The Green Bay Packers offense has struggled this season and regrettably, their play has tailed off since a strong Week 1 performance in Chicago. The inconsistency on offense wasn’t completely unexpected but the overall trend has been downward rather than upward this season. Here are the top five reasons for the Packers struggles on offense through the first five games of the season:
Fifth Reason for the Packers Struggles on Offense: Questionable Play Calling
Matt LaFleur’s play calling has not always worked well this season. The coach has often ignored the running game for long stretches of time. At other times, the Packers have tried to throw long and create splash plays when those plays were not working.
The offense lacks an identity, and a rhythm. When they do seem to be moving the ball, LaFleur has called gadget plays that have mostly backfired whether it be a flea flicker or an end around.
At other times, the Packers offense has thrown too many short passes without taking shots downfield such as they did against the Raiders.
The Packers need to call plays that scheme their players open, that maximize the strengths of their players and that increase the confidence of their inexperienced quarterback and receivers. Thus far they have not done that consistently.
Fourth Reason: Poor Offensive Line Play
The Green Bay offensive line has not played up to expectations this year. This is partially due to injuries, but the run blocking has been particularly poor. David Bakhtiari graded out as the Packers best run blocker entering the season, but he only played one game.
The result has been fewer holes for running backs to run through. With Aaron Jones injured, A.J. Dillon has taken over as the primary running back. Dillon is not the type of runner who creates his own holes and there just haven’t been many holes for him to run through. Poor run blocking has hurt the offense which often now comes up with second or third-and-long situations.
Third Reason for the Packers Struggles on Offense: Injuries
The Packers offense has been hit hard by injuries. There have been a lot of injuries, but they have also been to key personnel.
The Packers don’t have a running back who can be a difference maker without Jones in the lineup. No wide receiver can stretch the field as well as Christian Watson who missed three full games and was limited in the other two.
The Packers also had their two top offensive linemen in Bakhtiari and Jenkins, miss significant time. The lack of depth at guard really became apparent when Jenkins was out of the lineup.
The injuries hit many of the team’s best and most irreplaceable players and that has hurt not only ability but continuity.
Second Reason: An Inexperienced Quarterback
The Packers moved on from Aaron Rodgers and turned the starting job over to Jordan Love. Love had only one career NFL start entering this season and is learning on the job. Sure, he sat behind Rodgers for three seasons and is not a rookie, but there’s a difference between reading about driving a car and driving it and Love is learning to be the starting quarterback this year by finally doing it.
Love has had some good moments and made some big plays, and he has made his share of mistakes. The struggles were not unexpected as Love learned on the job. The key is that he makes progress as the season progresses and shows that he has the potential to be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL.
Unfortunately, the injuries and other factors on this list make evaluating Love a bit more difficult for the Packers.
First Reason for the Packers Struggles on Offense: Inexperienced Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
The Packers don’t have any wide receivers on their roster with more than one year of NFL experience and the top tight ends on the depth chart are rookies Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft (Josiah Deguara is listed as an H-back/fullback).
These receivers have often run the wrong route or not made the proper adjustments when plays break down and they must improvise. This makes Love’s job even more difficult. There have been times when multiple receivers are in the same area. That makes it tougher to complete passes. At other times when Love throws to the correct spot on the field, nobody is there.
None of this was unexpected. The key remains having the young receivers and tight ends showing improvement as the season progresses.
If they get better and grow into the job, the mistakes will be cut down and the offense will be better.
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