Every NFL team who plays overseas has the choice of whether or not they want to take their bye following that long road trip. Back in the offseason, Matt LaFleur and the Green Bay Packers made the decision to play the week after, and now at 4-7 and having lost five of six games, it’s a choice that LaFleur is second-guessing.
“Hindsight’s 20/20 in whether or not we should’ve taken it after the London trip; we chose not to do it. And that’s just where we are at right now.,” said LaFleur on Friday following another loss via Packers.com.
LaFleur had previously stated that the reason he opted not to take the bye at this time was that it was still relatively early in the season. Doing so would have left the Packers with 12 games to play afterward, and they — along with the rest of the NFL — had a week off prior to the regular season beginning, which was just a little over a month prior to their trip to London.
The Packers were 3-1 and winners of three games in a row when they traveled over to London to take on the New York Giants in Week 5. They went into halftime of that game with a two-score lead but fell apart in the second half. The offense became disjointed and pass-heavy, which resulted in them not being able to move the ball with any regularity, while the defense couldn’t muster a stop.
As we look back on what has been for the Green Bay Packers in 2022, that third quarter against the Giants will be the turning point. From there, the Packers lost four more games in a row and five of six overall.
The game against Dallas is the only one this season where Green Bay was able to somewhat string together four quarters of complementary football, and it’s not as if this performance wasn’t without its issues. There have been times when the Packers’ offense is able to put together some positive drives and a quarter or two where the defense is able to keep points off the board, but rarely have those two phenomenons coincided, as inconsistency has been the boogeyman for Green Bay this season.
Along with a steady dose of poor play, the Packers have had to deal with injuries. It wasn’t until Week 10 that Green Bay had its preferred starting offensive line for an entire game, and rarely have they had their receiving corps at full strength. Green Bay would also lose several key defensive starters in recent weeks, including Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes, both of whom are out for the season, along with De’Vondre Campbell, who has missed a few games–not to mention that Aaron Rodgers has been dealing with a thumb injury.
The way the Packers’ schedule fell also didn’t do them any favors either–and this isn’t an excuse but just the reality of the situation. Following their return from London, Green Bay had one home game and then three straight on the road. That’s five stadiums in five weeks that they were playing at. Their bye week also isn’t until Week 14, the latest possible option.
In the grand scheme of an NFL season, is everything that I just mentioned the reason why the Packers are 4-7? Absolutely not. If we’ve learned anything over the last month, this team just isn’t very good.
However, having said that, given how everything has transpired, it’s easy to see why Matt LaFleur is second-guessing that decision. A bye week following a disappointing loss across the pond could have given the Packers the opportunity to hit the reset button. But instead, they had to make adjustments on the fly, and the issues that this team have were compounded, growing from week to week like a snowball rolling down a giant mountain.
“I think anytime things don’t go to the level that you want them to, you got to look at everything critically, and absolutely I’ve wrestled with that. All you can do is move forward and learn from every experience, both good and bad, so it’s a tough lesson, I would say, considering where we’re at. But it was the decision that I made at the time that I thought was best for our team, and it’s hard to say if that was the right decision.”