Packers Have to Stick to Their Offensive Identity

If the Packers are going to make their ninth straight playoff berth, they need to be true to who they are. 

The Green Bay Packers are one game short of the mid-way mark in their 2017 season. Right now, they are 4-3 and even without Aaron Rodgers, they are in good position in the NFC playoff race.

If the playoffs started today, Green Bay would be the sixth seed. It is still just one game behind the Minnesota Vikings with a home game against its division rival coming later in the season and has a pretty favorable schedule upcoming. 

If Rodgers was the quarterback, the Packers would be a sure thing for the playoffs. Unfortunately, the two-time MVP is at least six weeks away from playing, if he plays at all. But best-case scenario is Dec. 17 against Carolina.

In the meantime, the Packers have six games, some of which are very winnable, even with Brett Hundley starting at quarterback.

Hundley wasn’t good against the Saints. He made a few throws and had some nice runs. But for the most part, he was inaccurate and his timing was terrible. However, at the same time, the Packers were conservative in their approach. They seemed too content to run the ball and Hundley never got into a rhythm. 

66 percent of their drives against the Saints started with a run. Nothing against Aaron Jones, who is damn good. He has 62 runs for 346 yards (5.4 avg) and three touchdowns. He has two 100-yard games and three runs of more than 20 yards.

Jones has been a revelation for the Packers, but that doesn’t mean he can carry the offense and Mike McCarthy shouldn’t ask him to try. The rookie from UTEP is a nice complementary piece, but when the Packers return in Week 9, the offense needs to start going back through Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson. It needs to be built around Hundley. 

Jordy Nelson needs to be a key part of the offense.

Jordy Nelson needs to be a key part of the offense.

That means being more aggressive in the passing game and doing some things, Green Bay historically done very little of (zone read and quarterback runs). 

Hundley has to be better, there is no question. But it’s McCarthy’s job to get him to play well. Thus, he needs to design a game plan that suits his quarterback's strengths. Maybe put in a few zone read runs that can turn into play-action fakes. Add some bootlegs, get him on the move. Don't try to make him just a dropback quarterback. 

But also, try some no huddle. Don’t get away from what you believe in just because Hundley is at quarterback.

If McCarthy believes in him as much as he claims to, stop treating him like a rookie. As he said, he has had three years to teach him … time to see what he’s learned.

Give him more freedom to audible, give him the run-pass options, put the game in his hands. If he’s as good as the organization thinks he is or can be, he will rise to the occasion. If not, the season is over anyways.

Nelson had four passes thrown his way against the Saints, Adams five. The two had two receptions for 25 yards. That’s not good production, but not enough targets, not nearly enough.

Outside of Rodgers and the two offensive tackles, Nelson and Adams are the two best players on the Green Bay offense and it’s not even close. Randall Cobb and Martellus Bennett are solid too, so is Geronimo Allison, but the two studs remaining are Nelson and Adams.

Jones is getting better and better. He could be the future at running back, but the passing game still needs to drive the ship. Green Bay isn’t suddenly going to start dominating opponents on the ground, not when it ranks 20th in the NFL.

Yet Jones can still be a unique weapon. He can be used in the zone read, and he can catch the ball. He did that well at UTEP and it’s a skill the Packers need to utilize. Quick passes, screens and check downs. Get Jones the ball, while at the same time, getting Hundley completions and confidence.

Following the bye week, the offensive line should be completely healthy. The pass protection should be good and while the running game is still important, Green Bay shouldn’t get away from its identity.

The next six games are home against Detroit, at the Bears, home against the Ravens, at the Steelers, home against the Bucs and at the Browns. Green Bay probably needs to win four of those six. That would put it at 8-5 and in a good spot, whether Rodgers can return or not.

Winning four games in that stretch, is very doable, but not if the Packers get away from who they are. Hundley, ultimately, may not be good enough to do it, and he will certainly never be Aaron Rodgers, but he can be good enough to win with, especially if McCarthy has more faith in him.

