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How Will the Packers Offense Respond to Injuries

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How Will the Packers Offense Respond to Injuries

Are the Packers starring in Groundhog Day?

Every year, it seems, the storyline repeats itself; the Packers have a lot of injuries.

This weekend when the Packers take the field versus the Browns, the team will look very different from the one fielded week one. With Randall Cobb out for at least 8 weeks after being placed on the Injured Reserve List with the designated to return tag, and James Jones likely also out – a scoop mentioned by CheeseheadTV’s Aaron Nagler on Packer Transplants – the Packers could be missing two key offensive weapons.

What will the Packers do without their second and third ranked wide receivers?

For answers, one only has to look back to the 2012 season. Throughout the year, both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson missed extended playing time. While there were more receivers on the roster last year, therefore more people to step up; the Packers handled the injuries in a clear way.

When the Packers hosted the Jaguars on October 28, 2012, they were without both Jennings and Nelson. The absence was noticeable, the Packers offense was limited to only 238 total yards, against a defense that game up an average of 380 yards per game.

The Packers, and Aaron Rodgers, relied heavily on three players that day. James Jones, Randall Cobb and Alex Green each played over 75% of offensive snaps. While it’s not uncommon for three players to play a lot of snaps in a base formation, they also accounted for 72% of receiving yards and nearly 80% of the total offensive yards. Out of the 35 throws from Rodgers that day, the main trio were targeted 22 times, compared to the 13 targets spread out to 5 other players.

In 2012, when missing two wide receivers, the Packers offense shrunk and focused on three main players.

This season is not last season. The Packers now have an actual running game, one that has been racking up far more than the 66 yards gained in the game against the Jaguars. This year, instead of relying on Jones and Cobb, they are looking to replace them.

But will the strategy be the same? Fill the field with replacements, but turn to the people Rodgers and the Packers know. Will this year’s trio be: Nelson, Finley and rookie Eddie Lacy? Will Jarrett Boykin, Johnathan Franklin, newly promoted Myles White and the tight ends be required to produce 30% of the offense and the trio provide the rest?

Jones’s status for Sunday’s game is yet to be determined as the Packers will begin practicing for the Browns game on Wednesday and official injury reports are yet to be released. But if the Packers are without both Jones and Cobb, keeping the offense in the hands of proven playmakers, ones who have a history with Aaron Rodgers, might be the best way to go. Signs from last year point in that direction.

Jayme Snowden is a feature writer at CheeseheadTV and a contributor to Today’s TMJ4. She also co-hosts CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at Packertalk.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Al Katraz's picture

You first have to give Rogers the benefit of the doubt that miscues will happen. Routes will be run poorly, people out of place, etc. Your adding new players on Tuesday for a game Sunday. Players who are not familiar with play book, etc.

The Browns are coming around and are a talented team. They lacked a QB and have a decent one now, so its going to be interesting for sure.

Evan's picture

A decent one? Surely you don't mean Weeden.

TommyG's picture

I'm sure he meant Hoyer who went down last weekend against the Lions, and is now on IR; surely he meant him, not Weeden. If Hoyer was running things this weekend I might be a tad concerned. Without him in there that team is a shell of itself.

For those that didn't know it was Suh who took out Hoyer. I know, no shock.

Charlie Kelly's picture

Hoyer was put on IR following the game against Buffalo two weeks ago.

RC Packer Fan's picture

The Packers brought up 2 players from the practice squad that has been with the team since they were signed as undrafted free agents. They know the play book.

Browns although a better team are not a great team. It will be a tough game but the Packers should still win it.

marcopo's picture

You'd better bet your last sheckle that the newbies are familiar with the playbook. It's one reason Thompson doesn't leave the house.

MarkinMadison's picture

Rodgers seems to have accepted responsibility for missing Boykin on at least a couple of the plays last week. Hopefully he can work out whatever his issue is (whether it is his knee, as Nagler is wondering, or something else). GJ had nothing but praise for Boykin in the off-season in explaining why the Packers probably would not miss him. So I'm thinking it won't just be the familiar, Boykin will be in the mix.

Finely needs to step up. Jordy is Jordy. Lacy is what I hoped he would be - a big bull. But I think we're likely to see a big does of double (or dare I think it, triple) TEs as well. So throw that in with Boykin in the mix and I don't think this is going to just be a three-man show like in the past. Boykin is ready to step up.

Al's picture

I don't get that impression at all about Boykin. Granted I don't see the practices and all the stuff the coaches do, but I haven't seem him do anything impressive this season that really jumped out at me. I am sure some of that has to do with Rodgers not targeting him as often as his other guys plus he doesn't hit the field as much. I can only assume he has been good in practice and made the coaches feel he deserves a roster spot. I am much more excited about Lacy/Franklin. Both of those guys look like great picks and they look like real studs in the making. They seem to have temporarily improved Starks game too.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I think Boykin has shown some flashes and I wouldn't be surprised to see a breakout, but I also think this is Rodgers protecting the young guy a bit. People know Rodgers is great but they don't know Boykin is, so it's a lot better to have Rodgers get the blame than Boykin.

Boykin was a little lazy and indecisive getting out of his breaks. That's why he wasn't in better positions and those balls were tough. That's why Rodgers missed him for the most part, and that's what led to the drops. If Boykin gets out of his breaks more quickly next week then the throws will be more on target, Boykin will be more in position, and the catches won't be as tough. It's really as simple as that. I did think there was a big 3rd down where Rodgers did miss Boykin, though, so there might have been a bit of truth to what Rodgers said, but mainly it was just Rodgers protecting Boykin IMO.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Before this week we saw the offense mostly ran as a 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB.
Now Expect to see a lot of 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB. Which right now the strongest position of the skill groups is TE. So expect to see all of the TE's being used.

