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This Is More Than Just the Season

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Who among you thought that the Week 12 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that just traded away Sam Badford to the Vikings, and has a rookie starter, would be the game that defined the season?  One scenario, this could save the season, give the Pack their mojo back and propel them to either a wild card spot or division title.  The second option is that this just puts us to 5-6, a game against the offensively challenged Houston makes us 6-6, then the Packers lose two of four to Seattle and the three divisional opponents.  The final option is this puts us at 4-7, and essentially out of the picture for the postseason for the first time since 2008.  

In the grand scheme of things, 75% of the league has made the playoffs in that time.  Only two NFC teams have not made the postseason in that time, the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Tennessee, Jacksonville, Miami, Cleveland, Oakland (who will for sure make the playoffs this season) and Cleveland have not from the AFC.  That is exactly eight teams, or one quarter of the league.  This season is not a big deal, in other words.  Arizona missed a couple years, Carolina did, Dallas is in and out every year, so are the Giants, the Vikings, the Saints, the Falcons.  One year is not a big deal.  However, the way that this is happening, and just how awful the Packers look is the thing that is concerning everybody.  

This team is just missing depth at key positions all over the defensive side of the ball, and that is mostly on Ted Thompson.  Who keeps more undrafted players in the secondary (4) than you have inside linebackers in total (3), when two start?  Who keeps seven receivers and five defensive linemen?  Who keeps two running backs, who both have injury history, and a third quarterback?  On the current roster, this is the list of un-drafted players, originally to play for the Packers:
-WR Geronimo Allison (Rookie)
-OL Don Barclay
-S Kentrell Brice (Rookie)
-OLB Jayrone Elliott
-S Marwin Evans (Rookie)
-CB LaDarius Gunter
-CB Josh Hawkins (Rookie)
-FB Joe Kerridge (Rookie)
-DL Mike Pennel
-G Lane Taylor
-ILB Joe Thomas
-RB John Crockett* IR
-CB Makinton Dorleant* IR
-RB Don Jackson* IR
-CB Sam Shields* IR
How many of these players have made a real, meaningful, positive impact on the Packers?  Shields for sure, Lane Taylor has been okay this season, Elliott has made an impact in special teams, and Joe Thomas is a nice dime LB.  C'mon, 11 players on the ACTIVE ROSTER are undrafted players who started with the Packers.  That doesn't say Ted Thompson is good at finding hidden talent, that is desperation.  Here's the first round picks on the roster (granted, there is less opportunity to have them).
-T Bryan Bulaga
-DL Kenny Clark (Rookie)
-S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix 
-OLB Datone Jones
-OLB Clay Matthews
-OLB Nick Perry
-CB Damarious Randall
-QB Aaron Rodgers
Okay, Thompson has had 13 first rounders, and 8 remain.  However, he has just as many undrafted free agents that aren't rookies on the roster too.  

My point is, the roster construction, and the stubborn nature of Thompson is costing this team wins.  How many undrafted rookies could have been a free agent of impact?  One, two, three?  How many NFL teams have a ratio of 8-5, former first rounders to undrafted rookies?  Probably none.  That can't happen to be successful.  This game might be the most important for the future of the Green Bay Packers, and should they lose, all fans will be thinking about is how can we make Aaron Rodgers' last few years like his tenure between 2010 and 2012.  Win or lose, we need to start thinking that way, but if we lose, it may be a blessing in disguise, that change is needed to sustain the success of the greatest franchise in the NFL.