 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (39)

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Nick Perry's picture

October 29, 2017 at 06:39 am

Hundley has to be at least as good as Matt Flynn was in 2010 or even 2013 to give the Packers a chance to win 4 of 6 or even 5 of the next 6 games. If they have their preferred 5 starting O-Linemen, Aaron Jones, Montgomery, Nelson, Adams, Cobb, AND those two TE's we were all very excited about in the Spring, then the Packers have more than enough to compete on offense at least.

If Hundley comes out and looks ANYTHING like he did against the Saints then it's ALL ON McCarthy and the rest of the offensive coaches. McCarthy clearly isn't the QB Guru we all thought he was, and perhaps it is time for wholesale change's in GB.

Funny thing....Hundley has actually regressed in his 3 years with McCarthy. He came in his rookie season and led the NFL in passing his first preseason. I get it's the preseason but still. He was injured last preseason but at no time has he looked like he's taken a jump so far this year.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 29, 2017 at 07:50 am

We will have a better read on Hundley after the lions game Nick. I am coming around to the idea that MM was in shock after the Vikings game and pretty much checked out for the Saints last week. I think the Rodgers injury was the straw which broke him. The Packer performance last week under MM was completely out of character for this team. Wave after wave of injuries may just finally got to him. Agree with your comment, this team should be good enough even without Rodgers to win enough to get into the playoffs. Especially, in this years NFL.

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snowdog's picture

October 29, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Hundley . First Quarter . Vikings .

MM . " Brett your in ! "

Brett . " Who , Me ? "

" Right Now ? "

" Oh Sh*t ! "

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snowdog's picture

October 29, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Common folks , those kind of expectations , are a heavy load for a backup that was just thrown into the fire .

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 29, 2017 at 07:17 pm

"Hundley has actually regressed in his 3 years with McCarthy"

Yes he has, and I would argue MCarthy has regressed as well. We just couldn't see it under the band aid of Rodgers.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 30, 2017 at 05:19 am

Excellent point as always JB.....and it started that Sunday afternoon in Seattle in the first quarter during the NFCCG. I don't believe he's ever recovered.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 30, 2017 at 03:24 pm

Agree. JB and NP.
I know we only have our eyes to go on but I have old eyes and I've seen enough over the years to recognize that after that game in Seattle, he's been coaching not to lose rather than win. I hate to keep bringing up Lombardi, but given that the talent in 2015 was pretty much the same0 Talent as in the NFC title game there's no way in hell that team should not have come out on fire to avenge that loss. We are wasting Rodgers and few outside us fans seem to care. Players, Coaches and management need to play and perform for their jobs imo. I can remember few games since where the team has played with something to prove.

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Donster's picture

October 30, 2017 at 08:28 am

Well said JB on MM. He hasn't been very inventive and able to adapt to changing situations during a game or during a season. He has relied on the best QB in the NFL for to long. He has become to complacent with his job security. I think you coach better when you have a bit of pressure to get to the SB. And he knows by even not getting there is still good enough for the Packers Board of Directors, TT and Murphy. The money is pouring in, so to quote Alfred E. Neuman, "What? Me worry?" His offense has grown stale.

As for Hundley regressing in his 3 years under MM, by what gauge can you really use honestly? One really good preseason? Maybe two? I don't thing nobody really knows how good Hundley is until we see more of him as the starter. MM has to have a better game plan for him with Detroit coming up. But even if Hundley has success against Detroit, he can't play defense either. Detroit stayed with Pittsburgh last night at home. Pittsburgh's defense is lights out better than the Packers. If the Packer defense can rise up, the chances are good for a win with a better showing on offense. I don't think it's going to happen. This is basically the same defense for the past 4-5 years. It gets better in one area, then declines in another. Capers would have been gone along time ago playing for a private team owner. He hasn't had that worry in GB. That is why he is still there because TT/MM won't make major coaching changes, just minor ones.

