Of all the things said and not said in the aftermath of the shellacking the Packers endured in Week One, the most significant came from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who told Pat McAfee on Tuesday that “our energy level was a little bit low” on Sunday.
While that may explain why they lost by 35 points to the Saints at a neutral site, it doesn’t explain why the energy level was a little bit low.
IT WAS WEEK ONE. How was the energy level anything other than maximum? If a team isn’t fully energized for the first game of the season, something deeper is going on.
Maybe it’s the bizarre and conspicuous tendency of the Packers to crap the bed when they travel to California or Florida (1-5 combined under Matt LaFleur), a tendency that becomes more noteworthy given how well they’ve played everywhere else (27-4 combined under Matt LaFleur). Maybe it’s the lethargy that flows from the extended drama involving Rodgers’s total disengagement from the team from January to July and/or the lingering perception that it’s his last ride. Maybe he’s partially responsible for failing to light a fire under his teammates in certain circumstances; of all the things we know about Tom Brady, we know he wouldn’t let his teammates enter the first game of the season with anything less than a full tank of give-a-damn.
So it’s alarming. It’s very alarming. While it’s fixable, it had better be fixed, quickly. To fix it, the Packers need to understand what caused it. And if they determine that the cause traces to the extra layers of distraction flowing from the tenuous status of Aaron Rodgers, that leads toward some potentially interesting outcomes — if they can’t quickly get everyone refocused for a game on Monday night against the Lions that the Packers should win, but could lose.
Fall to Detroit, and a Sunday night visit to the 49ers makes 0-3 a very likely start to a regular season following a pair of 13-3 finishes.