Put Up or Shut Time for The Packers: 1st Quarter Grades for the Offense
As the season continues we still seem to be engrossed in the whole Favre thing which is a load of crap to be honest. It’s time to put away the hankies, blow out the torches, and call off the lynch mobs; the guy is gone, and he plays for the Vikings, the story is old, it’s time to focus on this season with the team of today!
That goes for both the fans and the players.
The first marking period report card has about as much diversity as the U.N. with grades that the team can be proud of, and grades that they’d rather not mention; it’s time to put up or shut up Packers.
Let’s take a closer look.
There are five grades to look at here and we obviously want to start with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has been nothing short of stellar despite not wearing a number four, but if there is any doubt that this guy is the real deal, please feel free to limp to the table with your argument.
Rodgers has withstood a league high 20 sacks, and that’s with one less game than the majority. But despite this utterly embarrassing stat, Rodgers has done what any true leader does, and that’s, well, lead this team—period!
Has he won four games? No, kind of hard to do when ya give up 20 sacks, but what Rodgers has done is this:
77 for 127 which equate to a 60.3% completion rate racking up 1,098 yards, and six TDs with only one INT in only four games—that’s money!
QB Grade: A-
The second section is the WR department. The wideouts have done a good job of adjusting to the type of pressure Rodgers has had to face, but ultimately haven’t been spectacular.
When a WR has to adjust to a QB on the move, they must be certain they are going to be a reliable set of hands; something the WRs have sort of ”dropped the ball” on.
Still, they have been for the most part a group that can be counted on in the clutch—if this weren’t true Rodgers would have a lower completion rate and far less yards after four games.
They have had good separation at the line of scrimmage, and can get into the open field when needed. They have shown (when I say they, I mainly speak of Jennings and Driver) that there is no question that they are deceptively good, but their opportunities have been limited so far given what the Packers could be doing.
The TEs have also been a bright spot in the receiving aspect of the game, especially rookie Jermichael Finley.
The trouble with the TEs is the lack luster blocking on the outside when they are assigned to do so. They must get a better handle on holding the block, and not opening up the lanes or allowing guys to get around them, and, if guys come free they must make themselves more available as a check down option for Rodgers instead of just standing around with their empty hands on their hips.
WR/TE Grade C+
Our third look is the ground game, which has been serviceable but not all that it can be in my opinion. The Packers are averaging just fewer than 24 attempts a game which is a good amount, but they struggle to open up the gaps for Grant and company, and Grant himself needs a little fire under his you know what.
Still, the Packers are averaging 99.5 yards a game with 399 total yards, and are currently ranked 22nd overall in the NFL. There can be some major headway with the Lions and the Browns on deck in the next two weeks, and if the ground game can be a bit more intimidating, imagine what the passing game will be like then?
Ground Game: C+
Our final stop is literally the end of the line, and it is the Achilles heel of the offense.
The Offensive line has been—to say the least—embarrassing. They’ve looked confused, unsure, overwhelmed, and it has shown in their execution. To their credit, they have had a major change in blocking schemes from zone to man which is NOT an easy thing to accomplish, but still.
The Tackles have yet to play in unison with each other. If the right side fails, the left side comes through and vice-versa. They have not yet shown they can deal with the speed rushers of the league even if they have help.
They have also had huge problems opening up lanes for the ground game which makes them less of a threat, and allows opposing team to send that extra man that would otherwise stay home in in lieu of the play action.
Mark Tauscher returns, and I pray to Lombardi the Packers learned their lesson by cutting a sure thing. He should provide some leadership and support, but if the Packers don’t get things straight now, Rodgers will not last the season.
Overall Offensive Grade: C+
The Packers have had an entire week off to think about everything and fix some of their problems—a week in the NFL is a long time—so there should be no excuses when they come out of the gate to face Detroit.
If the Packers can put all of their focus on protection and winning there is no reason to think they can’t be among the best in the NFC.
Tomorrow, we will look at the defense’s report card, and see whether or not it should be hung on the fridge.
For a Fantasy Football outlook at Rodgers and Green Bay visit my column here.
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