Green Bay Packers perplexed by inconsistent offense : Packers Insider

Green Bay Packers perplexed by inconsistent offense

November 2, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Nov 2, 2010 ~ by Gary D’Amato

~Green Bay — After a 3-3 start, the Green Bay Packers have won back-to-back games and are coming off their first shutout on the road since 1991.

If they take care of the struggling Dallas Cowboys (1-6) as an 8 1/2 -point favorite at home on Sunday, they’ll go into the bye week 6-3 and will have a chance to get a bit healthier.

Yes, the sun is shining brighter in Green Bay these days.

But there’s still one nagging, perplexing concern:

What’s wrong with the offense?

A high-powered unit that one year ago set a franchise record for points scored (461) and produced a 4,000-yard passer in Aaron Rodgers, a 1,000-yard rusher in Ryan Grant and two 1,000-yard receivers in Greg Jennings and Donald Driver has been plagued by mistakes and inconsistency.

Rodgers goes down in a week 6 loss to the Dolphins. Last week, the Jets held Aaron Rodgers to a season-low 170 yards and a passer rating of 59.7, his third-lowest in 40 career starts.

Yes, injuries have been a factor. But halfway through the season, the offense just isn’t clicking and the reasons go far beyond the season-ending injuries to Grant and play-making tight end Jermichael Finley.

The glitches showed in a 9-0 victory over the New York Jets, a game won mainly with a superb defensive effort and solid special-teams play. The best thing that could be said about the offense was that it didn’t turn the ball over.

“We just were not very fundamentally sound as an offense,” coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “We felt that we just weren’t very sharp, whether it was finishing blocks, certain reads, depth of routes and so forth.

“We need to get back to just playing football the right way and not worrying about what the other side’s doing.”

The tone was set on the opening possession, when the Packers tried to make a statement by running the ball into the teeth of the Jets’ defense, which went into the game ranked seventh in the NFL against the rush. Brandon Jackson gained 2 yards on each play and Rodgers threw incomplete on third down.

“The first couple plays of the game, we’ve got to gain more than 2 yards on those run plays,” said offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. “They’re solid plays. They were sound. We had good angles.

“Football is blocking and tackling and running hard, and I don’t think we did that well enough.”

The Jets limited Rodgers to 15 completions in 34 attempts for a season-low 170 yards and a passer rating of 59.7, his third-lowest in 40 career starts. The Packers converted just 2 of 14 third downs (14%).

“We were never able to make those one or two plays to get us over the hump, to get the confidence rolling, to get us back into a rhythm,” Philbin said. “We started slowly. We had a couple three-and-outs. Third down again was a big, big problem.”

It wasn’t all on Rodgers. The running game wasn’t good enough (3.1 average). The offense didn’t make any killer mistakes, but the season-long pattern of not doing all the little things correctly continued.

Perhaps the most glaring mistake was James Jones’ drop of a beautifully thrown deep ball by Rodgers in the third quarter of a 3-0 game.

“Oh, gosh yes,” receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said, when asked if Jones should have made the catch. “Nobody feels worse than he does, believe me. That play’s got a chance to change the game.”

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