The Green Bay Packers offense continues to struggle and most of the damage is self-inflicted. Right now, the offense can’t seem to get out of its own way as breakdowns, penalties and untimely mistakes continue to plague the team. In the team’s first drive, they made errors that illustrated many of these problems. Here is an in-depth breakdown of the Packers problems on offense in just four plays:

Packers Offense Problems Illustrated: First Down, a Typical Play Call

The Packers offense started first-and-10 at their own 19. They lined up in the shotgun with one running back and three wide receivers.

Jordan Love took a three-step drop and completed a short pass to tight end Luke Musgrave for a two-yard gain. This was a typical play call by Matt LaFleur this season, a short pass to the flat. Harrison Smith made the tackle right away.

There was no gain after the catch and the ball was barely past the line of scrimmage in the air. The play set up a second and long situation.

Packers Offense Problems Illustrated: Second Down, Play Against Tendency

On second down, the Packers set up in a two-back set and again lined up in the shotgun. They sent Aaron Jones in motion to the right and handed the ball to A.J. Dillon who ran to the other side.

Dillon got a good block from center Josh Myers, cut back to the middle and gained seven yards to set up a third-and-one.

The play worked because of the pre-snap motion that took a defender away from where the play was going and the good block.

LaFleur called a play against the team’s tendencies as they handed off to Dillon out of the shotgun in a passing situation. This was the best play of the drive and set up a third-and-one situation.

Packers Offense Problems Illustrated: Third Down, Foiled by a Penalty

On third down, the Packers lined up in the shotgun for a run-pass option. They had three receivers on the right side of the formation and one running back to the left of Love.

The Packers failed to block Minnesota’s Josh Metellus who penetrated the pocket and immediately was on top of quarterback Love. Love sidestepped Metellus and retreated to his own 15 where he let go a pinpoint pass to Romeo Doubs near the right sideline. Doubs got both feet down and went out of bounds at the Green Bay 49. The gain was 20 yards, and the Packers appeared to have a first down.

But the play was called back because starting left tackle Rasheed Walker was called for being illegally downfield.  Because the play was extended by Love’s scramble, Walker got too far past the line of scrimmage before the ball was thrown. The penalty wiped out a perfect throw and an acrobatic catch. The splash play was wiped out and it was 3rd-and-6.

Problems: Getting the Yards Back

Love used a hard count and drew a defender offsides. With the free play, Love threw long for Jayden Reed. The ball was overthrown, and the pass was incomplete. Still, the Packers had another third-and-one.

Love made the right call to throw deep on the free play, but his lack of accuracy prevented any connection. Reed was double covered but again, this was a free play so there was nothing to lose. Had Love thrown the ball accurately or Reed been able to draw a pass interference call, this could have turned into a big gain.

Again, the Packers faced third-and-one and all options were on the table as far as play calls.

Packers Offense Problems: Third and Short Again

On third down, the Packer lined up in the shotgun with three wide receivers to the right and Dillon in the backfield. Reed came in motion to the left to help spread out the defense and it revealed the Vikings were likely in zone coverage.

Love handed the ball off to Dillon. Myers whiffed on his block and Minnesota’s Harrison Phillips broke through and stopped the runner behind the line of scrimmage. Myers missed the block and fell forward onto the grass field.

The Packers lined up to punt, but Corey Ballentine was called for a false start which cost them five more yards.

In this one series, there were two penalties. One negated a good play by Love and a great catch by Doubs. There was a missed block that blew up a running play and a failure to convert a third-and-one. There was also a questionable play call on first down and Love’s inaccuracy throwing downfield hurt on one play.

Other Issues

The one drive illustrated many of the problems the Packers offense has been struggling with. But there were other issues. Depending on who you ask, the Packers receivers dropped between four and six passes they should have caught against Minnesota.

The pass protection was also shaky as Love was sacked four times and pressured frequently throughout the game. Receivers also ran the wrong route on several occasions but that did not happen on the opening drive.

Another problem has been a failure to make contested catches. The Packers receivers also did not make one contested catch in the game going 0-for-7 in those situations. They have also yet to learn how to draw penalties and win 50-50 balls.

The Packers have been outscored 73-9 in the first half of their last five games and haven’t scored 20 points or more in any of those contests.

There’s a lot to fix for the Packers offense. The coaching staff and players have a lot of work to do if this team hopes to show progress before this season is over.


Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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