Well, that happened. After a week off, the Green Bay Packers came back refreshed, healthy, and ready to play. In my dreams. In actuality, an extremely banged-up Packers team stayed hurt, and came out looking exactly like they did before the bye week. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of today’s 19-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Winner: AJ Dillon
It was really hard to pick any winners from this game at all, therefore AJ Dillon is my only winner from today’s loss. Dillon had a quiet, but fairly solid game. For the first time all season, he averaged over 4 yards per carry, which is a win all on its own. He also had his longest play of the season with a 30-yard catch and run on what ended up being a lost drive after Jordan Love’s interception. Dillon did what he could, while the rest of the team did not.
Loser: Joe Barry
Plain and simple: you cannot give up 19 points to the Denver Broncos. You just cannot. Now, injuries have done this team no favors; losing Darnell Savage, Eric Stokes and Devonte Wyatt mid-game hurt badly. Having Jaire Alexander and De’Vondre Campbell out of commission for much of this season has been a huge loss. But again, you cannot give up 19 points to one of the worst teams in the NFL. Russell Wilson has been sacked close to 20 times this season, and the Packers managed to sack him just once today. They chose not to blitz nearly as much as they should have, and as a result, Wilson looked a little like his old self today.
Loser: Carrington Valentine
Today was unfortunately the rookie DB’s “welcome to the NFL” game. Valentine was being picked on constantly today, and gave up some big catches to opposing WR Courtland Sutton. Russell Wilson knew exactly where Valentine was all game, and seemed to target him more often than not. A competent defensive coordinator might make some adjustments after a quarter or two of seeing this. There is, alas, no competent defensive coordinator on the Packers to make that change.
Loser: Matt LaFleur
A lot of the play calls this season give me the impression that LaFleur doesn’t quite trust Jordan Love. That’s obviously a Jordan Love problem as well, but I also wish LaFleur was doing more...weird stuff. This is, after all, a season of evaluation. The playoffs are pretty much a pipe dream at this point. I want to see literally everything from Jordan Love—the good, the bad, what he can and can’t do! LaFleur is just too conservative for my liking this season. This, coupled with the mind-boggling loyalty to Joe Barry at DC, is not a great look for him. Also, if he calls another screen, I will go to the police.
Loser: Jordan Love
Today was bad. Even the touchdown passes were bad throws. Love’s decision-making today was concerning to say the least. His lone interception of the day came at the worst possible time, on a pass that should never have been thrown, and the Packers lost the game as a result. Jordan Love has one of the biggest arms in the league, but that means nothing without the accuracy and vision to back it up. Lately, whenever he throws a ball more than 5-10 yards deep, I find myself holding my breath. I’m not calling for the team to move on, nor do I think they will, but this has got to improve if he wants to be in Green Bay after the 2024 season.
Loser: Wide Receivers
Jordan Love didn’t look great, but these offensive pieces are making it so difficult to truly evaluate him as a QB. The receivers seem to have extreme difficulty getting open downfield, which has led to a lot of Love’s misses on deep balls. None of the receivers have hands that I truly trust. Aside from Aaron Jones, there’s not a single offensive weapon on this team who I would trust to make life easier for any QB, which is why it’s been so hard to really gauge where Jordan Love is at in his development. There’s no real game-changer on offense. Don’t say Romeo Doubs; recency bias is clouding your brain. As is the case with Jordan Love, a lot of this can definitely be chalked up to inexperience. This is the youngest group of receivers the Packers have had in quite some time, possibly ever. All I know is, if the team heads into the 2024 season with this same group of weapons, there needs to be some major growth if we want to see any sort of improvement in offensive play.
Next up, the Packers travel back home to face the 2-4 Minnesota Vikings for the first time this season. With the Vikings playing in tomorrow night’s MNF game, they’ll have one less day of rest, and hopefully, the Packers can take advantage of this as they attempt to right the ship.