Packers.com Staff Writer Mike Spofford says yes.
I’m taking Greg Jennings’ word for it.
In the Metrodome locker room following Sunday’s win, Jennings was asked what it means to be 7-0. Without hesitation, and with an exhale of relief, he said, “It means the bye is here.”
The players want this break and have been looking forward to it. Now, one could argue that because they’ve known all along it’s this week, Jennings’ comment was only natural. Maybe true.
But there are other reasons this bye comes at a good time for the Packers.
Their biggest issues performance-wise are on defense, and they’ve had key defenders regularly missing practice and/or playing hurt for weeks. Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Morgan Burnett, and Ryan Pickett can all heal up. Sam Shields missed last week’s game and is now cleared, so he gets a week of rest following his recovery from a concussion.
Frank Zombo also should be back, and Mike Neal will be a week closer to his long-awaited return. Neal probably won’t come back right away following the bye, but the sooner the Packers can get more players involved in the front-seven rotation the better off the defense and Dom Capers are going to be.
The schedule also is a factor. The next opponent, San Diego, is a team the Packers haven’t faced in four years, so the coaching staff gets a little extra time to game-plan for not only an unfamiliar foe, but a very formidable one.
Also, after the San Diego trip, the Packers will have three games in 11 days – a home Monday nighter vs. Minnesota, a home Sunday contest with Tampa Bay, and the Thanksgiving road trip to Detroit. The rest now should help the Packers prepare to run that gauntlet.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy has referred to the Thanksgiving game in the past as giving the team a second bye week, because the players can take a few days off right after Thanksgiving before preparing for the next game, which is 10 days later.
McCarthy also likes to divide the season up into quarters, and the placement of the bye week now, with Thanksgiving four games away, gives the team a clear focus on the third quarter of their season, with the five-game stretch run beginning in December constituting the fourth quarter.
This bye is in a good spot. The team looked a bit wobbly in the fourth quarter last Sunday trying to finish off a division rival. The defense allowed a field goal and a touchdown before finally getting a stop, and that came after two third-down conversions. The offense punted twice before finally grinding out three first downs on the ground to drain the final 2:30 off the clock.
Like I said, I’ll take Jennings’ word for it.
Packers.com Editor Vic Ketchman says no.
It’s not that it’s a bad time for a bye – is there ever a bad time to take off work? – it’s just that it’s not the best time for a bye.
Come on, folks, help me out on this one. Take a look at the Packers’ schedule and tell me what the perfect week is for this team to have its bye?
If you said it’s Week 11, four days prior to the Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit, and I’m sure you did, then you get an attaboy from me.
I’d like to see the Tampa Bay game moved to this week and the bye moved to the week of the Tampa Bay game, which would give the Packers a nine-day rest coming off the Monday night game against the Vikings and heading to Detroit for what is certain to be one of the feature games of the season.
As it stands, the Packers will play three times in 11 days and the only good thing about that is that, like the guy banging his head against the wall, it feels so good when you stop.
Why rest now? The Packers are on a roll. Hey, let’s roll some more.
I gotta tell you, this is a nasty little stretch of schedule the Packers have coming up. I’ve covered a lot of games in San Diego and I’ve always considered it to be very underrated for tough places to play. The Vikings just gave the Packers everything they could handle, the Bucs are a young team on the rise and, after the game in Detroit, the Packers will head to New York for a game the Giants have no doubt circled on their schedule.
It’s better that the bye be now instead of having been in, say, Week 5, but I hope the boys get plenty of rest this week because the schedule stiffens, their season might go the distance and, should that be the case, they’re gonna need all the rest they can get.
What do you think?