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The Packers Offensive Line Will Face a Crucial Test Against Cincinnati

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The Packers Offensive Line Will Face a Crucial Test Against Cincinnati

The first half of Monday night’s game showcased what can happen when two NFL quarterbacks come under pressure. Combined, Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger either under or over threw their intended receivers 16 times – the most by any two QBs in one half this season.

The stat could be good news for a Packers defensive front that has yet to generate much pressure in the first two games this season. This coming Sunday, the Packers defense could have a field day if Andy Dalton continues to misfire when under pressure.

But the stat also spells trouble for the Packers offensive line. Since losing Bryan Bulaga early in training camp, the Packers offensive line has been a weak spot for the team. Starting rookies and inconsistent play has led to Aaron Rodgers being hit ten times and sacked six times this season.

After being sacked on back to back plays early in the game on Sunday, the Packers offensive line seemed to rebound allowing only two more sacks for the rest of the game. However, Washington’s defense also stepped back.

While Rodgers’s career day is a testament to his talent and the team, it also came while facing a vanilla defense.

In the first half of Sunday’s game, Rodgers was pressured just 7 times. On 25 of his 34 drop backs, Rodgers faced four or fewer rushers. 23 of Rodgers’s 26 first half completions and over 75% of his first half yards came when facing this standard pass rush.

It is doubtful that Rodgers and the Packers offense will see a similar attack from the Bengals this coming Sunday.

In Monday night’s Bengals game, Ben Roethlisberger was under pressure from the Bengals defense for more than 25% of his drop backs. On those pressured plays Roethlisberger’s performance was abysmal, completing only one pass for one yard and throwing one interception.

With the Bengals stout running defense, one that allows less than one yard after contact on rushes, and the Packers banged up core of running backs, the odds that the Bengals will come after Rodgers are high. The Packers offensive line will have to rise to the occasion.

ProFootball Focus credits T.J. Lang with a perfect game against Washington's pass rush, but Rodgers will need more than just Lang. Rookie David Bakhtiari will need to shake off early rough starts and Don Barclay will have to do better than letting defensive linemen spin him back and off the line. The Packers offensive line might also have to play without the help in pass protection provided by Eddie Lacy and John Kuhn, as both suffered injuries against Washington.

The Bengals will provide a crucial test for the Packers offense. If the Packers have serious goals to be an elite team in the NFL this season, they will need to keep Rodgers safe from the Bengals pressure.

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 (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Derek in CO's picture

Cinci's Dline was a force last night, although Pittsburgh's Oline is pretty young and not that good. I think after facing SF and Washington's pass rush, we'll fare fine, the quick passing game is the way to combat that. Cinci's two DTs are beasts.

jh9's picture

You're right about the "quick passing game." I find it interesting to be reading such positive reviews about the o-line this week when it seems to me that it was the play-calling by MM and the short drop, quick release by AR that negated Washington's pass rush.

Right after the back to back sacks of AR, MM and AR changed their play-calling and technique and no one seems to be giving them the credit for the effective passing game. Am I the only one who saw that?

And this week against Cinci, I would expect MM and AR to dupilcate their approach. In fact, what we ended up seeing against Washington might very well be what we see every week to help the Packers execute a "work around" a weak o-line.

Point Packer's picture

Most concerned about Kuhn not being available. Guys not much of a running threat anymore, but he's our best back in pass pro - by far. Hope he's back.

Fi crane's picture

Unless he's going our for a two yard Hail Mary pass

Iowa Packer's picture

This article sums up what I've been thinking. We had a great game against a lesser defense. Bengals will be another big test. But after facing the 49ers and doing reasonably well, the Pack should be able to overcome as long as Rogers stays upright. This might be a good game to get feature Finley and Quarless.

Al Katraz's picture

Football isn't just physical its mental as well. Every coach in the NFL knows our O line is weak and how to attack it. Its the mode du jour when playing the packers.

That alone is the reason I was hoping for two stout O linemen in the first two rounds to shore it up and provide needed backup.

Why we thought we needed a Datone Jones, yes a Lacy, but certainly help up front first, is beyond me.

The coaches played what if: Beluga comes back healthy, Newhouse can play and Sherrod is healed. Not a plan I would have banked on.

VApackerfan's picture

"Why we thought we needed a Datone Jones". Did you not watch the SF game last year? In fact, did you not watch our D line play last year?

Stroh's picture

Really dude... After they spent 2 1st rd picks on Bulaga and Sherrod there was no way they were going to used the 1st AND 2nds this past draft on 2 more OL. WHen Bulaga and Sherrod are starting next year, you'll be happy they didn't spend those picks on OL. Mid round picks are another matter and Thompson always picks a mid round OL and most years 2 OL. He gets the OT in the top of the draft and the interior OL in the mid to late rds. That's just smart drafting, since OG and Center are not premium positions worth using high picks on. OT are definitely worth high picks tho. This is pretty basic common sense if you've been following the Packers for the past 20-30 years.

Ranch Tooth's picture

The offensive line is what it is at this point. We'll just have to get used to our line's shortcomings and continue to scrap with max protect and chipping from the TEs. Rodgers gets the ball out quickly, so I'm not too worried going forward. Plus, a decent run game will work wonders for the OL's confidence.

al's picture

turn overs should be fun in the back field this week just stop aj and rookie te and rb should be just fine play physical back their ..............

davyjones's picture

We don't routinely stop TE's--rookie or not. That guy could hurt us as well as Gio Bernard out of the backfield--guy is fast and can make GOOD tacklers miss. We don't have a lot of good tacklers.

That said, Cincy did nothing last night that struck fear in me. Both Dalton & Ben made me SO grateful we have AR...he has spoiled us terribly.

The TKstinator's picture

Remember back when Holmgren took over and the "west coast, short drop, quick release pass" was a big change from what our offense had previously been like? I clearly remember the message that this will help our o-line in pass pro and get our qb hit much less often.
It was a good plan then and it's still a good plan now!

Lucky953's picture

We put up 28 on the Niners. Bengals secondary is a notch below them. Cincy will find it much tougher running against us than Pittsburgh. 31-17 Packers

cincypackfan's picture

Dalton will be the worst qb the packers have faced so far. Bengals have the slowest group of LB's in the league. Finley/Rogers should put on a CLINIC over the middle. If Rogers has time, he will slice-and-dice them. GB may give up a few early sacks before they adjust their game, but Bengals coaching staff is horrible at game-time adjustments and many other little things'... that's big water-cooler talk around here. Huge advantage Packers on that one.

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