The Matt LaFleur Packers had a serious California problem last year, going 0-3 there and 14-1 in every other state combined. The Matt LaFleur Packers had a problem at home on Sunday that conjures memories of last year’s issues when playing in L.A. once and in San Francisco twice.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers cited a lack of energy in a 28-22 upset loss to the Vikings.
Consider what Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith told PFT Live at Super Bowl LIV, barely a week after the Packers lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship: “We didn’t come ready to play. I don’t know if everybody was sleeping, but I can tell you for myself that I wasn’t ready to play either. . . . We weren’t ready to play football.”
After last November’s upset loss to the Chargers in L.A., Rodgers cited a lack of “juice,” suggesting that players perhaps didn’t get enough rest before the game, and that “there was obviously something that threw us off a little bit energetically.”
The Packers get lucky this time, given that the 49ers will be missing plenty of players due to injury and COVID-19. Also, the red alert coming from Sunday’s loss to the Vikings could be the kick in the ass the Packers need.
Regardless, their 2019 struggles in California make tonight’s game even more intriguing, especially since the 49ers know how to run the ball against a Green Bay defense that lacks a certain degree of physicality.
For more on the energy issue in Green Bay, with thoughts from Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy and Patriots Hall of Famer Rodney Harrison on the potential reasons for the issue, check out the attached video from this week’s Football Pod in America, a weekly feature from PFT PM on Peacock.