Rodgers, Quick Passing game can lead to Bigger, Better Things

10 days of rest following a Thursday night game is a blessing for the Packers.

Not much of a blessing in disguise, because who wouldn't want 10 days to perfect their craft? That may have been precisely what the Packers have done over their break as they prepare for their first meeting with the Falcons since 2014.

They'll travel to Atlanta to clash with a Falcons team that has cemented themselves (as they typically do at the beginning of the season) as a powerhouse offense. With Matt Ryan having a career year and Julio Jones on the receiving end of four touchdowns and averaging 20.8 yards per catch, it creates a tough match-up with a depleted secondary. 

The visiting team's passing attack has been nothing short of mediocre come the first few weeks of the season, sans a solid debut against the Jaguars in week one and an efficient half of football against Detroit. Aaron Rodgers and company provided a different approach in their Thursday night win against the Bears, however.

The 26-10 victory was accompanied with a record-setting feat for Rodgers, who eclipsed his predecessor's record for most completions in a game (36), connecting with his receivers for 39 on 56 attempts. Shooting just shy of a 70 percent completion rate and averaging 5.82 yards per attempt, his second-lowest of the season, he recorded his first 300-yard passing game since week 10 of last season. 

It wasn't pretty, but 39 completions helped spread the ball to a total of just seven different receivers - three of which recorded double-digit reception totals. It got the ball out of Rodgers' hands quicker and it made the offensive line's job a lot easier than they've already made it seem this season with their stellar play.

What we saw on Thursday night was the New England Patriots' offense played in Green Bay. A lot of dinking and dunking, a lot of quick release throws that pad any quarterback's stat sheet. But the real impact incorporating an aerial assault like that has flies under the radar.

Since the early stages of the 2015 campaign and all through the latter stages as well, there was a clear lack of communication, trust, continuity, etc. in the Packers' offensive scheme. While it lasted for the duration of the season, it became the general theme of the year and most, including myself, attributed these short-comings to the lack of Jordy Nelson. 

Consistent struggles such as what was seen a season ago is precisely why the offense displayed by the Packers last week is so important and may spark the rejuvenation many of us have been waiting to see as we near the impending halfway mark.

It also gives a group of elusive receivers an opportunity to put in their due share of work after the catch, which Randall Cobb displayed against the Bears on the Packers' first drive. Ducking below a defender and picking up an extra handful of yardage, wrapped up one minute and the next, a blazing all-white (thanks, Color Rush) jersey rushing up-field.

A rapport between Rodgers and his receivers, including a third-year Davante Adams who is finally silencing the critics who wanted him traded, has potentially begun. Getting on the same page as a collective unit can be the direct result of carrying this same mentality into Atlanta. Although, it may be likely Rodgers attacks the heart of the Falcons' front seven with a young group of linebackers who have yet to see the two-time MVP. 

If 56 pass attempts is what it takes to begin the strenuous climb back to the top of Mt. Efficiency, then the Richard Smith and the Falcons' defense should prepare for a heavy dosage of the Chico, California native and his talented group of targets.

In his career against the Falcons, Rodgers has completed 68.71 percent of his passes, the second highest he's recorded against any team he's faced more than three times. They're also one of the 10 teams Rodgers has recorded a career passer rating higher than 110.0 against, culminating in a team record of 2-2 with him at the helm.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (28)

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al bundy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:04 pm

It cant hurt compared to what they had before. Ya its not balanced but in all honesty they did run the ball. They will still run the ball it just not as balanced as with Eddy but Eddy was predictable. It was balanced so that makes guessing a lot easier. With the pass often mode, defenses rise up quickly to stop it.

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Spud Rapids's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:19 pm

This doesn't make any sense... you say it's balanced and that's predictable? if someone passes more than runs that is more predictable than running a 50/50 balanced offense. I don't get what you are saying

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 02:04 pm

no one does...

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Curry Rambeau's picture

October 27, 2016 at 06:55 pm

Best to ignore his posts. He's very disappointed in Eddie Lacy and is now in full-on obsession mode.