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DD's picture

October 30, 2017 at 08:59 am

These are a lot of words. We'll see Monday night by the play and genius of MM and TT. Eye test. No excuses my man.

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The TKstinator's picture

October 29, 2017 at 07:54 am

89 yards passing is truly offensive, and the TKstinator does not identify with that.

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 29, 2017 at 09:12 am

The moment Rodgers was lost the Packers identity was lost also. Now it becomes an olio of indecisive decisions trying to figure out what will work with a guy after three years of on the job training.

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The TKstinator's picture

October 29, 2017 at 09:57 am

You had me at “indecisive decisions”.
At least I think you did.
I can’t be sure. ;)

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Point Packer's picture

October 29, 2017 at 09:10 pm

I think I'm with you guys.

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Since'61's picture

October 29, 2017 at 09:31 am

Not only does Hundley need to play better behind a finally healthy OL, but the defense needs to do their share as well. The defense needs to make stops and create turnovers. Our offense can no longer be expected to be our best defense. If the defense doesn't improve it will not matter how much better Hundley plays. We need to win at the LOS on offense and defense. If the Packers can achieve that the rest will come. Thanks, Since '61

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4thand1's picture

October 29, 2017 at 09:57 am

The Packers offensive identity for the last 25 years has Favre and Rodgers. When a team doesn't have a HOF QB at the helm it's forced to improvise. It will try to play to the QB's strengths, but defenses will figure it out right away. When you have a QB that can make the ridiculous play the others can't, it's something rare. Now we have to rely on the play calling and a defense that is average at best.

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EdsLaces's picture

October 29, 2017 at 10:14 am

Aaron Jones is solid, but he woulda had a much better season with 12 playing. If Hundley doesn't get it together we will be below 200 yards of offense a game ...and that's gross to even think about.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

October 29, 2017 at 10:55 am

How long do the go with Hundley I mean if he can not win. They have to win at least 4 more games and is that going to happen.

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DD's picture

October 29, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Three words: Monday night Lions.

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Duke Divine's picture

October 29, 2017 at 05:55 pm

24-17 Lions

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lou's picture

October 29, 2017 at 01:02 pm

There is a lot of time left but I agree with Nick Perry, Hundley looked the best his rookie season and each year following has regressed, just by the naked eye, forget stats. The good thing is that the Packers can now make an intelligent decision on Hundley before his final season based on the amount of regular season time and film on him in the remaining games. If Hundley turns it around he increases his value if he gets to free agency and it also increases what the Packers can get for him prior to next season in a trade before the next draft. Get your popcorn ready, here we go.

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Duke Divine's picture

October 30, 2017 at 09:06 am

Joe! Joe! Joe!

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Johnblood27's picture

October 29, 2017 at 02:00 pm

That means being more aggressive in the passing game and doing some things, Green Bay historically done very little of (zone read and quarterback runs).

Are you out of your freaking mind?

This ius as stoopid of a suggestion as I have ever heard. Zone read and QB runs? WTF? We are down to our backup now and you want a skinny kid with no starting experience in the NFL to be running with the ball? Thats just plain dumb. Do you have stock in Callahan as the Packer starter?

Getting Hundley hurt is the very last thing this team needs right now and him running with the ball is the fastest way for that to happen. Did you even see him on his TD run? As soon as a defender was near, he held up, stood upright and took a shot he didnt need to in an awkward position. Brett Hundley may have some mobility, but he is very far from an NFL runner. He will be on the DL within one game if he is running the ball in thei league. Period.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2017 at 02:27 pm

Hundley does appear to have regressed but time will tell. I have a growing suspicion that MM is not the QB guru and certainly not an Offensive genius as some would think. Who has he developed. Noone. Rodgers is a natural talent that developed with experience. Same will apply to Hundley. How long it will take, noone knows but MM is not helping him by easing him along.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 30, 2017 at 01:06 am

I don't think that there is any doubt that the coaches changed AR's throwing motion. That is a big change. I don't know that MM did it, maybe it was Bevell and/or Clements. I'd suggest that MM reined in Favre and made him better in 2006 and 2007.

