Packers' new season starts October 6
Jay Hodgson, Packers contributor
Aaron Rodgers.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Ever since the NFL instituted the use of a bye week starting in 1990, which spreads 16 games over 17 weeks, the idle week has become an integral part of each team’s season.
A serendipitously placed bye can give a team a week to heal some key players from nagging injuries.
A bye can give players and coaches time to reflect on poor performances, which could put a stop to a pesky losing streak. Heart-breaking losses can often lead to subsequent losses if teams cannot move beyond previous frustrations.
If a team is lucky enough to have a late season bye, it can help refresh worn-down bodies from the intense grind of a 20-week NFL season (preseason included).
Or, on the flip side, an unfortunately timed bye could disrupt momentum and cause a hot winning streak come to a screeching halt.
I’ll admit, when I saw that the Packers drew a bye during the fourth week of the season, I thought that was very unfortunate. I thought a bye later in the season would be more beneficial for them as they marched towards the playoffs.
Boy, was I wrong. They need a bye this week and it could not have come at a better time.
The Packers leave Cincinnati as a battered team and it will give the Packers ample time to heal physical injuries and prevent sour emotions from festering.
The week off will give John Kuhn, Morgan Burnett, Casey Hayward, and Clay Matthews plenty of time to heal and strengthen their hamstrings. Their contributions on the field have clearly been missed, and time is the only way to heal a hamstring.
Eddie Lacy and Jermichael Finley will have ample time to rest their concussions and advance through the neurological protocols necessary to return to the field. The Packers high octane offense certainly depends on them being on the field.
We still have no final word on the injuries to James Starks and Johnathan Franklin, but the week off will undoubtedly allow them to mend. The running back position has become precariously thin.
The bye will also let cooler heads prevail and mend the fence between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy.
While we may never know the details of the exchange, Rodgers and McCarthy appeared to have some heated words with each other before B.J. Raji stepped in and prevented it from intensifying.
During bye weeks, many coaches cut their players loose for them to rest, go on vacation, or go back home.
The Packers have been working non-stop since training camp opened on July 26.
Unlike most of us working folks, NFL players don’t really get a weekend. Their day off is usually Tuesday, but it’s not really a day off if you ask the gym rats and film scholars.
This week off allows the Packers players to get away and refresh. It’s time off that’s well deserved.
Everything feels better after a win. Injuries don’t hurt as bad. Missed opportunities don’t sting as much. Questionable play calls get second-guessed less.
However, everything feels worse after a loss. Those injuries do hurt more. Everyone questions the “what ifs” a whole lot more. Game plans certainly get questioned.
So, as the Packers move through their bye week, it gives plenty of time for reflection.
I’m confident that the coaches will identify all aspects that need to be improved. I’m equally confident that the coaches will put their players in the best possible positions to succeed.
Time also heals all wounds. The Packers will have two weeks to process their heart-breaking loss in Cincinnati. They can regroup while being refreshed with a heightened vigor, which will be needed to confront the rising Lions.
I hoped the Packers would have been 3-0 going into their bye, but I expected them to be 2-1. Their current record of 1-2 is surprising, to say the least.
But, this is not the time to panic.
The Packers will get it right. They’ll get back on track very quickly. They have too many great players for them not to do great things on the field this season.
A very serendipitous early season bye can help ensure the Packers come out firing on all cylinders against the team from the Motor City. The bye will prevent a losing streak and will hopefully propel a winning streak.
The new season unofficially starts on October 6. I’m looking forward to it.