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One Troubling Statistic to Mull Over

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One Troubling Statistic to Mull Over

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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jamie's picture

Pack it up...we're screwed. :..(

Bohj's picture

Stats about passing tell one story. This one means more to me: Injuries!!
Pretty sure most of these guys after seeing Bish and House go down in game one, they are pondering how much these games are worth to them. Vanilla tackling. Vanilla blocking. Vanilla route running. These guys all know what kind of team they have. Why would any of these starters want to spoil the chances they have here to be great. Think Belacek and Patriots. They never play well in preseason. They save it for the real deal. Pretty sure Belacek has said this in interviews. Pretty sure McCarthy is telling them the same thing.

retiredgrampa's picture

The old mantra of preseason stats are meaningless may be true, but I believe most fans are like me in that they worry about the "tendencies" the team is showing. e.g., fumbling, dropped passes, no run-blocking of note, and INJURIES! I'm heavily concerned about these things. They may not, and probably will not magically disappear two weeks hence, when the fat's in the fire.

ohenry78's picture

Meh. If the backups got as many yards per play as the starters, they wouldn't be backups. Let's see how many yards per play the Packers starters get tonight and go from there.

And yes, I know that part of the reason for this concern is, "What if the most important starter, A-Rodg, goes down?" -- but even then Graham Harrell will be playing with first team RB's, WR's and OL. He should do better with better surrounding talent.

Barutan Seijin's picture

Of course, a number two QB who goes in for an injured number one will also be facing the other team's no. 1 defense. I'm skeptical about the "he'll do better with the number one offense" arguments. Whistling in the dark methinks.

Oppy's picture

How many reds zone passing touchdowns did the Packers first offense score?

I was a bit concerned about the passing offense before seeing any stats. Our WRs are not getting open as in the past.

I think most teams are going to do what the Bengals did- commit to coverage,and attempt to make the Packers move the chains on the ground.

Really like what we saw of Benson, but I don't like Rodgers scrambling for 50+ yards in a half, either.

marcopo's picture

Running the way Rodgers does, he's unlikely to get hurt. His exposure is in the pocket. If teams use nickel and two deep zones, Cedrick Benson will rip them up. Yes, the Packers have a running back.

marcopo's picture

You don't have to be the next coming of Aaron Rodgers to be a good NFL quarterback, but you do need to have "it". Regardless of stats, Harrell does not have it. Soon we can talk about the real thing and real problems.

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