Facing a Detroit Lions defense that was missing its two best players — and simply not that talented of a unit to begin with — it seemed fair to question if Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ offense did not come out of their almost year long slump yesterday, then when would they?
Rodgers put that to rest after one half of football, looking like his old self again by throwing lasers on rhythm on his way to dominating a team in Lambeau Field in the first half. The Packers rolled their way to a 31-point first half behind four touchdown passes by Rodgers behind some critical adjustments by Mike McCarthy and his offensive staff.
McCarthy mixed his personnel, used the middle of the field, ran the ball more often and designed plays to get the ball out in three steps — all of which needed to be improved upon. Losing Jared Cook for a significant period of time could put a damper on two of those things, even though he has not posted good numbers yet, so the Packers should hold their breath there. Trevor Davis and Ty Montgomery may not have posted numbers either with additional playing time, but giving the defense speed to concern itself with opens up things. Davis did draw an important 66-yard pass interference penalty by flying past the defense.
Rodgers was clearly agitated during the week — if you saw his weekly press conference you know what I’m referencing — so this meant a lot to him, even though he downplayed it. Of course the NFL is a week to week league and it was against a defense that offered little resistance. What the Green Bay offense does over the course of the next month will certainly give us a better idea of where they stand than just this game. Just like panicking after Minnesota was over the top, declaring the offense “back” this week is going too far the other way, but it’s a first step that needed to be taken.
Jordy Nelson has looked better and better with each passing week, which is really the most important thing offensively right now. He certainly looked like his old self on his 49-yard catch and run over the middle to open the second drive of the game. His 16.8 per catch average is what you are looking for. The next step is getting Randall Cobb back in a groove after a slow start to the season.
You have to be able to tread water before you can swim and the Packers started treading at least. The best part about it was that this was more of a sustainable performance and not just Rodgers bailing out the offense with his exploits outside the pocket. People forget after the Minnesota debacle that the Packers moved the ball well against Jacksonville in the opener, but this game just looked and felt a little different. He made some plays outside, most notably his 33-yard pass to Cobb, but only when necessary.
The defense is likely to be the same as it usually is in Green Bay — just good enough to get by with. However, it will be the offense that will have to lead the Packers to the promise, and if that ends up happening we will look back at yesterday as the day things took a turn for the better.——————