For Green Bay Packers fans, this coming weekend will be a dull one. Fans won’t be able to watch their favorite team with it being the Green Bay Packers bye week. But with the Packers sitting at 9-3, fans should be delightful where they sit. This week couldn’t come at a better time. The Green Bay Packers bye week will give the team time to work on some things that are overdue.
Things to Get Done Over the Green Bay Packers Bye Week
On paper, with a 9-3 record, you wouldn’t think that they have much to work on. But a deeper dive would tell you that the Green Bay Packers bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Head coach Matt LaFleur and his staff know, if you aren’t trying to improve, you are going to fall behind in the NFL.
When the NFL schedule came out, it seemed that having the bye week late in the season might not be too beneficial. But it actually might work in their favor. The Green Bay Packers bye week to-do list might not be lengthy. However, the items on the list are crucial. Especially if the Packers are going to make a Super Bowl run.
Using the Time to Get Healthy
The most obvious, and important, on the Green Bay Packers bye week to-do list is to get healthy. One week off might not seem like a long time. But with a 17-game schedule, any time that gives the players rest is vital.
Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers was visibly hobbling at the end of the Packers victory over the Los Angeles Rams. Even with taking a numbing shot on his fractured toe before the game, it was obvious he was still dealing with pain. The one week of rest won’t correct the problem. However, it will give Rodgers some time to rest and prepare for the rest of the season.
Rodgers isn’t the only offensive player who will benefit from the Green Bay Packers bye week. Left tackle David Bakhtiari is still recovering from his last season’s season-ending knee injury. The week off doesn’t guarantee he will be back for the Packers game against the Chicago Bears on December 12th. But it does give Bakhtiari and the Packers a better chance.
Defensively, in regards to health, the Green Bay Packers bye week will benefit that side of the ball mightily. Star cornerback Jaire Alexander, who suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the season, is still hoping to make it back this season. Similar to Bakhtiari, the week off won’t guarantee his return. But it does give him another week to rest.
Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith has only played one game this season before a back injury shut him down. The injury was severe enough that it forced Smith to have a procedure on it. Most believed it would end his season, but Smith surprised many by returning to Green Bay and has been seen around practice as a non-participant. The extra week of rest gives Smith the chance of returning sooner rather than later.
There is never a good time to contract COVID. But for starting inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, getting it on the Green Bay Packers bye week might be a lucky one. With no game this week, Campbell might not miss any time. If the Packers lost their standout inside linebacker for even one game, it would be a blow to their defense.
Figuring Out the Special Teams Unit
There is no other way to say it, the Green Bay Packers special teams are downright awful right now. Sure, they have had some positives at times, but those moments have been pretty rare.
Failures on the Green Bay Packer special teams unit aren’t anything new for the Packers. They struggled under former coordinators Ron Zook and Shawn Mennenga and they continue under Maurice Drayton. The fact that Drayton was an assistant to both Zook and Mennenga just shows that he has not brought anything new to the Green Bay Packers special teams.
Kicker Mason Crosby is struggling this season. He did make three field goals against the Rams but also missed another one. Along with Crosby, long snapper Steven Wirtel was supposed to be an upgrade over Hunter Bradley, who he replaced mid-season. But Wirtel has been a dropoff from Bradley, which should tell you how badly he has snapped. Wirtel’s snaps have played a part in Crosby’s struggles.
The Packers once again are in search of a viable returner. Amari Rodgers was supposed to be the answer on returns, but he has been a disappointment. Rodgers’ failures, along with the issues with kicking and snapping, gives Drayton a lot of things to work on. One week might be not enough time. There isn’t much confidence that Drayton is capable of making the proper corrections. He didn’t do it under Zook and Mennenga and he has continued to not do it as the man in charge.
Gameplan for the Packers Rushing Attack
When Aaron Jones went down with a knee injury against the Seattle Seahawks, it was expected to be a pretty severe injury. Luckily for Jones and the Green Bay Packers offense, it didn’t turn out to be. Jones missed just one game, against the Minnesota Vikings, and returned last Sunday in limited duties.
Even with coming back last week, Jones will benefit from the Green Bay Packers bye week. It will give him time to rest that knee. When the Packers return to action, Jones should be a lot better than he was last Sunday.
Having Jones, and AJ Dillon, back in the fold fully will be a huge boost for the Green Bay Packers offense. It will also put pressure on LaFleur and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to figure out a way to get the most out of Jones and Dillon. Both are big pieces of the Packers offense. With the weather turning cold, the run game will be a big part of the Packers offense down the stretch. LaFleur and Hackett will need to figure out a way to get both running backs touches.
Dillon has shown he is both a capable runner and a pass-catcher. But out of the two, Dillon thrives more on running the ball. Jones can do both but is the superior pass-catcher to Dillon. LaFleur and Hackett will need to figure out a way to use both, possibly using Jones in the slot quite a bit. The week of planning could give time for both to implement something that can take advantage of their talented running back duo’s talents.
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