Winning games in the NFL doesn’t always have to be pretty. In fact, the good teams, know what it means to win ugly. Yet, if the Green Bay Packers are going to contend, the offense needs to improve and quickly.
Yes, the 27-23 victory over the Jaguars was just one game, but it was another in a disturbing trend of unproductive performances by the Packers’ offense. Sure, the team scored 27 points and at one point, there were four consecutive scoring drives.
However, Green Bay managed less than 300 yards on 60 plays and there were also three consecutive three-and-outs in the first half, something that became commonplace in 2015. And despite throwing two miraculous touchdown passes, Aaron Rodgers’ numbers were pathetically pedestrian. Yes he threw for 199 yards and two scores and ran for another — but he only averaged a paltry 5.9 yards per pass.
Rodgers’ career average is 8.0 and just two years ago, when he won his second MVP award it was 8.4.
You may just think, oh well, no big deal — wrong. It is a big deal, a very big deal.
The truth is Rodgers is still having a hard time pushing the ball down the field. Green Bay did have three completions over 20 yards, but basically all of them came on the scramble drill. Only the one to Richard Rodgers, a 22-yard gain, came from the pocket.
Jordy Nelson was back on the field, but he was a shell of himself. He looked slow and not confident enough to make the hard, fast cuts that made him great. Rust is to be expected and he is a 31-year old receiver coming off major knee surgery, so he may never truly be himself again, but hopefully, we will see more of the old Jordy soon.
Because the Packers need him, in the worst way.
The lack of separation still seems to be an issue. Multiple times, the Packers play faked, hoping to hit a big play and nothing. Most of the time, Rodgers didn’t even throw it downfield.
One positive about the offense, was the running game. At times, it was sluggish and 24 carries for 95 yards isn’t great, but 14 for 61 from Eddie Lacy was an encouraging sign.
So was his 28-yard run, the Packers’ third-longest play of the day. It led to a field goal, one that ultimately gave Green Bay enough points that the Jaguars needed six to win the game on the final drive, instead of just three.
Jacksonville has a tough defense, but so do the Minnesota Vikings, the team the Packers will face this week on Sunday Night Football.
If Green Bay has any prayer of getting a win in Minnesota, Rodgers, Nelson and the offense as a whole, simply must play better. Otherwise, the hope of a fifth Super Bowl title this season, may be nothing more than a pipe dream.