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No Need To Panic About The Offense

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No Need To Panic About The Offense

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.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremy's picture

I think your point about McCarthy having an evaluation plan as opposed to a game plan is the number one thing to take away from this. He wants to see things on film, Sherrod and guard and Lang at tackle for instance, so he has as much info as possible to make the decisions that are coming.

ZeroTolerance's picture

And coming quickly.

ZeroTolerance's picture

Exactly. Well said. Can't wait for the Saints.

Eric's picture

Granted i haven't seen either of the preseason games yet, but practice makes perfect right?
Perhaps McCarthy is using these opportunities at the beginning of the preseason games and calling these deep plays in order for Rodgers to find a way to calm that early excitement, or figure out a way to deal with it. That way, when it comes time for regular season, he and the offense can start faster. I'm sure Rodgers probably easily converts those throws in practice, but you can't simulate those nerves and excitement to start a game.

PackersRS's picture

Well said. Not to mention that MM isn't calling plays to beat the opponent. He is calling plays to evaluate his players.

And Rodgers ALWAYS starts the game erratic. Throwing high in short routes is a particular recurring incident in early drives...

Oppy's picture

I've always noticed that Rodgers throws extremely LOW and unnecessarily HARD on short routes around or behind the LOS... Like, at-your-shoelaces low, and break-your-fingers hard.

PackersRS's picture

Hmn. I vividly remember an int he had against Minny (his first game) where he threw it hard, but very high, and the receiver couldn't catch, so it bounced.

But yeah, screens and such he throws them low. Maybe he's overcompensating one for the other or vice versa.

Anyway, he's not comfortable and accurate in short throws early on. Don't know why.

Oppy's picture

Up to this point in his career, I think it would be fair to say Rodgers typically shows very little aptitude for putting the right "touch" on short throws such as swings and screens out of the back field.

I certainly hope that changes, because it looks like we now have a stable of RB's with the receiving skills to make use of such passes.

Norman's picture

I think the offense has started slow because they didn't hold any player-led workouts in the offseason.

Chris's picture

*facepalm*

Chris's picture

You always want to start fast and score on your first offensive posession, but there is also an opponent on the field who wants to shut you down. Games are not won in the first quarter alone.
That being said: The first series is something both Rodgers as the QB as also McCarthy as the playcaller can improve. I know that it's not the focus in preseason games, but should be worked on anyway. And I am pretty sure in the next two games we will see improvement. Don't forget, these are the first weeks this season for all those players and some rust is still there for everyone to see.
I am not worried and believe in the coaches and the 45 players on gameday to make a fight each and every game.
Thanks for being a calm voice on the blogosphere, Aaron. I know from the past that you can also be "a storm" ;-)

CJ in Guatemala's picture

46 players active on gameday ;)

Nerdmann's picture

Fact is, MM will throw deep way too much during the season too. Good thing we got players who can occasionally pull it off!
Still, I'd like to see some WCO fundamentals, moving the chains, being consistent and burning clock. They way Alex Green looked on that screen gives me high hopes.

cole's picture

What I don't understand is McCarthy gives Flynn all this brilliant play calling (see New England game) yet when Rodgers is in, there's fewer screens to help slow down the pass rush.

Throwing deep every time doesn't work. Hopefully, once the real games start, McCarthy pulls his head out of his ass and gives Rodgers screens and quick throws before he gets killed the first five games and THEN McCarthy realizes that it isn't Madden.

I think he's always been overrated as a play caller.

Idiot Fan's picture

I was thinking the same thing, though I feel like MM usually starts to see the light after about five games or so into the season and #12 has been pounded pretty good. I think that McCarthy is an excellent play caller once he gets to that point in the season.

dullgeek's picture

The last two preseasons the offense looked unstoppable only to enter the regular season looking mediocre - at least that's how I remember it.

They started 2-2 in '09 and 3-3 in '10. And I recall wondering in both cases what happened to the completely dominant offense from the preseason. I'd rather wonder where that offense is in the preseason rather than the start of the regular season. I recall QB1 even saying last year that the team needed to figure out how to get off to a faster start.

Mojo's picture

I'm not worried about the offense at all. It's the defense that concerns me. Nobody other than Raji is winning the one-on-one battles. I know they play vanilla in the preseason and a couple key guys were out but still....

Also what's up with these D-lineman concussions?

chazman's picture

I'm with Mojo on this one, we are running out of bodies for our defensive line. Neal looks like the real deal (Real Deal Neal) but is carrying his Justin Harrell impersonation a bit too far. Can we count on him to stay healthy?
Playing Howard Green well into the game, is that to take a look at him or because we ran out of bodies?

Oppy's picture

I didn't see much of the game, but I'd wager Green getting a lot of reps was out of necessity. They know what they have with Howard Green, and nobody in their right mind would put a 350+ lbs. man out on the field for extended periods of time unless they had to.. Especially a 350+ lbs. vet in the preseason.

cole's picture

The league fines guys for helmet to helmet hits yet they don't require guys wear a mouthpiece or the concussion preventative helmets that Rodgers wears. It makes no sense. I know it doesn't look as cool as the normal helmets, but why wouldn't you wear Rodgers helmet to help keep your brain from becoming a scrambled egg? Being able to play is a lot cooler than looking cool.

Does anyone know any other reason why all the players don't wear the special helmets? I think I saw Harrell sporting one.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Agree %100.

GBP 4 LIFE

donc's picture

get kuhn more involved with offense and this will open up other aspects of the offense

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