believed to be an elite unit. Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry looked like he had revived a unit that has plagued the Packers for years.

And now fans are calling for Joe Barry’s head because the unit looks eerily similar to the units of past fired coordinators Mike Pettine and Dom Capers. While they look impressive in some facets, they are getting buried in others.

They’re second in fewest passing yards by two yards. and fifth in total yards given up. That’s great. They’re 11th in points given up per game and 26th in rushing yards given up per game. That’s not good, especially for a defense with that kind of talent or with those kinds of expectations.

Where they can hang their hat on is their defensive line. They are seventh in pressure rate and have a respectable 11 sacks on the season. They would probably have more if not for the secondary which we will get to momentarily. Rashan Gary is playing elite ball and Kenny Clark is playing pretty well. The rest of the group are doing their part for the most part. The rest of the defense is shaky at best. Campbell and Walker are playing okay at best. Campbell seems to have taken a step back as he’s not as instinctive or quick as we saw in 2021. For every athletic or instinctive play Walker makes, he makes a coverage or gap mistake.

The secondary looks miserable, both in scheme and playmaking. The unit is playing a deep, off-ball Cover 3 as their base defense. They have for years, as their philosophy has been to stifle the deep ball. To their credit, they do that. As a result, they get absolutely dinked and dunked to death with underneath and crosser routes. You almost never see the secondary in position to make a play. They have one interception on the year. One. It feels as though the scheme itself is taking the secondary out of the game. And with the linebackers struggling a bit in drop coverage, the intermediate level of the defense is seemingly always open.


I’m not sure what goes through Matt LaFleur’s head every week, but he is struggling to remember to give the ball to his best weapon in the backfield. Maybe he just likes sending Green Bay fans into a panic himself.

The tweet above kind of wraps up everything there is to say about how Aaron Jones is used. Both he and AJ Dillon were averaging over five yards per carry Sunday, and yet they ran the ball a measly 19 times. They are the best weapons on that offense, and they are being criminally underused. This is a recurring theme in the LaFleur offense as his habit of leaving the run game behind has been a pattern in his Packers tenure.

Through the air, the struggles have been there as expected as there just isn’t a game breaking weapon to throw to that isn’t out of the backfield as there has been in years past. The core is composed of heady veterans who Rodgers has chemistry with in Tonyan, Cobb, and Lazard. There are also the rookies who have produced well in their own right. Yet, the consistency is not what you’d like to see regardless of the expected growing pains. This goes for Rodgers as well.

Something seems off about how Rodgers is seeing the field at times this year. Some are saying it’s a trust issue with some of the receiving core, while others have said he makes his decision pre snap. Some are even proclaiming he’s not running the offense and is just throwing it up playing hero ball but whatever it is, something is wrong.

Above is one of many examples like this from the season where we can see a very obvious blitz coming. He looks right at Lazard pre snap and guns it to him immediately and it’s batted down. Whereas up top there is a well-executed pick play to get Doubs open that goes completely unnoticed which is a staple and often a first read in a LaFleur offense.

Final Verdict

It is probably not time to panic in Green Bay even though there are a lot of bad signs. These are bad red flags we’ve covered but it’s not the end of the world, not yet. LaFleur and Rodgers are making some questionable moves but it’s silly denote their track record of success. Their main issues are small, there just so happens to be enough that it looks like something major. Don’t get it wrong, if they don’t change it will be a major issue, but there’s no reason to fret here until they show you no change later on in the season.

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, now that is a different story, or at least it could be. Unless that defense gets more diverse in and spread out from their base, this might be the defense Packers fans see all season. However, if some of the talent manages to up their game to what they were last year, not all will be lost.

Green Bay should not be pressing the panic button, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on it.

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