Passed up: Packers press for answers for offensive problems

Associated Press

November 28, 2015

Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb catches a pass in front of Chicago Bears' Bryce Callahan (37) during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday in Green Bay.

GREEN BAY - Packers coach Mike McCarthy says there is no magic formula to get Green Bay back on track following its fourth loss in five games.

It's not the play calling, he said. Rather, it's the execution of those plays.

"Frankly, I think too much is made of scheme," McCarthy said on Friday morning, less than 12 hours after a 17-13 loss. "At the end of the day, it's about running your routes or defending the route or blocking your guy or getting off the block and eventually tackling the guy and getting the football.

"When you have a chance to get your hands on the football, you've got to take advantage of it," McCarthy said.

After starting the season 6-0, the Packers have fallen to 7-4. The major reason why is a malfunctioning offense, despite the presence of Aaron Rodgers.

After leading the league in points last season, Green Bay is scoring about seven points less per game this season. In three of the losses this month, it scored 10 points vs. Denver, 16 vs. Detroit and 13 vs. Chicago. In the other loss, the Packers finished with 29 points against Carolina, but needed a late rally after failing to gain a first down on seven of the first 12 possessions.

Two-time MVP quarterback Rodgers' accuracy is indicative of the offense's problems. He completed 51.2 percent of his passes against the Bears, with his 53.8 percent in five November games being the worst rate of his career.

On Thursday, James Jones didn't catch any of the six passes thrown his way, and fellow receiver Davante Adams caught just two of the 11 for 14 yards. There also were plenty of drops in the wet conditions.

"We're just on different pages," Rodgers said after the game. "When you miss throws, when I'm throwing at a certain depth and the receiver's running a certain depth, obviously we're on different pages. So we need to have some better communication and make sure there's not those discrepancies in the depths and the adjustments."

Compounding those problems, the Packers had two turnovers a fumble by Eddie Lacy and an interception on a pass from Rodgers to Adams after entering the game with a league-low six. McCarthy said both turnovers were the result of sloppy play.

The offense took a step back following a 30-13 victory at Minnesota on Sunday, which temporarily moved the Packers back into a first-place tie in the NFC North.

The Packers have to solve their issues in a hurry with a game at surging Detroit on Thursday. After a 1-7 start, the Lions have won three in a row, a streak that started with their upset win at Lambeau Field on Nov. 15.

"The reality is we're not that far off," McCarthy said. "It's the attention and the details. Our issues are technique and discipline in the technique, and quit worrying so much about the plays. Just win the route or win the play called."