Thoughts From the Green Bay Packers at Las Vegas Raiders (10/9/2023)
My thoughts from the Green Bay Packers 17-13 loss in Las Vegas last night.
This game was lost in the trenches. It's a bit cliche but true. The Packers' offensive line only had one player to fear going into the game and did nothing to stop or slow Maxx Crosby, putting Jordan Love in danger of being sacked whenever he dropped back to pass. On the defensive side of the ball, the struggles against the run continue. It wasn't as bad as it was against the Detroit Lions, but the Raiders were able to take time off the clock and do just enough to open up the pass lanes.
On that note, Joe Barry's job is likely in jeopardy. The Packers have invested a lot in this defense and there are times when that shows and other times when it does not. It's not all the defensive coordinator's fault but if the inconsistency continues, someone is going to be asked to fall on the sword. I don't think it'll happen over the bye week, but you never know.
The offense also needs to be scrutinized. Yes, that side of the team is young and inexperienced. And yes, the offensive line is still a work in progress with the season-ending (and career-threatening) injury to left tackle David Bakhtiari and being without top running back Aaron Jones. But it also feels as though Head Coach Matt LaFleur doesn't seem to know how to put Love in the best position to win. This starts with the team's inability to get off to a fast start. They've scored just six points over the course of the last three first halves.
On that note, maybe LaFleur should be on the hot seat too. I'm willing to concede this might just be an overreaction but does anyone really believe LaFleur can take this team to a Super Bowl? It might have seemed that way originally, when he took advantage of a weak NFC North and the team ended up in the NFC title game in his first two seasons. But that was also when he had Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams bailing him out at times and things have gone downhill since. The most concerning thing for me is his offenses never seem to have any sort of identity, something that makes it hard to fix consistent problems because you don't have a clear picture of what you're trying to do. As much as I hate the idea of a coaching change with a developing quarterback, it might not be such a bad idea if things continue to go south.
This game made me wonder what might have been. Love sorely needs a go-to receiver. Someone who can make a defender miss and get open when Love is in trouble. Adams could have been that guy for him had the Packers found a way to make things work with the receiver. On the flip side, it looked as though Adams was sorely underused by the Raiders in that game. Adams staying in Green Bay might have been win-win for both camps, but we'll never know.