Going into the bye week, I think I can speak for most Packers fans when I say: we're disappointed. After the preseason the Packers had, a 2-2 record was not what fans, not to mention many NFL analysts, expected. The two losses were only by a combined two touchdowns, but in both Monday night's loss to the Vikings and to the Bengals three weeks ago, the Packers were thoroughly outplayed. Both offensively and defensively, the Packers have looked eerily similar to last year's 6-10 team. One word: inconsistent. However, there are a few things that would greatly improve this team. If the Packers are able to accomplish these goals, and that's a big if, they should be able to get back in the NFC North race.
1. Fix the offensive line
This is the most obvious of the 2009 Packers' flaws. Simply put, if this pace continues, the Packers' 2009 offensive line will go down as the worst squad in NFL history. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 20 times in four games. 20 times! That means Rodgers is on is way to getting sacked 80 times this year. That would easily set the NFL record for most sacks in a year.
2. Find a consistent running game
Poor offensive line=no running game. No running game=more passing. More passing=Aaron Rodgers getting sacked even more. Yep, having an inconsistent offensive line can lead to a vicious circle. That's the case with the Packers. Add the fact that Ryan Grant is not a great running back and you really have a problem. If he gets holes, Grant is fine. He is definitely no Adrian Peterson however. Grant is not able to create plays by himself and that, along with their line problems, leads to an awful run game. Fixing the o-line should be the first priority, but finding themselves another running back would help too.
3. Keep Blitzing
Watching the Packers play the Bears in Week 1, I thought this new 3-4 defense was the answer. The defense harassed Jay Cutler all night, constantly pressuring him and forcing poor throws. Cutler's line that night? 17-36, 1 TD, 4 INT. The key to their defensive success was the blitz. Watching them play against the Vikings last Monday, I couldn't believe I was watching the same team. The Packers got absolutely no pressure on Favre. The statistics say it all. Favre's line? 24-31, 271 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT. The key to this defense is pressuring the quarterback and if they aren't able to do that, 30 points a game could be the norm.
The Packers have an enormous amount of talent. Enough to get to the Super Bowl? Debatable. Enough to get to the playoffs? Certainly. They have been playing below their ability and for them to get back on track, they must improve certain qualities. Otherwise, it will be another disappointing season for Packers fans.