The Packers have won three of four home games this season. In three of four home games, however, they came out flat and lifeless.
It happened in the home opener against the Lions, a game during which the Packers fell behind 14-3. It happened 15 days ago against the Vikings, a game the Packers lost. It happened against on Sunday, against a Jaguars team that nearly beat the Packers.
So what’s wrong?
“Well, if I knew, it definitely wouldn’t be a problem, right?” coach Matt LaFleur told reporters after the Week 10 win, 24-20 over Jacksonville. “I’ve got to do some investigating, obviously. And look at myself first. But that wasn’t good enough, there’s no doubt about it. In terms of just the energy, the passion.
“We’re playing football. These guys are playing a kids’ game, and getting paid for it, man. It’s disturbing to me. And it starts with myself and our staff. We’ve got to bring more energy for these guys.”
Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had 149 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, acknowledged by phone to PFT after the victory that it took a while to get things going.
“We came out, we thought it was a little slow on offense,” Valdes-Scantling said. “That’s not who we are. We are usually good right out the gate. We came out, I think we had a three-and-out right on our first possession. So we just came out and started a little slow.”
Valdes-Scantling then was asked whether the lack of fans at home games influences the lack of energy.
“You’ve got to bring your own energy,” Valdes-Scantling said. “I think we did a really good job of that with the guys that we have. The support that we have on our sidelines. Obviously, it’s tough for everybody. We make the best of it. I think that we’ve done a very good job of trying to keep that energy up throughout the 60 minutes.”
They may do a good job of trying, but they’re too often struggling to make it happen.
With the game on the line against the Jaguars, it finally did.
“I felt like that was the first time our team came alive,” LaFleur said of the defensive stand that kept the Jaguars from taking a late lead. “You could feel it on the sidelines [with] everybody rooting for one another. We need that from the opening kick. That’s the standard. We can’t just pick and choose when we want to do that. . . . The game’s on the line, so it’s easy to get up for that. We have got to do a better job from before we start the game to show that kind of energy, show that kind of emotion, show that kind of support for one another that we saw at the end of the game. And if we don’t get that, we’re not going to be at our best.”
LaFleur is right. He, and previously quarterback Aaron Rodgers, generally have identified the problem. Now they need to get to the specific root of it, and change it.
Even if they can’t, the Packers currently hold the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The bad news to that otherwise great news is that the Packers would then have to find a way to muster the proper energy in a pair of postseason games at home.
Before then, the Packers still have four more regular-season home games. The next comes in 13 days, when the Packers host the Bears on Sunday Night Football.