Uncharacteristically this was an inconsistent Green Bay Packers’ offense in 2018, especially considering quarterback Aaron Rodgers was playing in every game.
A large contributor to the team’s overall disappointing record was their inefficiency in the red zone, which is something that we haven’t been accustomed to seeing from an Aaron Rodgers led offense.
Over his career, Rodgers has been one of the most efficient players in the red zone, but in 2018, what was lacking was effectiveness.
Now, some of the Packers’ issues were that they weren’t consistently making it into the red zone to begin with, but even when they did, they would struggle mightily.
On the season they finished 14th overall in red zone touchdown percentage at 61.7 percent, but this number was a bit inflated at the end of the season as they would spend much of the year in the bottom third of the league in this category.
For reference, the offense from 2017 that was led primarily by Brett Hundley, finished with touchdown 61.9 percent of the time they were in the red zone. A higher percentage than what we saw last season.
As Rodgers always does, he would take care of the football and throw 16 touchdowns to just one interception when inside the opponent’s 20. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story as he would complete only 44.26 percent of his pass attempts and finished with a quarterback rating of 86.4.
This was a far cry from the Rodgers we have seen in the red zone for much of his career.
With Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison injured for much of the season – outside of Davante Adams – the Packers biggest receiving threats were Jimmy Graham, Equanimeous St. Brown (EQ), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS). And perhaps the most egregious stat in this article is that between these three key players, they would total only five receptions and three touchdowns when in the red zone.
This absolutely has to change in 2019.
But like many of the Packers’ offensive issues in 2018, the play calling was a huge factor. How many times did we see Green Bay moving the ball with the running game only to become one dimensional once they crossed midfield?
Unfortunately, the same would hold true once in the red zone.
This imbalance clearly hurt the Packers offense as a whole, especially in the red zone and they just became predictable which as a result, also hurt the passing game as we saw.
With Graham, EQ, and MVS totaling just five catches, along with Jones and Williams carrying the ball a combined 31 times, without rewatching the film, I have to ask, where in the heck did the ball go when they were in the red zone?
Life in coach Matt LaFleur’s offense should make the jobs of everyone involved much easier, and I expect that it will. But with that said, if the red zone performance doesn’t improve from 2018, it’s hard to envision this team taking a big step forward in 2019.