Jclombardi highlights Packers headlines.
Packers perplexed by inconsistent offense: There’s one nagging, perplexing concern in Green Bay these days: What’s wrong with the offense? A high-powered unit that one year ago set a franchise record for points scored (461) and produced a 4,000-yard passer in Aaron Rodgers, a 1,000-yard rusher in Ryan Grant and two 1,000-yard receivers in Greg Jennings and Donald Driver has been plagued by mistakes and inconsistencies. Injuries have been a factor. But halfway through the season, the offense just isn’t clicking and the reasons go far beyond the season-ending injuries to Grant and play-making TE Finley.The glitches showed in a 9-0 victory over the New York Jets, a game won mainly with a superb defensive effort and solid special-teams play. The best thing that could be said about the offense was that it didn’t turn the ball over. The worrisome thing is that the Packers have had eight games to make corrections, tighten up their fundamentals in the running game and their timing in the passing game and get the offense in sync. But, so far, it hasn’t happened.
Offense searches for answers: As well as the Packers’ defense and special teams performed in Sunday’s win over the mighty New York Jets, the same burning question remained: Why is the team’s offense so badly out of sync? Entering Sunday night’s game against the reeling Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field, the Packers offense is pedestrian in every way: It ranks 13th in scoring (22.0 points per game), 16th in total yards per game (335.9), 22nd in rushing yards per game (97.0), in a seven-way tie for 10th in yards per rush (4.2), 10th in passing yards per game (238.9) and tied for 14th in sacks allowed (16). “You can tend to get a little too technical. We just were not very fundamentally sound as an offense,” said McCarthy, who said he oversimplified the offense expecting extensive blitzing from the Jets. “We felt that we just weren’t very sharp, whether it was finishing blocks, certain reads, depth of routes and so forth.We need to get back to just playing football the right way and not worrying about what the other side’s doing. We did not play to our standard on offense.”
Notebook– Green’s pays off: New defensive lineman Howard Green spent several hours working with Mike Trgovac on Friday and Saturday; plus, more news from the Monday after the 9-0 win over the Jets. Return relay–With Pat Lee already ruled out for Sunday night’s game against Dallas because of an ankle injury, the Packers will need to find a kickoff returner. The options, according to special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum, are going back to Jordy Nelson, using No. 3 running back Dimitri Nance or adding another job for starting cornerback and punt returner Tramon Williams. Going to Nelson would be the obvious decision but he’s got an expanded role on offense with Donald Driver missing the second half of Sunday’s game with a quad injury. Injury updates–Coach McCarthy said Driver being “questionable” for practice this week. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t miss time with a sprained ankle. The training staff was examining tight end Andrew Quarless’ shoulder sprain, but McCarthy said the training staff didn’t think it was serious. Four-point stance–Packers have until Nov. 8 to make a decision on Harris, Bigby and Starks who remain on the physically unable to perform list. The choices are add them to the 53-man roster, put them on injured reserve, or release them. Game balls went to Greg Jennings on offense, the entire defense and defensive coaching staff on defense and punter Tim Masthay on special teams. Safety Anthony Smith, whose diving stop prevented punter Steve Weatherford from converting a fourth-and-18 on a fake punt, received the big hit award.
Analysis: Team more upbeat than this time last season: A year ago, the Green Bay Packers were sitting at the .500 mark halfway through their regular-season schedule. They’re only one game better at the midway point of this season, but after Sundays 9-0 road victory at the New York Jets, there’s a different feeling around Lambeau Field. They’re only one game better at the midway point of this season, but after Sunday’s 9-0 road victory at the New York Jets and given the circumstances surrounding this season, there’s a different feeling around Lambeau Field. At 5-3, the Packers have a half-game lead over Chicago (4-3) in the NFC North and are tied with New Orleans for the fourth-best record in the NFC. Last season, coach McCarthy said he rallied the team to an 11-5 finish and a wild-card playoff berth by sticking to his principles and staying consistent with his approach. That had to be especially challenging this season after losing 10 players, including five starters, to season-ending injuries. Thompson has had to shuffle the roster, while McCarthy and his assistants have had to spend more time teaching schemes to new players, something normally reserved for training camp. Last week alone, Thompson acquired four new players — two off waivers and two off the street. All but one played against the Jets. Defensive lineman Howard Green played nearly half the snaps, and linebacker Erik Walden played on some key third down snaps.