The Green Bay Packers offense has not lived up to expectations thus far this season. Through six games, the Packers have scored 107 points or an average of 17.8 points per game. That places them 24th in the 32-team NFL in points scored, hardly what you’d expect from an offense run by the two-time returning league MVP.
There are many reasons for the offense’s struggles. The offensive line play has been inconsistent, Rodgers himself hasn’t played up to his usual standards and the team obviously misses Davante Adams.
But the biggest reason for the Packers offense’s continued struggle is the team lacks an identity and the head coach who calls the plays and the quarterback who can change those calls at the line of scrimmage and who executes those plays do not seem to be on the same page.
The Packers were supposed to lean more heavily on the running game this season. When they’ve run the ball enough, they’ve been effective. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon are the team’s most dependable and talented offensive weapons besides Aaron Rodgers. Jones is averaging nearly six yards per rush despite the struggles of the offensive line while Dillon is averaging almost four.
But too often, they get away from the running game and the offense stalls. That allows the opposing defense to concentrate on rushing the quarterback and the Packers are often left in second or third and long situations which makes that even worse.
The offense is also trying too many longer passes right now and it just isn’t working. Again, there are multiple reasons for this starting with the offensive line isn’t giving Rodgers enough time to throw downfield from a clean pocket.
Rodgers also lacks chemistry with his newer receivers and he doesn’t fully trust the younger players to be in the right place at the right time or to make the same adjustments he does when plays break down.
In addition, the Packers have lacked a speedy receiver who could stretch the defense like Marquez Valdes-Scantling did last year. The main candidates for that role, Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson have both missed significant time due to injury. Watson also doesn’t know the offense well enough yet because of that missed time and that has further slowed his development.
There is also no Adams who defenses feel they must account for on every play and often double cover. Having a clear cut number one receiver opens things up for the second and third receivers and creates more opportunities to be successful deep downfield. The Packers don’t have that on the current roster.
The Packers offense also seems to be being pulled in two different directions. Matt LaFleur seems to want to run the ball more, use pre-snap motion and scheme open receivers on shorter passes. Rodgers seems to want to continue to do what he did so successfully throughout his career, emphasize the pass and take frequent downfield shots to try to gain chunks of yardage. The problem is he lacks the weapons right now to get it done consistently.
After the offense’s poor performance against the Jets, Rodgers said he wanted to “simplify” the offense. LaFleur responded he didn’t know what that means.
The Packers have 11 games left this season and the more challenging part of the schedule is coming soon. The team needs to figure out what kind of offense they want to be and then call plays that are consistent with that approach.
Right now, the Packers are a team without an identity and opposing defenses are taking full advantage of that fact. Without a coherent philosophy, the offense has been getting to the line of scrimmage and then changing the play to what the defense is giving them. It hasn’t worked.
Defenses do not fear the Packers deep passing game and so they are practically daring Rodgers to try to beat them deep downfield. He keeps trying, but his accuracy on those passes have been poor. He’s missed open receivers and held the ball too long, had passes dropped and just not been his usual self.
It’s past time for the coaching staff and Rodgers to sit down and determine the best way to run this offense, not as they’d like to be but as it is now. Then, they must call and run plays that maximize the talent they have available and then start dictating to defenses what they want to do. That means running the ball sometimes when the opposition stacks the box because it’s one of the strengths of this offense and not always switching to a long pass.
There is still time to make 2022 a successful season for the Green Bay offense. We knew the early part of the new campaign would be one of transition because of the changes to the receiving corps and the injuries along the offensive line. But there isn’t much time left to make those necessary changes. This team needs to get everybody on the same page, determine what kind of an offense they want to be and then become that offense.
It’s not too late, but the clock is ticking…
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