At 5-3 it wouldn’t be hard to find 12 different opinions on the Green Bay Packers season. A few would be positive, a majority of them would be negative, but the conclusion is all the same. This is not the 2011 Green Bay Packers, and they aren’t even close to the team they used to be just a year ago. Aaron Rodgers has been inconsistent, and that has a lot to do with injuries to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. While Rodgers has been off at times this season, the Packers continue to struggle with running the ball. It appeared they had an answer with Cedric Benson, but just 6 weeks into the season he was lost with an ankle injury. As for the Packers defense, well as crazy as it sounds they are worse than they were last season. They continue to get torched by the pass and unlike last season they aren’t forcing many turnovers. As Green Bay enters the 2nd half of their season they should be satisfied with a 5-3 (or 6-2 record) considering how they have played. Just think if it weren’t for that hideous call on Monday Night Football, this season would have a completely different feel.
I talked about it briefly in the overview, but the Packers offense isn’t even remotely close to the historic level they achieved just a year ago. Now I’m not saying that I expected them to be as sensational, but the level of inconsistency has been horrid. We saw what Aaron Rodgers could do when he was hot, we saw it when he picked apart the Texans secondary for 6 touchdown passes. While he followed that up with a 3 touchdown game against the Rams, his performance against the Jaguars was sub par to say the least. I know the blame shouldn’t all be put on Rodgers, his offensive line ranks 31st in the NFL with 26 sacks allowed. The pressure Aaron Rodgers has faced every week is even more severe when he doesn’t have his top weapons to throw to. Greg Jennings who hasn’t played since Week 4, had abdominal surgery which will sideline him another 3 weeks. Jordy Nelson had a slow start but finally broke out against the Texans, only to be sidelined against the Jaguars with a hamstring injury, although he isn’t expected to miss much time. While Nelson and Jennings have missed time, Randall Cobb and James Jones have been big time as replacements. Jones tied a Packers record with 3 consecutive 2 touchdown games, and Cobb has turned into the next Darren Sproles. When it comes to the Packers running game, they finally found their short yardage back in Cedric Benson. While Benson was never going to be the 100 yard back this team hasn’t had in 2 years, he could be relied upon inside the 10 and for short yardage situations. Benson started slowly, but really started to impress coaches and fans up until he hurt his ankle against the Indianapolis Colts. While Benson isn’t out for the year, he likely won’t make it back before the playoffs. In his place 2nd year RB Alex Green has been disappointing. In 3 games as the starting RB Green has 64 carries, but for a disappointing 154 rushing yards (2.4 YPC). I give the Packers credit for trying to make the defense honest, but any smart defensive coordinator will simply play coverage, and make Alex Green beat them. There is no denying there is some serious talent on offense when healthy, but without some of their top targets and with bad protection, they just aren’t the same team.
Aaron Rodgers: 205 completions of 297 attempts for 2,165 yards//21 TD’s 4 INT’s
Alex Green: 76 carries for 219 yards
Cedric Benson: 71 carries for 248 yards// 1 TD
Randall Cobb: 42 receptions for 463 yards//4 TD’s
Jordy Nelson: 40 receptions for 532 yards//5 TD’s
James Jones: 36 receptions for 401 yards//7 TD’s
I don’t even know where I can begin to start with this repulsive defense. You would think at this stage, there would be something this defense could do well, but in reality there isn’t. While statistics may show that Green Bay only ranks 17th in the NFL against the pass, allowing 232 yards per game, it is more than that. This is a defense that just gave up 300 yards to Blaine Gabbert of all people, and was torched on multiple occasions by Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. The struggles in the secondary are magnified even more when you consider they went from leading the league in interceptions in 2011 to the fringe of interceptions this season. Like the offense this team has dealt with a plethora of injuries; S Charles Woodson will miss the next 5 weeks with a broken collarbone, Sam Shields is dealing with a shin injury, and 1st round pick Nick Perry is still out with a knee injury. When you tack those injuries on to a team that lost their leading tackler last year (Desmond Bishop) before the season and backup MLB D.J Smith in Week 6, there are serious problems. There are playmakers on this defense, and once they get healthy they could get back to a high level. The problem for the Packers remains the same as last year though, their failure to communicate on a weekly basis. Blown coverages, missed reads, and miscommunications have been the down fall for the Packers for the past 2 seasons. If Green Bay can’t get the problem fixed it won’t matter who they have in the secondary, they will keep giving up the big plays. I’m not saying the Packers need to play at an elite level defensively to contend in the NFC, but it would go a long way in helping out their offense.
A.J Hawk: 62 tackles
Morgan Burnett: 60 tackles
Tramon Williams: 41 tackles
Clay Matthews: 9 sacks
C.J Wilson: 2.5 sacks
Nick Perry/Jerel Worthy: 2 sacks
Casey Hayward: 4 interceptions
Tramon Williams: 2 interceptions
Charles Woodson/Sam Shields: 1 interception