The Green Bay Packers (5-8-1) watched their 2018 playoff hopes officially expire Sunday afternoon, falling to the Chicago Bears (10-4), 24-17, at Soldier Field.
My initial thoughts on the loss:
I don’t know how Ron Zook has survived this long as special teams coordinator. Outside of a 4th-down stop on a third quarter fake punt that helped set up the tying score for Green Bay, the Packers’ special teams were far from special yet again. Penalties, bad punts, and a dagger punt return midway through the fourth quarter helped doom Green Bay one more time in a season that has too many blunders to comprehend. We don’t yet know who the next head coach of the Packers will be, but I feel pretty confident in saying they won’t be keeping Zook around.
For someone who gets so visibly upset when he doesn’t play, Josh Jones sure has a hard time showing why he deserves to be on the field. He’s late to a lot of plays and has the audacity to celebrate tackles after giving up big gains or first downs. He’s been a decent special teams player, but has failed to blossom into the hybrid safety/linebacker the Packers hoped he would become when they took him in the second round in 2017.
The next coaching staff needs to find a way to get Aaron Rodgers back to the assassin-like levels of accuracy he’s shown throughout his career. Rodgers missed at least three wide open receivers on Sunday. The stats have been decent—he threw just his second interception of the year against Chicago—but anyone who has watched him week in and week out can see that he’s not performing at the level we’ve become accustomed to. Whether that’s something a new coaching staff can remedy remains to be seen.
The Packers will finish with a losing record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1990-91. Say what you will, but by the standard the Packers have created for themselves, that is unacceptable. Mike McCarthy was fired for not meeting that standard, and it wouldn’t really be all that surprising to see a few more changes over the last two weeks of the season.
Top photo: Mike De Sisti/USA Today sports