Packers Week 18: No one size fits all approach to finale

Green Bay Packers Head coach Matt LaFleur during an NFL football game against the Cleveland...
Green Bay Packers Head coach Matt LaFleur during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Saturday, Dec 25. 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)(Jeffrey Phelps | AP)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:56 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers have been in this spot before.

Back in 2011 they had the top seed, bye week, and home field wrapped up before the regular season finale. Back then Mike McCarthy and company chose to rest many of the stars against Detroit. Only to be ushered out of the playoffs by the Giants in the Divisional Round.

Still, not all situations are the same.

“We played uncharacteristically poor. Things happened that hadn’t happened all season. There was definitely factors, such as the sadness around the facility I think played an impact on it, but I don’t believe it was rust,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

You can either learn from history or repeat it. Current Packers head coach Matt LaFleur chose to learn by studying.

“In terms of how other teams have fared going into the final week of the season that had a bye, and it was overwhelmingly in favor of giving the guys at least some time,” said Matt LaFleur.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain after studying those other teams, it’s that no situation is the same when it comes to rest versus rust.

“Some teams played guys 30-50 percent, some teams did it 50 to 70 percent, and some guys let them go the whole game. There’s different variables for every situation. That’s why I think you’ve got to go with your gut,” said LaFleur.

Obviously injuries are the primary concern, but that can happen anywhere. As wide receiver Davante Adams pointed out, you could get hurt crossing the street. What is key this week is momentum and mentality, and that starts in the meeting rooms and on the practice fields.

“The second you loosen up in this league, that’s when you get embarrassed. We stay in the same mindset, taking it week to week,” said defensive lineman Kenny Clark.

“Just mentally tapping into it it’s a little bit more tough. I like to just plan on being out there, even if pregame we talk about it and come up with a plan. Just to have my mind geared go. I just don’t want to log off at all,” said Davante Adams.

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