I've never really been sold on MM being an offensive genius.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 30, 2017 at 06:44 am

Changed my 10 year old's arm angle. Took one day.

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dobber's picture

October 30, 2017 at 09:08 am

Yes, but I'm pretty sure hadn't been throwing a football for 12 years...

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2017 at 06:31 pm

Which identity exactly is that?

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Tundraboy's picture

October 30, 2017 at 06:43 am

.

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gary g's picture

October 29, 2017 at 09:32 pm

I Have argued on this site many times that TT has to go. He is given credit for fielding a contender every year
and with winning one super bowl. Sounds accurate until you take away Rodgers and you see this is an average team at best without Rodgers. 4th and 1 went at it with me a few times praising TT. It seems his feelings have changed now that the team is exposed. MM has to go also along with Capers. This team has had 2 HOF qbs back to back with only 2 SB'S to show for it. Time to clean house.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 30, 2017 at 01:09 am

This is the very first comment for Gary G. So, who did you used to be?

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 30, 2017 at 07:33 am

Don't you love that TGR.

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gary g's picture

October 30, 2017 at 02:42 pm

username was just gary.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 31, 2017 at 03:57 am

That is fine. Welcome back.

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Free agent's picture

October 29, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Ted Thompson is a fricking mime
Capers is Bernie’s twin
MM has no imagination
Murphy just smiles through it all, waiting for the call to be the next commissioner of the NFL.
Sadly, what the Packers need is a team owner to fire this wimpy group.

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MarkLee22's picture

October 29, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Thompson has had a few good offensive drafts. Granted, ARod is a once in a lifetime player, but TT has done okay with other offensive draft picks. But I think I read somewhere that in the last 6 years we've had 30 picks, 4th round or better, and 20 of those were defensive picks. Yet we still have this atrocious defense, year after year. And Clay hasn't even gotten hurt YET. I'm pretty sure he'll sprain a fallopian tube or fracture his vulva before this season is over and then the defense will actually get worse. We don't just need Hundley to be good, he's gotta be great.

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dobber's picture

October 30, 2017 at 09:11 am

"And Clay hasn't even gotten hurt YET. I'm pretty sure he'll sprain a fallopian tube or fracture his vulva before this season is over and then the defense will actually get worse."

Sometimes I'm amazed at what people will say on blogs/chats when they can sit behind screen names and have no accountability for it.

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DD's picture

October 30, 2017 at 09:10 am

The only way for our DB's to stop Spam-ford is the weather affecting him. Does anyone out there think Capers schemes or defense can stop the lions? Also, the lion defense is tough; MM has had Hundley for 3 years, will have the starting offense, less Rodgers of course. Do you feel confident with MM and Hundley? Or, are you really nervous? Monday night is huge!!!! The story of Hundley, coaches, and other players will be evaluated as to the rest of this season and the future.

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dobber's picture

October 30, 2017 at 09:16 am

One game at a time. That's all they can play. They've had two weeks to prep for this one and virtually everyone, except the guy who is clearly the league's MVP (didn't that used to be defined as the player who meant the most to his team?), should be healthy. This is a must-win...can't go another conference game down or lose another home game.

If the Packers can't win a home game against a Lions team that's without it's best run-stuffer, that doesn't rush the passer particularly well (we get after the Packers for their 12 sacks on the season, but Detroit only has 13), and doesn't bother to play much offense until the 4th quarter, even I--the self-proclaimed eternal optimist--will hang this season up.

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Pauly's picture

October 30, 2017 at 09:49 am

Sorry to say........
Difference today between the Bears and Packers??
Bears have hope..
Packers don't. Except for 12 high draft picks.

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