There’s an air of finality heading into Sunday’s game against the Lions, and not just because, hello, it’s the final game of the season. A number of fixtures on the roster will likely be playing their final game as a Packer. Expect this roster to look very different in 2019, especially if the next head coach changes the schemes on both sides of the ball.
This could be it for the likes of Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, Bryan Bulaga, Nick Perry, Tramon Williams and Jake Ryan, as Brian Gutekunst will have loads of cap room and draft picks to remake the roster the way he sees fit. The players know this and I expect them to play hard, as they did last Sunday at MetLife. That goes for some of the younger guys too, who are getting one more opportunity to show why they should be in the mix next year; guys like Tyler Lancaster, Montravius Adams, Jake Kumerow, Tony Brown, Eddie Pleasant and Lucas Patrkick (questionable).
When the phrase ‘bottom dwellers of the division’ is uttered, what comes to mind is Bears-Lions. Unfortunately, playing the part of the Bears this season is the Pack, who play a second straight meaningless game in week 17. Monday will be a very interesting day at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, as we see which coaches are let go and what some of the exiting players have to say.
We will hear about more head coach candidates being brought in beyond the initial two that have been reported: Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano, Let’s not freak about these two–you have to believe they are both long shots, but they are out of football right now and that represents the only pool the Packers can work with until the NFL season ends, or when a college coach has finished his season.
As for this last game, Davante Adams is within reach of the receptions and yards receiving records, but didn’t practice all week as he nurses a knee injury. If he plays, watching him duel with talented corner Darius Slay will be one of the very few intriguing matchups to pay attention to. EQ will miss the game with a concussion, so MVS and Kumerow will get some run and I expect Rodgers to look early and often for Cobb, looking to make one final statement to illustrate why he’d like to see his good buddy back in 2019.
This is one final opportunity for Mike Pettine to show that he deserves the chance to return to run this unit in 2019. Now, he’ll be down about eight opening day starters and he won’t be facing the guys from the Lions that usually haunt the Pack, i.e. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. But his unit has played well, despite the revolving door roster that has forced him to mix and match every week. I still like the idea of Pettine taking the head coaching job and identifying the right offensive guy to fix Rodgers and the offense–more on that down the road. I know it’s a long shot, so far he’s made it clear he prefers to be a coordinator–but maybe he’s Belichick 2.0, ready to rise up after failing in Cleveland.
Packers 27 Lions 17