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zoellner25's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:08 pm

10 days rest might work for most teams, but our guys are getting hurt in practice

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Bearmeat's picture

October 27, 2016 at 01:39 pm

This and the heavy 22 package when Cook gets back (and hopefully with Lacy at the end of the year) are clearly accentuating the strengths of the Packers offense.

That doesn't mean that they'll be great at it - just that it's working a lot better than the 11 personnel they'd trotted out all of 2015 and in September of this year.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 27, 2016 at 04:27 pm

Hopefully not Lacy. Hopefully Shields.

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rdent's picture

October 27, 2016 at 06:07 pm

I know this is a bit off subject but I just read per Tom Silverstien# Packers have negotiated an injury settlement with Jared Abberderis, he will be subject to waivers, his career as a Packer is over.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 27, 2016 at 04:52 pm

To bad he couldn't stay healthy. He had the talent.

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packerbackerjim's picture

October 27, 2016 at 04:34 pm

I wish Abby all the best and I like to think he fulfilled a dream to play for the Pack and have good memories to soften the blow.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 05:33 pm

I wish Abbrederis the best of luck. I really liked him. I wish he had more chances to show what he could have done on the field.

For a team that the head coach and QB were really high on it amazes me how he never saw the field.

I am looking forward to seeing Abbrederis playing with the Patriots. I wish him the best of luck.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 28, 2016 at 03:57 am

That was my first thought. I'm expecting Bill Bellichik will sign him just like that. I wish him success in the future for his life...

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rdent's picture

October 27, 2016 at 05:36 pm

I hope he gets healthy soon and can hook up with another team, sad he never got his chance in GB.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 27, 2016 at 06:33 pm

Nice article at acme: Packer stats by formation (11 formation indeed does not work).

http://www.acmepackingcompany.com/2016/10/25/13407820/packers-offense-by...

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 27, 2016 at 11:45 pm

Thanks for providing that.

I think the key to running the 11 personnel is the TE. It worked for the Packers when they had Finley. I think it could work with Cook. It will not work when your TE is Rich Rodgers.
Without the Finley type of TE the safety's can focus on the WRs.

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rdent's picture

October 28, 2016 at 08:00 am

I have to agree R Rodgers is not much of a threat beyond five yards

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 28, 2016 at 08:24 am

Finley drew a lot of attention from the Safety's. I remember defensive coordinators saying they had to game plan for Finley. I guarantee there isn't one D Coordinator that says they have to game plan for Rodgers...

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rdent's picture

October 28, 2016 at 11:39 am

Yep,R Rodgers draws ZERO attention .

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stockholder's picture

October 27, 2016 at 07:46 pm

Abbey would have made it if it weren't for Adams. I also blame Adams for James Jones release. I blame Adams for A-rods decline. I also blame Adams for the TEs not getting used enough. I will blame Adams if janis is cut. You can't forge a chemistry when your heads up someone else's ass.

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Samson's picture

October 27, 2016 at 08:01 pm

What exactly are you trying to say?

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stockholder's picture

October 27, 2016 at 08:45 pm

That they were in Love with Adams! And No one else on the team was going to change their minds. We all knew the phrase Pet when we played. Can you ever remember a player in Green Bays history that has dropped more passes. And given more playing time regardless of his screw-ups?

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Oppy's picture

October 27, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Guys like Randall Cobb last season, Aaron ROdgers the last 16 or so games, Ahman Green, James starks and Eddy lacy the last year or so, James Jones his first 2 or three years. Jermichael Finley for a while. Robert Ferguson. I'll even put BJ "Pushed Around" Raji up there.

Sure, these players aren't all WRs and they had various issues besides dropping passes, but they all were guys who had stretches of lousy play or unavailability but the Packers just kept on putting them out there. For years.

