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.
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.
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