Has the league figured out the Packers offense?
So what's wrong with the Packers offense? It's easy to say competition has played a part in the results. The Packers did open the season against the 49ers, Bears and at Seattle. Last year they opened against the Saints, Panthers and Bears. I just believe there's a little more to it than just the level of competition, and I feel it dates back to the NFC divisional game against the Giants.
The Packers were full of swag going into that game; nobody (including yours truly) thought they could lose a home playoff game. Aaron Rodgers coming off one of the best regular seasons a QB could have; one that earned him the MVP. Rodgers threw 45 TD passes and had a mind-blowing passer rating of 122.5. The Packers were 15-1 and averaged 35 points per game. The offense was machine like, and it was done essentially with no running game.
However, on that day the Giants defense just confused and abused the Packers offense. Rodgers had the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights look. Rodgers looked mortal; he missed open targets and had no answers for the Giants pass rush. Everything that went right for the Packers during the regular season went wrong on that day.
So the million dollar question is, has Aaron Rodgers lost his swag? Doesn't he just seem to be a different guy? There's no real way to know how much that loss last year weighed on him. Sure, he's already won the big game; he did lead the Packers to a Super Bowl win. But so did Brett Favre. Could Rodgers be obsessed with surpassing Favre in Packers history? Does he need that second ring to do it, and does he feel he let a golden opportunity slip away last year?
There seems to be issues with the Packers offensive line. 3 sacks in week 1, 5 sacks in week 2 and then 8 sacks in just the first half in week 3. Now adjustments were made and the line didn't allow any 2nd half sacks. However, are all the sacks the line's fault or as I witnessed several times in the first half--is Rodgers holding the ball too long? All Qb's must have a clock in their head; a line can only block for so long.
Which leads me to my next thought. Has the offense become too predictable? Have defensive coordinators started to figure out what the Packers are doing? Does Mike McCarthy need to make adjustments to this once great passing attack? I think that may have started in the second half of tonight's game with the running of Cedric Benson. Football 101 says if a defense is going to drop 7 and just rush 4, you need to run the football more.
Now Benson just ran for 45 yards on 17 carries, but he did have a few runs where he took pressure off the passing attack. The Packers also utilized different blocking schemes and weren't just spreading out the Seahawks with 3 and 4 Wr's. They also went to a hurry up that seemed to keep the defense off balance. Perhaps McCarthy recognizes that changes need to be made going forward to be successful.
I will say at the moment it appears the Packers offense has a lot of work to do and perhaps the fear from the rest of the league is gone. Can Aaron Rodgers get back his swag? As a Bears fan--I hope not.