Green Bay Packers Progress Report: Where Do They Stand Heading into Week 6?
Things have not gone as planned for the Green Bay Packers.
Going into what is now a critical early game against the very tough Houston Texans, the Packers are in the situation of falling two games behind the Chicago Bears and three behind the Minnesota Vikings.
Then again, they were favored against the Colts this past weekend in a very winnable game.
It's all relative.
We'll talk about what the Packers can do to beat the Texans a bit later this week, but for now, it's time to see what we learned from last week and what we need to see this week.
Pressing at the Quarterback Spot
It has become more and more noticeable as the weeks go on, but it was really obvious this past Sunday.
He told Wilde, "I set the bar high and I expect to play at a higher level. (I’ve) been making just some mistakes I'm not used to making."
Rodgers needs to throttle it down a bit, and he knows it.
He cannot keep throwing into double and triple coverage as he has been the last few games. He has to be more judicious with his reads.
On top of that, right now, he, and we, have to accept that this offensive line is not playing well. He's going to have defenders (this week will be JJ Watt) in his face a lot.
So when he scrambles (and especially if he doesn't), he has to learn to recognize when it is time to throw the ball away.
You may remember when I broke down all the sacks after the Seahawks debacle? Some of those were on Rodgers. He has developed the tendency this year to hold onto the ball far too long.
He needs to know when to hold them, fold them and when to throw them away.
Against this very tough defense, he's going to have to be very conscious of it.
Benson Injury Changes the Game
The Packers were starting to the run the ball more effectively, and without Benson, it looks as if they need to go back to throwing more again.
The problem with this is that James Starks, Alex Green and occasionally Brandon Saine are not good pass-blockers.
One hopes Green can finally get up to speed on it, but this has always been an issue with Starks.
So if they have to throw more, Rodgers needs to be protected more often, and we have three backs who are not so good at blocking pass-rushers.
John Kuhn is more effective, but he doesn't bring much ability to run the ball, save in short-yardage situations.
How the Packers deal with the loss of Benson (something nobody thought would even be a worry preseason) could dictate how they rebound from an awful start.
Defense Isn't Generating Turnovers
Here's a disturbing stat courtesy of Journal-Sentinel writer Ty Dunne:
The Packers are the only team in the NFL that has not forced/recovered a fumble this season.
Now, what this means is, that they haven't forced a fumble they have recovered. They have indeed forced two fumbles, but they didn't get the ball. This is backed up by the stats at ESPN as well.
Of course, they had one unfairly taken away in the game against the New Orleans Saints, but that's still not a great number. They have been generating turnovers with interceptions (they have five so far), but they should have more and have dropped a bunch of picks throughout the course of the season.
Their turnover ratio is not what it should be, but then again, neither is the defense as a whole.
Watching Andrew Luck march the Colts down the field last weekend was disturbing because the Packers just had no answer for a young, inexperienced quarterback.
That Luck is a special quarterback even now is besides the point. The Packers defense is unable to stop anyone, especially when it counts.
They will have a huge test this weekend, but the results could be a little hard to look at.
The Packers are certainly not where anyone expected them to be at this early point in the season, but it's just Week 6. We'll have more to learn from them this weekend in what is a tough battle with one of the best teams in the league.
We'll take another look next week and see what progress they have made in righting the ship.
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