2 players I think we'll see play more then before are Brandon Bostick and Jonathon Franklin. Bostick is a pass catching TE, and Franklin has very good speed and his shiftiness is the closest they have to Cobb so I expect to see him in some of Cobb's roles on offense.

I think McCarthy will unveil some new formations on offense, including 2 RB's on the field at the same time, as well as some 3 TE packages.

I think the injuries could bring some creativity to the offense and might actually make them better in the long run.

All starts this weekend though.

jh9's picture

I agree. We could see two and three TE sets, two RBs, a TE as a FB, Jonathan Franklin could even be set in the slot. This week should be interesting and fun to watch!

ilikethepackers's picture

Great write-up on the offensive injuries Jayme, but doe youvhave any idea when Sean Richardson might return from the PUP list? We need help at safety, thanks!

ilikethepackers's picture

Great write-up on the offensive injuries Jayme, but do you have any idea when Sean Richardson might return from the PUP list? We need help at safety, thanks!

Jayme Snowden's picture

Today was the first day anyone from PUP could practice, only Sherrod practice. Everyone else, including Richardson is still out. Maybe we'll get updates on status from MM, maybe not. That's all I know now.

hayward4president's picture

We will be just fine if A. Boykin catches the ball and B. Boykin catches the ball.

Bibbon Hazel's picture

I am not worried about offense with Jordy, Finely, AQ, and Boykin and the ability to lean on running Lacy and having Franklin doing some things in the passing game. What concerns me is the PASS RUSH!!! Where will it come from?? Mike Neal out with a bruised shoulder and probably wont practice tomorrow! Lets hope the creative blitzs from the inside and the DBs get home to the QB because Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba aren't beating Joe Thomas and Schwartz!

aussiepacker's picture

Was bummed when I read about Neal but I hope it is just the pack playing safe as they cant afford to lose another OLB. The offense although probably not explosive will still have enough in them to rack up 20+ points verse the browns.

jh9's picture

We might see the pass rush come from the middle instead from the edges. Hawk and Lattimore might be asked to pass rush and the OLBs might be told to play coverage more.

jh9's picture

Also, Capers could create packages where Datone Jones might have a better opportunity to get to the QB.

hayward4president's picture

Without all these solid defensive players we are screwed. We need an OLB right now! Without a pass rush your defense is worthless, especially since we weren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard on offense @ full strength! Get a pass rusher ASAP Ted!

nick perry's picture

I think we can safely assume Ted isn't going to bring in a player from anywhere other than a PS player or UDFA. While I agree with you, this is Ted T. Rumor had it they were trying to sign King from Denver's PS. I'd have liked to see him try and sign Da'Rick Rogers off the Titans PS. He has 2nd round talent but because of his "Issues", he wasn't drafted and signed by the Titans and put on their PS. We heard all summer long that Quarless was faster than he was before his surgery, best he's ever look was what McCarthy said. While McCarthy has said the Packers will run their regular offense, I hope we see more two TE sets and actually get Franklin involved in the passing game. He showed us in Cincinnati he can make people miss. He's just got to hang onto the damn ball, something he struggled with in college, at least till his last year at UCLA. I guess we'll find out exactly how good Joe Haden is as we'll see him locked up on Jordy.

Stroh's picture

How soon your are proven incorrect. Thompson signed Harper to the roster immediately, even tho he probably could have put him on the PS instead!

markinmontana's picture

We're deep at cornerback. They can draw straws, and the loser has to eat a side of beef a day until he's linebacker size.

denniseckersley's picture

I hate to be the one to say it, but......

How long is it until Jordy's hamstring and/or groin acts up again?

Then what?

Evan's picture

He missed all of training camp after knee surgery. He's already hit his injury quota for 2013.

aussiepacker's picture

Said while knocking on wood I hope?

adrian meli's picture

not fake wood either

nick perry's picture

DON'T SAY IT!!!!!!

Franklin Hillside's picture

With aggression.

Marlow's picture

While injuries are never good, this may give the team a chance to try new plays and schemes that would have never happened had the squad remained intact. I am clinging to blind optimism here though the earth seems to be crumbling around us. At least we don't have to worry about the practice squad player who went to the Browns telling them much about the current plays because we may be on another whole page (or even book) by Sunday.

Lou's picture

First of all based on the commentary the number one question mark on offense (the offensive line holding up) appears to be answered and it is now considered a strength. The second issue on offense was in regards to having a 100 yard back and we have 3 legit ones now. Lets give the current moves a chance in regards to the WR injuries and hope for a surprise contribution from the speedy Myles White and you have to expect to see Boykin play more confidently that last Sunday with extended time. In addition I would move Finley to WR in most sets hoping to have his size/speed combination gives him a chance to be a Harold Carmichael/Herman Moore threat to the small DB's.

themasterfake's picture

If memory serves me right, the Jacksonville game is when they revealed Masthay at super deep shotgun quarterback. I expect Masthay will be loosening up the ol canon again for the Browns.

Mojo's picture

"Are the Packers starring in Groundhog Day?"

I hope so. That's when the SB will be played this year.

Bob's picture

We'll be fine and Rodgers always plays well in the throwback uni's. because as he said a few yrs. ago the pants are so comfortable!! GB 27 Cleveland 10

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