Of the many parties taking blame for the Green Bay Packers' struggles since the midway point of 2015, Aaron Rodgers has largely avoided criticism. Certainly, his statistical drop off didn't go unnoticed, but his head coach and play caller Mike McCarthy took the brunt of the denigration.
Obviously, that has begun to change in 2016, with Rodgers performing at an even more alarming level and his turnovers skyrocketing. But how much blame should Rodgers shoulder?
Clearly, Rodgers has not played up to his standards for a considerable amount of time. While some excuses existed for last year's disappointing play -- Jordy Nelson's absence, Eddie Lacy's weight gain, injuries along the offensive line -- they no longer apply to this season. More importantly, McCarthy appears short on time to fix Rodgers and the offense.
Here, Fox Sports commentator Mike Lombardi puts the blame on McCarthy and what, in his view, is an outdated playbook. While that seems damning, consider the source. Lombardi has recently criticized the Miami Dolphins for trying to accrue extra draft picks rather than go after potential stars, a strategy that built teams like the Packers, New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks into regular title contenders and one that Lombardi certainly did not follow during his unsuccessful stint as general manager of the Cleveland Browns. That isn't to say the Packers' playbook doesn't need some form of an update, but Lombardi's criticism rings hollow.
Lost in the shuffle of Green Bay's trade for Knile Davis, Sam Shields landing on injured reserve, and the litany of reports on Lacy's ankle, rookie defensive lineman Brian Price safely passed through waivers and returned to the Packers' practice squad. Given how much the team likes Price's potential and the disappointment surrounding the new Orleans' Saints' claim of quarterback Joe Callahan, that represents some good news.
Though the Packers' motivations for acquiring Davis seem self-evident, Werder also points out that Eddie Lacy could visit with Dr. Bob Anderson, the same medical professional that treated wide receiver Ty Montgomery's ankle last year. Green Bay obviously hopes that Lacy's injury doesn't result in a season-long absence like Montgomery's did.
With Shields on the shelf for at least eight weeks and injuries clouding the availability of Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, the Packers need their other cornerbacks to step up during the short week. That holds especially true for second-year man LaDarius Gunter who, after not allowing a single reception two weeks ago, gave up multiple big plays including a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys this past Sunday.