The 2021 Green Bay Packers Season and Abrupt Playoff Exit

Aaron Rodgers is learning what George McCaskey knows all too well … Owning the Chicago Bears doesn’t get you much in the playoffs.

We’re now two days after the brutal home loss at Lambeau Field to the Santa Clara 49ers by the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs.

Clearly, there’s a lot to talk about with the Packers this offseason. The number one narrative heading into the offseason is clearly going to be about Aaron Rodgers and his future with or somewhere without the team.

The game itself, Aaron did not play well. We all saw it, we all watched it, no question about it.

Special Teams was an absolute disaster, something I guess we tried to think you know maybe they can skirt by and we’ve seen them do it before. But everything came to the surface, blocked kick, blocked punt that led basically to the deciding score. A brutal, brutal, game for the Green Bay Packers.

Amari Rodgers played alright in the return game. Special Teams had multiple meltdowns in that game Saturday night, and the one guy we were all worried about all season long, actually showed up and played well. Who would have thunk it, right?

Now you talk about the good things that happened in that game, the defense. What an outstanding performance by the Packers defense, Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark in particular were absolutely outstanding. That unit played their tails off.

Rashan Gary has continued getting better and better and he was an absolute animal on Saturday night and was probably the best game of his career. I heard he was a bust, though.

Of course, just like every game, there was a play here or there where the unit would have liked back, but it was really a magnificent performance by the defense.

It was great to see Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith back on the field and with Smith getting one final sack in Lambeau in probably his last game as a Green Bay Packer.

Za’Darius Smith posted on his Instagram over the weekend saying “Thank You Green Bay” clearly indicating that he is likely on his way out.

That’s another major thing going on this offseason, obviously, is the reconfiguration of the roster because there are hard choices to be made. The Packers are sitting near $50,000,000 over the salary cap, obviously Aaron Rodgers is a major component there. They have to figure out whatever they’re going to do with Rodgers and of course Devante Adams before dealing with anything else in regards to putting together the puzzle that will be the 2022 Packers roster.

This 2021 season was fun, great, won a lot of games. But to get to the playoffs and exit in such embarrassing fashion, and have your quarterback who held the franchise hostage all last offseason, had to have Randall Cobb back and then apparently not even look his way one time during the game to end your season, to play so poorly from the pocket, to revert to bad habits when you needed him to play like the MVP he likely will be this season.

Too many times knocking on the door, too many times putting yourself in position to go make a run for a championship and then to come up short. What is the point of bringing back a quarterback who continually shrinks in the biggest moments, whether it’s last year against Tampa Bay, this year against the 49ers.

All week, all year really, we heard Aaron Rodgers talk about “the colder the better” get them in Lambeau, got to get home field advantage. What good is that if your aging quarterback looks like he wants to be anywhere else when the snow is coming down in the fourth quarter, the game is on the line.

We all know. We all saw. That third-and-11 throw to a double covered Devante Adams, that’s as bad as it gets. That’s as hero ball as it is. And I’m sure many of you have seen the clip by now with Allen Lazard breaking WIDE OPEN over the middle. Clearly, it was a predetermined throw. It was one of the most Brett Favre like throws I’ve ever seen him make.

Aaron Rodgers failed to execute the entire game. He hits Lazard on that crosser, put Mason Crosby in position to win, you’re likely in the NFC Championship game on Sunday.

Rodgers pretty much strictly only went to Aaron Jones and Devante Adams. It’s just so weird. Randall Cobb, who Rodgers HAD to have for this super bowl run, got one target, ONE target, he never even looked at him, never even drew up a play for him, one target. It just blows my mind he wasn’t looking for other receivers in that game when he had them open.

It may be time to reset. Whatever Aaron Rodgers was going to do in a Green Bay Packers uniform, I think he’s done it.

Matt LaFleur deserves to shoulder some of the blame for this as well. It was clear that whatever the plan was, the multiple variations of having Rodgers in the shotgun, having some condensed formations, and running whatever combination of routes, the plan was not working. And it didn’t seem like LaFleur had any answers as far as being able to change course and kick start the offense.

Having said that, now here’s the other level. Is LaFleur allowed to? How much of this is baked in with Rodgers and all the drama with No. 12 where the offense is completely centered with the quarterback? Is he allowed to do that? I don’t know. But LaFleur does deserve to shoulder some of the blame, whether it was the screen game that never got on track, the running game never really got on track, granted he was a little hampered because AJ Dillion went down with the injury on the kick return. I really think Dillion getting hurt really hurt the team because I think he would have really helped because he was in a little bit of a groove the few times he did have the ball.

The people that are defending Rodgers’ performance were the same people blasting Jordan Love’s play in Kansas City.

I mean, trust me, they’re probably going to get ample opportunities to blast Jordan Love’s play, so it’s fine. I understand people defending Aaron Rodgers, he’s done so much for the organization, they wouldn’t be where they are without him, they wouldn’t be in that game Saturday night without him, no question about it. But he did play a very poor game, you can’t sugarcoat that.

Aaron Rodgers played like the version of himself that led to the drafting of Jordan Love.

Whatever transpires this offseason, I think Brian Gutekunst is good at his job and will have them in position to, if not contend right away, at least have things pointed in the right direction. And of course, it’s about winning championships, no one is disputing that, of course it is. But you’ve got to build a championship team, it doesn’t happen overnight, and a big component of that obviously is the quarterback. If they’re going to figure out if Jordan Love is the next starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, he needs to be on the football field to do so, and they’ve got to give him a year as a starter to figure that out.

Packers fans, we just need to embrace the mystery that this offseason will be. It is going to look very different.

On the bright side, the NFC North is not a very good division, so the Packers will still have a chance regardless of who’s at quarterback.

As I mentioned earlier, it was an absolutely brutal end to the Packers season, no question about it. I’m excited about the future to see where they head going forward. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers and Devante Adams are the number one priorities, and until that is resolved, it’s hard to see the Packers doing much of anything in regards to serious roster construction until they know how those pieces play out.

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