In prior seasons, Mike McCarthy didn’t want to discuss the playoffs until the team notched its tenth win of the season. With ten wins now unattainable the conversation has been more about what fundamental changes will take place in the offseason. It seems to be a virtual certainty amongst fans that Dom Capers will be out of a job come January and that personnel holes on defense will be addressed in next April’s draft.
A Thanksgiving Day beat-down in Detroit has casted doubt that the Packers would be able to compete at a high level even with Aaron Rodgers under center. Can they run the table in December while getting help from other teams? It’s possible but unlikely. In the season’s final month, it will be interesting to see whether or not players throw in the towel with such a minute chance at the postseason.
Three early turnovers kept the Packers in the game up until halftime. Unfortunately, it would have required closer to ten turnovers to keep the game competitive until the final minutes. And without taking away from the defense’s only bright spots, intercepting Matthew Stafford twice and forcing two fumbles are not overly spectacular achievements. At the same time, it’s nice to see some promise out of Nick Perry, who forced the fumble-turned-touchdown but has had trouble staying healthy since being drafted in 2012.
Going up a difficult defensive front, the makeshift Packers O-Line gave Matt Flynn little time to get the ball out of his hands. Eddie Lacy turned in his worst game of the season, thanks mostly to being greeted by defenders at the line of scrimmage on his ten carries. It didn’t help that the line was missing three starters but it’s also discouraging that backups like Derek Sherrod and Marshall Newhouse showed next to nothing when filling in.
In his first game back from injury, Sam Shields looked incredibly incompetent against the league’s best wide out. In reality, Shields played relatively well, nabbing an end zone interception off of Stafford but receiving close to no safety help from M.D. Jennings or Morgan Burnett. While he wouldn’t have played much of a role in stopping Calvin Johnson, Casey Hayward’s presence was surely missed in the slot. It’s clear that Micah Hyde will be moving to safety next season, being a great tackler but suspect in coverage.