How to Fix the Packers

During the offseason, head coach Mike McCarthy said he wanted to have a defensive that was better than the offense. A top 10 defense is something that fans have been screaming for since the 2010 Super Bowl season. Through 5 games, the defense has actually played decent so far to start the season, outside of playing poorly in the first half of the Washington Redskins game. On offense, this team looks out of sync with the leagues best player guiding the ship. They have gotten off to slow starts, turnovers killed them in the Lions game, guys running wrong routes and dropping passes.

McCarthy brought back Joe Philbin this offseason to rejuvenate the offense. According to McCarthy, he has mentioned numerous times that they scrubbed the offense down and got back to the basics. The offense is averaging 23 points per game which ranks 18th in the entire league. They are 10th with 299 passing yards per game and 19th with 101 rushing yards per game. Nothing to write home about, as this is not the type of offense that fans are accustomed to witnessing under Aaron Rodgers. So how can they get the train on the right tracks?

Here are some suggestions to fix the Packers.

Quick Passes

Looking back on the first 5 games, when the offense was moving and looking to be on somewhat of the same page, was in the second half of week 1 against the Chicago Bears. Yes, the Packers were down and Rodgers was injured. But what McCarthy and Philbin did was speed up the offense and used short quick passes to get the ball of our Rodgers hands and get the receivers open. Get the ball to the playmakers and let them run. A simple concept. The yards over catch is what the Packers receivers and offense has been so successful at in the past. Quick passes will neutralize the defense, keep Rodgers from getting hit and help the offensive line in protection.

Run the Ball with your best Running Back

Without knowing anything else, if you heard that the Packers were averaging 101 rushing yards per game, that fan base would think it is a good thing, correct? Yes, it is a good thing, but those rushing yards are being equally distributed between Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, and Aaron Jones. Head Coach Mike McCarthy has stated that Aaron Jones is the third back on the depth chart. As has been written in numerous places and on Twitter, Aaron Jones is clearly the most talented running back of the three to everyone outside of 1265 Lombardi.

Jones has looked fantastic every time he touches the football. Looks explosive and a back who is destined to carry the workload. Since week 3, Jones has 24 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown. That is an average of 6.1 yards per attempt, the highest of the three running backs. Jones is a playmaker and could be the difference in getting this offense and season turned around. It seems like every time he carries the ball three times in row and has positive gains, McCarthy takes him out for one of the other backs.

Jones needs to be the featured back with Williams spelling him for breather. McCarthy and Philbin need to get creative on offense and one way to do that is to utilize the full talent of Jones and Montgomery. Jones should be the primary running and Montgomery used as a pass catching threat out of the backfield, which would also help the receiving corps and give the defense something else to think about. Rodgers has stated that Jones is talented, it is time McCarthy gives him the opportunity and gets this team and offense rolling.

Get Creative

Against the Lions the Packers offense was without Cobb and Allison, two of their top three wide receivers, so the rookie receivers were asked to step in and play bigger roles. With McCarthy scrubbing the offense all the way down this offseason, it seems like the offense has not evolved. Drives are stalling, players are running the same routes, and the receivers just do not seem to be on the same page as QB1. Rodgers is the smartest player on the team and in the NFL. McCarthy needs to get creative on offense to keep Rodgers in tune and challenged.

Ty Montgomery is a versatile weapon that should be used differently than he is currently being used. Also, Mercedes Lewis should be utilized more in the offensive scheme. The more weapons that Rodgers has to throw to the better this offense will open up against defenses. Also, the Packers should be consistently getting points when in the red zone with Adams, Cobb, Graham, Allison, and Aaron Jones. Some creativity with Jimmy Graham would open things up there as well.

Remember when the Packers had Jared Cook and the offense was explosive going down the field with the tight end? Philbin and McCarthy need to get back to using the tight end to open things up down the middle and on the outside for the receivers. They can do this by incorporating Jimmy Graham into the game plan. There should be plays designed to get him open and the ball. Some more creativity on offense will keep the defenses guessing on what the Packers are doing. Running a draw play on third and eleven is not going to cut it as everyone knows that is what you are doing.

We are just over a quarter of the way through the season. There is still time for McCarthy and Rodgers to right the ship and get this team back on track. The changes need to happen this week against the San Francisco 49ers and then cleaned up and worked on during the bye week.

Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag

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14 thoughts on “How to Fix the Packers

  1. I agree with everything you wrote, but unfortunately McCarthy and Rodgers won’t do any of it. They are too stubborn, set in their ways and convinced they know better than anybody else what the Packers need to be successful.

    I’d bet a lot of money we continue to see the same old-same old this next game.

