What to expect from Aaron Rodgers:
Vasquez: After watching Aaron Rodgers win back-to-back MVPs, the struggles of the Packers came as a surprise to many. What has been the biggest challenge for the team so far?
"Bretl: I really feel like I could list off a dozen different things. A lot has gone wrong this season, and at times the most prevalent issues one week give way to new issues the next. But to boil it down to two things, I would say that the defense has greatly underperformed, and the offense dealt with injuries to the offensive line along with not having a downfield threat in the passing game until recent weeks. To elaborate a bit more, the defense was expected to be one of the top units in football, but that’s been far from the case. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player on that side of the ball who is playing above expectations. Green Bay continues to struggle against the run, with poor run fits, issues shedding blocks, and edge rushers losing contain. The secondary, meanwhile, has given up a number of big plays, whether that be due to miscommunications and blown coverages or a very passive approach by defensive coordinator Joe Barry that creates a lot of easy catches and YAC opportunities. From Barry to the position coaches to the players, there has been a massive disconnect with many reoccurring problems. An effective ground game is a must for this Packers offense, but injuries and movement along the offensive line created a lot of inconsistency in that regard early on. It wasn’t until Week 10 that Green Bay had its preferred starting five on the offensive line for an entire game. There was also a lack of cohesiveness in the passing game as well, with Matt LaFleur’s game plan often having to be tailored to helping the offensive line in pass protection. The lack of a deep threat led to a lot of cover-1 and press coverages from opponents, which then made running the ball and the quick passing game more challenging with additional defenders near the line of scrimmage. But as of late, Green Bay has been much improved on the offensive side of the ball, in large part because these issues have been fixed."