Green Bay Packers

The Packers’ Offense Is So Close To Greatness

Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports

Through four games, the Green Bay Packers offense is still a work in progress.

That’s to be expected, considering Davante Adams is playing in Vegas now. Aaron Rodgers no longer has his safety blanket, and the offense’s entire philosophy had to shift.

We’ve seen flashes of what this offense can be, but they have yet to showcase four inspiring quarters in a single game. The individual bits can look great. Romeo Doubs has been one of the best rookie receivers in the league. Aaron Jones has proven he’s the team’s best weapon. Despite some hiccups, Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers. But small mistakes and miscommunications have led this potentially high-powered attack to falter for long stretches of time.

This offense has the tools it needs to be something special, and we’ve seen what that can look like in flashes. The Packers’ offense is so close to clicking, and with multiple ways to win, it can be deadly come January.

The offensive stats actually look better than the on-screen product would have you believe. Green Bay is sixth in total yards and yards per game and seventh in total rushing yards. They are second in the NFL in explosive plays and lead the league in yards after catch.

The Packers have the pieces they need to be successful, so what’s the issue? What causes the offense to slumber for such long periods of time? The simple answer is that execution needs to be sharper.

Green Bay isn’t a team bereft of talent. They have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, a dynamic rushing duo, a solid offensive line, gifted rookie receivers, and savvy veterans. But small errors have killed drives, and the team needs to work on polish.

This team has been oddly turnover prone in 2022 — a true oddity in a Rodgers-led offense. A few have been poor decisions by Rodgers, who has forced the ball to his favorite targets while ignoring open receivers. But many of them have been simple errors and rookie mistakes. The communication has been off all season like we saw on the botched snap between Josh Myers and Rodgers where the ball hit Christian Watson.

We’ve also seen the rookies’ growing pains in real-time. Doubs is off to a stellar start, but he’s had a few drops, including what could have been a game-winning touchdown against the New England Patriots. Watson had his “oops” moment on the first play against the Minnesota Vikings. The talent of both players is obvious. Doubs is arguably already WR1, and just the threat of Watson puts the defense on notice. But rookies make rookie mistakes.

Another tweak is that the Packers need to put their players in a position to succeed. On LaFleur’s end, he needs to make sure his best players are on the field and scheme up ways to get them involved. Find ways to get the tight ends more involved, scheme more designed plays for Watson, and don’t shy away from play-action when it’s one of your best options.

On Rodgers’ end, he needs to play within the rhythm of the offense more, and he needs to trust the open receivers instead of forcing the big play. After a dismal first half on Sunday, Rodgers got into the rhythm in the second half, and the results were night and day.

The Packers are 3-1, and that’s pretty great. This team keeps finding ways to win.

But this way of winning isn’t sustainable, as Rodgers said on Sunday night. Green Bay hasn’t exactly faced great competition so far. Even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were neutered without some of their best players. The offense needs to fix itself before jumping into the meat of the schedule.

Right now, this team has shades of the 2019 squad, LaFleur’s first year in Green Bay. That team also kept finding ways to win in close games while the offense learned on the go. Rodgers had to learn to trust a new scheme. The run defense had major issues. It looked ugly, but the Packers eventually made it to the NFC Championship game.

And we all know how that ended. Sure, the defense did absolutely nothing against the San Francisco 49ers, but the offense went dead, too. Green Bay couldn’t punch back when it mattered most.

But this feels different. The core offense is installed, it’s just learning new ways to win without its former elite wide receiver. The rookie receivers are improving every week. Despite losing Adams, this offense is probably more talented top-to-bottom than the 2019 group. The execution just needs to improve.

Which is easy to say, harder to do. Maybe something needs to change in practice. Maybe it’s a mental thing. But the bright side is that the offense’s woes aren’t due to a lack of ability. The Packers have what they need for an explosive offense, and we’ve seen the seeds of something great. LaFleur needs to prune what isn’t working and water what is, and we could see a truly mighty offense bloom this season.

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Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports

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