No panic, though Packers look to boost offense

Sept. 25, 2014

 

In this Sept. 21, 2014, file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers watches the game on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. Rodgers is urging panicked fans to be calm. The Packers hope they can punch up their offense ahead of a divisional game against the Chicago Bears.

GREEN BAY — Jordy Nelson hears the concerns among the Packers' fan base about Green Bay's sputtering offense.

The receiver gets it.

He's not happy about the output, either, just like the rest of the team.

But there is no panic in Green Bay.

"I don't think anyone's happy with how we performed," Nelson said. "But yeah, we've got to stay calm, and we'll stay the course and keep working at it and get better and hopefully go out and play better on Sunday."

There is plenty of room for improvement after the performance last week in a 19-7 loss to Detroit.

Green Bay's 223 yards of total offense were the team's lowest total since a 184-yard outing on Nov. 9, 2008, in a 28-27 loss to Minnesota.

The 51 offensive plays against the Lions were well below the goal of 75 that coach Mike McCarthy likes to run in his up-tempo, no-huddle scheme.

"Our biggest thing right now is production. Our offense really isn't where we would like it to be," McCarthy said.

The Packers have faced three tough defenses to start the season in the Seahawks, Jets and Lions.

Still, the offensive woes are a bit surprising considering how well the team felt about the offense coming out of the preseason.

Detroit Lions defensive end Devin Taylor, top, stops Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, center, during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.

Now, there are a few pressing issues to address.

For instance, at receiver:

—Nelson is the biggest downfield threat for now. Randall Cobb had three short touchdown receptions the first two weeks, but otherwise hasn't had more than 58 yards receiving in each of his first three games.

—Green Bay has had limited success with its third receivers, Jarrett Boykin or rookie Davante Adams.

"It's kind of play to play," Adams said when asked about issues with the offense. "Somebody might drop the ball, somebody might miss a block, something like that. But ultimately everything goes hand in hand, so you've got to pull all the pieces together to create good drives and good plays."

Rodgers has completed 62.7 percent of passes through three games. For whatever reason, he noted, the Packers don't usually get off to fast starts.

On his weekly radio appearance Tuesday on ESPN radio in Milwaukee, Rodgers urged calm.

"Five letters here, just for everybody out there in Packer land: R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We're going to be OK," he said.

He sounded a similar tone on Wednesday.

"There (are) high expectations here for us every year. But we've underachieved on offense, so you understand it," Rodgers said Wednesday. "But I think it's just a reminder that it's a long season and all of our goals are in front of us and within reach."

About the fourth, fifth or sixth game is when the Packers usually find their stride, he estimated. The Bears game will be the fourth for Green Bay.

"We can't rely on that every year because that just makes it tough," Rodgers added. "But for whatever reason, that's kind of been the way our season has gone."

   

New York Jets' Dawan Landry (26) stops Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.

Green Bay hasn't been able to get its running game on track. It wasn't working well even when the Lions played back with two safeties and left fewer defenders closer to the line of scrimmage.

Running back Eddie Lacy said Wednesday he was working on keeping his pads low. Theoretically, that would make Lacy a more compact target who would be tougher to tackle.

Last year's Offensive Rookie of the Year, Lacy, is averaging just 3.1 yards on his 36 carries. Without a running game, play action becomes less of a viable option.

"It'll get better throughout the course of the season, but nobody really expected ... we'd run the ball the way we have the past few times," Lacy said. "Everybody expected more."

Notes: LB Clay Matthews (groin) practiced on a limited basis after getting hurt against Detroit. LB Brad Jones (quad) returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out last week. ... CB Davon House, WR Jarrett Boykin and RT Bryan Bulaga, who each have knee injuries, were full participants.












 

Associated Press