Maybe Packers fans have been spoiled by Aaron Rodgers and company rolling up and down the field the last few years in the preseason, seemingly scoring at will and throwing up points on the scoreboard like they were playing and old-school Atari video game. Maybe Packers fans misconstrued the talk about the Packers being better off than most teams after the lockout because of all the continuity they have both on the field and on the sideline. Or maybe Packers fans watched Tom Brady and the New England Patriots destroy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the previous evening and expected something similar on Friday night against the Cardinals.
Whatever the case, the presiding feeling pulsing through Packer fandom this morning seems to be: What is wrong with the starting offense?
To which there is a very simple answer: Absolutely nothing.
Oh sure, you’d like to see T.J. Lang come off that block a little quicker and pick up a stunting defensive lineman. You’d like to see Aaron Rodgers a little more on target on some of his deeper throws. You’d like to see Josh Sitton do a little more to hold up Darnell Dockett on third down.
While all of these things (and more) need attention, it is no time for panic. Just as fans should never have gotten too high when Rodgers and the Packers sailed through the previous two preseasons on offense, so should they now resist the temptation to get too worried.
When you go back and watch last nights game, the three series from the starting offense in particular, you’ll note that McCarthy comes out calling a whole bunch of deep stuff. Lots of multiple receivers deep. Obviously, its something he wanted to look at. Now, the popular theory is that Rodgers and the offense “settled down” so to speak when they went to the no huddle offense. While this is somewhat the case it doesn’t tell the whole story. Look at the throws Rodgers starts making on that third drive. Shorter rhythm throws, almost every one save for the big gainer to Finley. Getting Rodgers in rhythm has always,always been an issue. He tends to start games, much like his predecessor, a little too pumped up for his own good, causing him to spray the ball a little bit, especially when pushing the ball deeper down field. Rodgers himself has admitted that getting himself and the offense into a rhythm is one of, if not the, most important thing he and McCarthy can do. Rodgers found that rhythm last night once he started hitting some shorter throws.
So don’t be discouraged by the performance of the starters on offense. Yes, they look a bit out of sync on some drives. McCarthy and company will continue to work through the issues and have them ready for the opener against the Saints (whose starting offense has not exactly looked dynamite either, by the way) Fans may have been spoiled by the last few preseason outputs, but this is what preseason football is for, especially this year after losing the offseason. It’s sometimes hard to watch, even a bit boring at times – but it’s not a show. It’s work.