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stockholder's picture

October 28, 2016 at 08:26 am

Yes several did have fumbling issues. But they all contributed something during the games. And they all did extra things that were a benefit to the team. Until they improved, or got over their major problem. None of the above, took 3 years and received special treatment. Another thing you forgot! Of all the players you listed, There were no challengers behind them. Remember all the TE's? And remember we had 8 WRs on this roster. So who went. Abbey! The better route runner. I told you guys Abbey would be gone. But you disliked my assumption. Broken promises and dreams is what I see. For a PET!

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Oppy's picture

October 29, 2016 at 10:25 am

This idea you have that Adams has offered nothing to the team is way off.

Take a look at weeks 14 through the playoffs. Every year he has produced in at least one big game against meaningful competition heading into the post season.

Adams has legit talent. Considering guys like Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson took a full three years to come into their own, I think Adams deserves as much.

Through 3 full regular seasons, Receptions/Yards/TDS:

Donald Driver: 37 / 521 / 3
James Jones: 99 / 1,390 / 8
Jordy Nelson: 100 / 1,268 / 6

Davante Adams: 116 / 1,279 / 9
...and davante Adams still has another 10 regular season games before he's hit a full three regular seasons.
He's on pace to add another 46 catches, 583 yards, and 8 TDs.
If he keeps this pace, his full 3 year projection would be:

Davante Adams, 162 catches / 1,862 yards / 17 TDS

Even if he doesn't keep pace, all indications are his first three years will dwarf DD/JJ/Jordy's first three. He already leads in all but yards to JJ, with 10 more games to go.

Somehow, you have equated all this into not "contributing something to the games."

Has Davante struggled to catch the ball at times? Yes. Does he need to improve his focus? Undoubtedly.

But you need to take the hate goggles off and look at the real production. This kid has talent and has produced enough to warrant the patience offered to him.

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stockholder's picture

October 30, 2016 at 11:57 am

Sorry but there is no hate. It's called evaluation. I didn't give him that Nickname drop Adams. I just don't like the pet. His team needed him to step up . He Failed. And don't give me that excuse about being hurt. He's a pet. Period. And he cost us more than yardage at key times. The kids a tease. You need to put your heart away and use your head when looking at his stats. I'm not writing the article's Adams has turned the corner. But I will say this. If he was a baseball player and had his name on an all-star ballet. He would be the least vote getter. He's a second round pick that has not played up to his potential. End of story!

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Samson's picture

October 27, 2016 at 07:59 pm

Abby gone!! -- What will the Pack do with only six WRs on the 53? -- All this unorthodox roster manipulations by TT (and MM) does not instill me with a lot of confidence. -- It smacks of fantasy type football. -- No NFL team needs 7 WRs or 4 FBs or 5 TEs. -- Enough of this $hit.

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Handsback's picture

October 28, 2016 at 07:25 am

Nice article and frankly it's the only way Green Bay will make a play-off challenge this year. The game against the Bears showed that MM could come up with something that would work in short order. Now that he has had a few more days to refine that offense, we will see how good it can be. Atlanta is a good team to try it on since they have a suspect defense.
Without Lacy to pound the ball, you almost have to have a threat out of the backfield. I don't think Starks/Davis/Rip or whoever the next RB is will scare defensive coordinators. Monty in the backfield does something else, keeps the LBs from dropping because they need to keep an eye on Monty when and if Rodgers gets him the ball. That should open those crossing routes across the middle and seams. Rotating the WRs after long routes to keep fresh legs in the game won't hurt either.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 28, 2016 at 07:51 am

I agree. Teams haven't had to focus on a RB out of the backfield in the Packers passing game like they have to now with the Packers offense.

What I like about Montgomery in the backfield is he is a mismatch for the other team. If they put a LB on him, he is to fast for them. If they put a safety on him, he is to fast for most. either way if they bring a player up to cover him, that opens stuff up down the field.

And if teams decide to play with 1 or no LB's, they can run the draw and gain 30 yards like they did against the Bears.

While Lacy has been very good to our offense. Having Montgomery in the backfield may turn out to be our most dangerous offense we have had in a while.

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