    1. I agree. This has gone on too long. We fumble around until we have to win out to make the playoffs. Take away the Super Bowl run and playoffs have been a missed opportunity. Drafting at the bottom has hurt. I said this with Farve and I will with Rodgers. If you do not go all in to win, then maybe we do a fire sale with the team and get all the picks you can and load up for two or three years in the draft and then build from the top of the draft. Any player not under 24 with trade value would go. Vic was right what was the rush signing Rodgers.

  2. We are only one of 3 teams in the NFL that are in the top 10 in both total offense & total defense. If we get on the positive side of the turnover differential we will win games, it as simple as that since TO differential is easily the variable that is most predictive of the outcome of any NFL game.

  3. Agree especially about the tight end and the middle of the field. Defenses want you to run plays to the sideline. The sideline is an extra defender. Most games they fall behind and have to go into hurry up mode. Why not just run hurry up all of the time?

    1. Agree with TE’s and hurry up offense si Rodgers reads the coverage by getting to the line quickly. Defenses cant sub then and our players then react and think less. It does work

  4. It’s like McCarthy has a certain idea of what he wants to do and is too damn stubborn to change it up for what the situation calls for. It happens over and over and over and over and over . . . well, you get the point.

  5. You never stop running the ball if the team defending you can not stop the run. You do not throw. It is like swinging at a 3-0 pitch. Any coach should know this fact alone. Look at the last game and we were running it with Jones for most of a drive only to have it stop and get pass happy.

    1. I so agree with that. It’s like “We don’t have to stop the Packers run. We’ll just wait until they give us another chance to hit Rodgers.”

  6. Decent article….but let me sum it up for you. Fire Fat Mike! Why does no one within the organization realize this?! Run game opens up the pass game. Give the rock to Jones and let him open that play action for Rodgers. Please let me come coach just one game so I can prove how terrible McCarthy is.

    1. You’re right on fat mcmike. The run game for us has been good, and it certainly slows up the pass rush and play action. MM just doesn’t get it. Watch Sunday to verify this. If we get behind by 10 or more points it will be all pass.

  7. Give the ball to Jones, sit Kentrell Brice, have someone other than McCarthy call the plays, and please, for the love of all things holy, DON’T SEND YOUR KICKER OUT TO KICK A 56 YARDER IF HES ALREADY MISSED 2+.

  8. This team needs to get back to more play from under center. Cutback on shotgun. Start being honest to a run game, stop running deep routes and do more slants, shallow crosses etc. Bring back the screen passes.
    Get back to a rhythm type offense and do multiple looks with formation. They have Graham and lewis to do double tight end, twin tight end sets. At this point try lewis or graham at a hybrid type fb/te… It’s a waste of money to have lewis sitting and not put there helping with Run blocking. He is a great blocker. They can even put lewis at Tight end and have graham at x, than let adams play the z. Use him everywhere. Adams should be in the slot so they have miss matches.. no linebacker can cover adams.
    Get creative mike

  9. I guess that Gute had his own ideas to improve the team. He traded away two players that weren’t part of the future….Dix and Montgomery……for an advantage in the draft next year.
    I don’t think you’re going to win it all with two rookies and a second year guy in the secondary. But NEXT year, we’re going to have two 3rd year guys…Whitehead and King, and second year guys Jackson and Alexander. My guess is that Whitehead and Tramon and Brice are our safeties for the rest of the way this year.
    Montgomery…..too bad he’ll be forever remembered for a terminal brain fart. He’s a smart guy, but that was just not a smart move. Allegedly, ARod Himself chewed his a** saying “take a f******g knee”. So he wasn’t really wanted around anymore. He’s a guy with a lot of offensive tools who changed positions to help the team and this is how it ends up.
    If the Packers and Rodgers, etc., are serious about trying to win this year….and they SHOULD be considering they’re only 1/2 game out at mid-season…….need to make two corrections:
    This team is putting too many eggs in the Rodgers basket. We could lighten the load by handing it off more. I favor a shift from the 3-1-1 Pistol to a double TE 2-2-1 and force the opponent to stop your run. Right now, teams do not have to stop our run because if they just wait long enough, we’ll give up and give them a chance to sack Rodgers.
    Double TE would leave the WR opposite of Adams….probably Cobb….in single coverage quite a bit of the time. It would also match up Graham with a safety and that might get him more involved.
    And a seven man line requires you to put 8 defenders in the box if you plan on having a hope of stopping the run.
    The second is that the offense needs to tighten it up. Our defense is the LEAST penalized defense in the league. Our offense is one of the MOST penalized, giving away over 70 yards a game. Plus the sacks, where we’re also worse than average, mostly because Rodgers doesn’t unload the rock because he’s trying to hit a home run. And the turnovers, where we’re not as good as usual but still better than average.
    You add those things together, and we’re our own worst enemy on offense. We stop ourselves.

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