by Mark Metzler
The “Jeopardy” question is: After a contentious offseason, this three-time MVP had his butt handed to him in the season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
The answer is: Who is Aaron Rodgers?
Well, that was as ugly as I can remember, and if we were to judge by the results of the game alone, Rodgers is ready for a permanent gig as the “Jeopardy” host. The Packers were humiliated on every level as the Saints handed the Packers the most lopsided loss of the Rodgers’ era, 38-3.
You have to wonder how the rancorous offseason affected Rodgers and the rest of the team. Of course, Rodgers claimed it didn’t and that he was focused and ready to pursue the Super Bowl. The team all said they were focused.
And you have to wonder how the lack of pre-season game time experience affected the starters. The only answer we are left with is “not so good.” The team appeared out-of-sync and tired.
Rodgers threw two interceptions. They were both awful. The first, early in the third quarter with the Packers on the Saints nine-yard line, was when the game was 17-3 and a score would have brought the Packers back into the game. Honestly, that was an awful pass, the type you see when someone hasn’t practiced together during a game. The second might have been an even worse throw.
I was excited to see two new rookies start on the offensive line, but the offensive line as a whole really got hammered, while the Saints’ offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage.
New Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry’s defense looked gassed early on playing in the Jacksonville heat, partially because the offense couldn’t stay on the field, and partially because classic underachiever Saints quarterback Jameis Winston performed to the level people were expecting when he was the first pick in the NFL draft in 2016. He threw five touchdown passes, and doesn’t cornerback Kenny King look like he’s stuck in a lower gear?
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton had the Saints ready to play. They executed and didn’t miss a beat without Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.
The only good thing is the other teams in the division – the Vikings, Bears and Lions – all lost. But, for, the most part, those teams looked like they were ready to play. The Packers did not. Perhaps they were all reading about how they were favored to make a Super Bowl run this year, a common thread among NFL watchers. Well, this week, what they read will be different. Head Coach Matt LaFleur will have a lot of explaining to do, even with the friendly Green Bay press corps.
After the game, LaFleur and Rodgers shouldered the blame, with LaFleur saying that he didn’t have the team ready to play. No kidding. And Rodgers said he played poorly, but there were 16 games to go. There are, but if the team plays like this going forward, it will seem like 100.
Next week the Detroit Lions come to Lambeau. The Lions showed a lot of heart in their game, though they came up short. It would be nice to see the Packers show some heart, too, or they will quickly become the answer to this “Jeopardy” question: Which 2021-2022 Super Bowl contender had one of the worst years in franchise history?