The most heartbreaking moment of the Green Bay Packers' disappointing 2022–23 season was left for the end. Green Bay faltered and lost, 20–16, to the Detroit Lions in front of their own fans in Week 18. As a result, the Packers lost their shot in the playoffs. Keep in mind that this squad had a chance to, despite all odds, secure a postseason position. Instead, they suffered a huge setback heading into the offseason. Here we'll discuss the four biggest disappointments for the Packers from the 2022 NFL season.
The Packers' season has ended. It's now the time of year when Green Bay fans focus on Aaron Rodgers' future with the team. Going into Week 18, we expected Rodgers would return to the Packers next year due to his large contract and desire to redeem himself after a disappointing season. However, it's hard not to speculate about the possibility of there being more to his and Randall Cobb's sad demeanor on the field after the loss to the Lions.
Take note that this season was especially frustrating for Packers fans. That's despite some positive moments, such as Christian Watson's strong performance. Watson faced some challenges early on but finished the season with impressive stats and a standout performance in the final game. Apart from him, however, there are many uncertainties about the future of the Packers. Not least of which is whether Aaron Rodgers will still be their QB1.
With all those laid out, let us look at the four biggest disappointments for the Packers from the 2022 NFL season.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 9, 2023
4. Packers Defense
The Packers offense was expected to be somewhat less effective in 2022 due to the departure of star wideout Davante Adams. However, the defense was supposed to be one of the best in the league. Recall that the team used both of its first-round picks on defensive players from national champion Georgia.
Sadly, though, the defense ended up ranking 15th overall. It was known for its soft coverage rather than its toughness. While the team had a strong pass defense and tried to maintain some pressure on opposing offenses, they struggled against the run, ranking 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. In 2021, the Packers had a solid 10th-ranked rush defense. However, in 2022 they struggled and allowed an average of 139.5 rushing yards per game. This made it easier for opposing teams to execute their game plans and sustain long drives. Additionally, it contributed to the defense ranking 20th in DVOA, 17th in total defense, and 18th in scoring.
3. Aaron Jones' Butterfingers
Green Bay RB Aaron Jones is a valuable player for the Packers. In fact, the team generally performs better when he is featured prominently. However, he also has a tendency to fumble the football.
We saw that during this loss against the Lions. He coughed the ball up for the fifth time in the season. That's a career-high. This fumble was particularly damaging as it occurred during a promising drive at the end of the first half. That was when the Packers seemed on the verge of increasing their lead over the Lions or potentially scoring their first touchdown of the game.
This was also reminiscent of a significant fumble Jones had in the 2021 NFC championship game against Tampa Bay. In that game, he fumbled the ball and lost momentum for the team on the first drive of the second half. Despite his talent and game-breaking ability, Jones' fumbling has been a problem for the Packers and has cost them in key moments this season.
2. That Receiving Corps
Aaron Rodgers didn't have a great game in Week 18 or a particularly great season (more on that later). However, it's worth noting that the receiving corps was not at full strength with both Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling already out of Green Bay.
Rookies Romeo Doubs and Watson showed promise. However, veteran Allen Lazard was inconsistent due to injuries and Cobb was not a significant factor. Additionally, tight end Robert Tonyan was not often involved in the passing game. It was also puzzling why running backs Jones and AJ Dillon were not given more opportunities as receivers.
Head coach LaFleur's playcalling also did them no fasvors. He did not effectively distribute the ball to different players. In contrast, that's something that other coaches such as Kyle Shanahan and Andy Reid have done well with changing offenses. Rodgers also made poor decisions and was not accurate at times, forcing throws that were not there.
1. Not the Aaron Rodgers we used to know
Once again, four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers made a panicked, poor pass at a crucial moment in Week 18. This pass was intercepted by the Lions' Kerby Joseph. Joseph, in fact, caught three interceptions against Rodgers in this season alone and could have had even more if he hadn't dropped a pass earlier in the game.
It quickly became clear that the Packers had used up all their luck for the season. Remember that Rodgers threw only nine interceptions in total in his 2020 and 2021 MVP seasons. In 2022, however, he reached a total of 12 interceptions. That's the highest number he has had in a dozen seasons. Rodgers also ended a streak of four consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons and had the lowest yards per attempt (6.8) since 2015. His passer rating of 91.1 was also a career-low. Overall, Rodgers' performance in 2022, at age 39, was not up to his usual standards and was one of his worst seasons ever.
The Packers were relying on Rodgers to improve his game and compensate for some blocking issues and a changed receiving corps. However, he was unable to do so. Despite leading the team from a 4-8 record to the brink of the playoffs, his subpar play ultimately cost the team too much to recover.
Still, Packers fans hope he will stay with the team for another season. In addition, the fans also want the front office to find a new defensive coordinator. Having more weapons for Rodgers could improve the team's chances for success in 2023, but the Packers would also benefit from renewed defensive fervor.