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Cheese Curds, 1/9: Painful season-ending loss prompts questions about Packers’ future

Once again, the direction this team will take this offseason likely depends on Aaron Rodgers.

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Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

It was a pretty succinct, 60-minute encapsulation of the Green Bay Packers’ entire 2022 season on Sunday night as the team lost 20-16 to the Detroit Lions. When the Packers really needed some big plays, they couldn’t get them; when they really needed to avoid mistakes, they made them.

And now, instead of earning a trip to San Francisco in the Wild Card round next weekend, the team is packing up and heading home for the offseason.

The fact that the Packers were even playing meaningful football games in early January was stunning, as their late-season winning streak was fortunate to coincide with just the right help from around the NFC. But the same issues that drove the Packers to a 4-8 start still remained, just seemingly being hidden for a few weeks.

Now, the team must decide what its direction will be for 2023, a decision that will of course hinge on what Aaron Rodgers wants to do. Is this the year when the split finally comes, either with Rodgers retiring or wanting to move on to another franchise? Or will the Packers keep kicking the salary cap can down the road to keep Rodgers’ title window open for one more year?

Defining that direction must be job number one for this team, and unfortunately Rodgers’ decision probably will not come immediately. So buckle up for another two months of Rodgers watch as the Packers try to figure out a plan for the offseason with him still in limbo.

Packers 2022 season ends with perfectly symbolic defeat to Lions | Packers Wire
Sunday night's game had everything -- a disjointed offense, bad turnovers, and a defense that couldn't get a stop when it mattered the most. It really did encapsulate the 2022 season.

‘Is it time?’ Packers QB Aaron Rodgers contemplates his future |
With the season now over, the biggest question this franchise faces is what to do about their quarterback -- and what he wants to do, for that matter. Rodgers was wistful and was careful to take in the full experience at Lambeau Field after the game, but that's no guarantee that he's calling it a career.

Lions spoil Packers’ playoff hopes as defense shines: Was that Aaron Rodgers’ last game? - The Athletic ($)
The mistakes piled up on offense, from drops throughout the game to a key fumble in the first half and a terrible interception in the second to a couple of bad third-down sacks to kill drives.

Packers' Matt LaFleur vows to evaluate season with 'fine-toothed comb' |
The Packers have some soul-searching to do over the next few days as the team conducts its end-of-season interviews. There will be several players moving on to new places, and a handful of assistant coaches could do the same.

Packers' Quay Walker ejected for shoving Lions medical staffer | ESPN
One of the biggest mistakes of the game was Walker losing his composure when D'Andre Swift was down on the ground getting checked out. For the second time this season, Walker got tossed for shoving a non-player on the opposing team, and the Packers need to figure out how to help him get a handle on his retaliatory instincts.