Bye week comes at perfect time to help Packers
Ryan Taylor. Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Now, let's be honest. When we all saw the schedule come out and that bye week in Week 4 reared its ugly head, what did you think?
What a waste? Why so early? We really could use that later in the season, you know...
But after Sunday's 34-30 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the bye week couldn't have come at a better time.
The Packers have stumbled out of the gate this season, and suddenly the bye week looks a lot like a reset button to fix things before they get worse.
Along the injury front, this is a two-week window to get some key players healthy.
Both Jermichael Finley and Eddie Lacy should be available after the concussion protocols are followed over Week 4.
Hamstring injuries are always tricky ones to handle: you never want to push a player back too early for fear of re-injuring it worse than before.
Chances are, however, Jarret Bush, Morgan Burnett, and Casey Hayward should be close to being ready to return by Week 5.
As for Clay Matthews hamstring? Well, if he's going to miss four weeks like he did last season, could you imagine a better time for the bye week?
So, on the medical front, the timing is excellent.
But have no doubts that the Packers will benefit on the mental side of things, too.
On offense on Sunday, the Packers looked disjointed. Aaron Rodgers had perhaps one of his worst games as a starter, and the near-blowup on the sideline was thankfully averted by a wise B.J. Raji.
That doesn't mean that Mike and Aaron don't need a little time to get their heads together and work through some game planning.
The Packers also need to fine-tune their running attack. While Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and Johnathan Franklin have all had great single games, they all have different running styles.
This requires the offensive line to be ready to adjust when all three are back and healthy, because this three-headed giant in the backfield could do some real damage when it is hitting on all cylinders.
Defensively, the Packers have done a relatively good job adjusting their secondary to account for the missing pieces lost to injury.
As those players slowly return, Dom Capers needs to put those players in the best positions they can to consistently stop those No. 1 receivers from racking up yards, as well as the fourth quarter letdowns we've seen the past few weeks.
Of course, a decision needs to be made with Jeremy Ross.
After his critical fumble early in the game Sunday, many fans were calling for his name to hit the waiver wire before the end of regulation. Ross redeemed himself later on with a great play fielding a kick, stepping out of bounds, and drawing a penalty.
He also filled in for an injured Franklin in the backfield and caught a critical first down on the final drive.
But is that fumble just too much for Jeremy to overcome?
Don't doubt that Shawn Slocum will be having some open tryouts again over the bye, just to test the waters.
Things work out for a reason, and as the Packers are looking at the Bears and Lions from a position that is very unnatural to them - from beneath them in the standings - the bye has come at a very opportune time.