With the Packers about to take on the Bengals in the third preseason game in which the starters typically play the most, I thought the time was appropriate to take a look at a statistic that may be the biggest reason the Packers are off to an 0-2 start in the exhibition season and the offense is struggling.
In the first two preseason games, the Packers have averaged 4.0 yards per pass against the Chargers in Week 1 and 4.4 yards per pass versus the Browns in Week 2, which––to put it bluntly––is pathetic.
Just for background information, those averages are based upon all passes, not just completed ones. They also don't count sacks in which the Packers dropped back to pass but never got a pass off.
Take a look at the NFL's passing leaders from last season, and you'll notice Aaron Rodgers is at the top of the heap with an average of 9.2 yards per pass. That's just one talent among many that made Rodgers so good last season and a reason he won the league's MVP award.
Now take a look at the very last, bottom qualifier on the list: Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert who averaged 5.2 yards per attempt. Yup, the statistically worst quarterback in that particular category last season averaged more yards per pass than the Packers did in either of the first two preseason games.
I know what you're thinking: the preseason meaningless. And you're right. But the Packers still have to get better and more efficient in this phase of the game. For one, they don't want this to carry over into the regular season. And two, Graham Harrell's career in Green Bay may depend upon it.
Certainly, with Graham Harrell getting the bulk of the snaps, he's more at fault for this statistic than either Aaron Rodgers or B.J. Coleman. Even if he'll never be like Rodgers, he needs to be more accurate and keep the chains moving.
Rodgers wasn't any better in the first preseason game, however, when he completed only two of eight passes for 16 yards. Some of the blame can be placed upon of Herb Taylor, but not all of it.
There's no better time to find a rhythm than in tonight's third preseason game when the starting offense should play a half or more and test-drive their no-huddle offense while they're at it.
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