26

September

Will a Lack of Creativity Doom the Packers’ Offense?

Mike McCarthy Aaron Rodgers Offense Creativity

Has Mike McCarthy’s offense gone stale?

Ever since Mike McCarthy took over as head coach, the Green Bay Packers have prided themselves on being one of the most explosive offensive teams in the National Football League.

Since his first year with the Packers in 2006, McCarthy’s teams have scored 3,093 regular season points.  This includes the three games so far in 2013, so this covers 115 regular season games.  This means Green Bay has averaged around 26.9 points per game.  That’s a pretty good number.

McCarthy and both quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have consistently found ways to keep the Green Bay offense at or near the top of the NFL for nearly eight years now, a remarkable feat in a league that has parity in the spotlight every season.

Is that run of offensive dominance about to come to a close or at the very least a slowdown? The early signs seem to be saying yes.

What has been one common theme for Rodgers besides wins and gaudy statistics since he took over in 2008? Sacks.

Rodgers was sacked 50 times or more twice in his first five full seasons as the Green Bay starter and is on pace to be sacked more than 50 times again this year. Of course, there are some reasons the Packers or their fans may throw out there in defense of these rather ugly numbers. Take the injuries, for one. Bryan Bulaga has once again found himself on injured reserve and the team has also seen the retirement/departure of line staples Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher.

Then there is the offensive line shakeup that took place over the course of this past offseason. That will take time for the players to adjust to their new roles right?  Sorry, not buying it.

By shuffling the offensive line around, McCarthy has done little else but put lipstick on a pig and that pig has been causing trouble for the Packers going on five years now. Green Bay has failed to settle on a solid, set-in-stone offensive line and it’s holding the team back.

Throw in the fact that Rodgers still has yet to really break his habit of holding the ball too long at times and it starts become clear what the problem on the offense really is.

Green Bay has become stagnant on offense, as in they’re not being innovative on the offensive side of the ball.

How could this be? It was widely believed McCarthy was one of the most “creative” offensive minds in the NFL. That might be true, but he has another attribute that easily can override that creativity: stubbornness.

To use just one play as an example, how often on 3rd and 1 do we see the John Kuhn fullback dive called? Everyone can see it coming a mile away that Kuhn is going up the gut yet McCarthy keeps on calling it. That play needs to be taken out of the playbook and burned.

It’s not on the offense per se, but McCarthy also stuck by Mason Crosby far too long.  He shouldn’t have even finished the season in Green Bay yet McCarthy played with fire and kept the kicker on the team.  The strong start he has had so far is irrelevant. It’s good to see, but again he had no business staying in a Packer uniform during that hideous slump last season.

Next, take a look at how the Packers line up. There are very few new formations the Packers have tried nor is there much difference in routes the receivers are running. McCarthy is still using his playbook from 2009-2010 with few new wrinkles.

Some of that has to do with eroding depth on the receiving unit thanks to the departure of Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.  While McCarthy can’t necessarily try things with the “Big Five” that he used to a few years back thanks to an erosion of depth, there is still sufficient talent there that he could work with. Has anyone heard from Jarrett Boykin so far this season? Is he even still on the team?

More proof of McCarthy’s stubbornness leading to a lack of creativity is the use of Randall Cobb. This might seem like absolute crazy talk to many fans, but look at the big picture here. Cobb is a rare physical specimen. He is to the Packers what Percy Harvin used to be to the Vikings, except Cobb doesn’t suffer constantly from migraines and is a solid guy off the field.

Cobb is at the point in his development and career where he needs to be unleashed.  It goes just beyond lining him up in the backfield every once in a while or having him run different routes.  Cobb is the biggest threat in the passing game right now (sorry Jordy Nelson) and he needs to be utilized to his full potential.

Line him up all over.  Use him in motion at different places. Just do something with him.  Cobb is off to a very strong start, but he is probably not being utilized to his full potential. The Packers may be hesitant thanks to the team’s horrible luck with injuries but if McCarthy truly has the fertile offensive mind everyone thinks he has,  then he can use Cobb in ways that will utterly confound opposing defenses.

Then there’s the quarterback. Rodgers is one of the most gifted quarterbacks to play the game in a long time.  His arm, smarts and overall athleticism make him one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL today.  Between Cobb’s versatility and Rodgers’ athleticism, McCarthy’s mind should be working overtime with all the different ways to utilize both very dangerous weapons yet it seems like we see the same playbook year after year with little change. While there is some truth to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” view of the Packers’ offense, the team is still leaving way too many points on the board.

With a defense still struggling with consistency, Green Bay needs every point it can get.

There is saying that “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.” For much of McCarthy’s time as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, his offense and team have been green and growing.

Now that he’s in his eighth year at the helm, the Packers are entering a phase where they are in danger of going ripe and beginning to rot.  Any team that has had the same regime in place for so many years faces a similar crossroads at some point in time.  It’s whether they try something new and beginning to grow again or stick to the same old dogma and hope for the best that determines how long that regime sticks around.

McCarthy isn’t going anywhere any time soon, no matter how loudly hysterical Packers fans may complain.  That said, the Packers need some new innovations on offense if they hope to remain one the biggest juggernauts the NFL has ever seen. Rodgers gives you a chance to win any game, but relying solely on the quarterback to dig you out of a mess doomed the Packers in the early-to-mid-2000s.

Packer fans better hope that history doesn’t repeat itself if they want a fifth Lombardi Trophy.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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92 Responses to “Will a Lack of Creativity Doom the Packers’ Offense?”

  1. tim says:

    I’ve got to think that McCarthy and tt will adjust. While I agree with the theme that you’re either getting better or getting worse, and sometimes long established systems stagnate, I think each season and each game present many opportunities to change and reverse momentum. McCarthy and tt are resistant to abrupt change, and the steady approach has so far served them well. The seeming inability to adapt within the game might be (and is) a result of any number of things, some that we don’t know about. I remember the last superbowl season being one of nearly missed play-offs, lot of injuries, lot of criticism of mccarthy for predictability, and bad gameplan, tt for not going out and replenishing talent…a lot like the trend so far this year. I got to believe things will and are working their way out.

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    • Lee Hillman says:

      After being a die hard Packer fan for over 50 years but never seeing a game in person, I finally sprang for big bucks and took my spouse to Cincy to finally see a game in person and was terribly disappointed. A coach and his staff watch films and plan a game plan but the players have to properly execute those plans. Poor play or execution of the designated call is not on the coaching staff but on the players themselves. Injuries aside, backups must play to their best ability and be ready to enter the flow of the game at any moment and rise to the occasion and perform! Players play and coaches coach and after watching Rodgers and the Packers execute many plays poorly, I was truly disappointed in the overall performance of the offense and somewhat mystified at the execution. Multimillion dollar athletes never the less are human and fail but will rise again if they can learn from their mistakes and move forward. I will continue to live and die with every snap of the ball and accept the star’s humanness but will not throw the team under the bus if the football doesn’t bounce my teams and the coaches way! Many of us ought to remember or research not too many years ago after the Lombardi years that the Packers stunk and the Bears kicked butt but the creme finally rose to the top once more and we have gotten to once again enjoy many glory days. A true fan sticks even when our team stinks and a passing fan of fancy ebbs and flows with victory or loss. Statistics tell one story but the true story is the heart put into every offensive and defensive play by every player and the adulation that results by every fan! Heartbreak often is eased by the next play or game as the ebb and flow of the team’s execution of the Coach’s plays move from the playbook to the players’ ability to excel and execute. Thank you for letting me expound. Lee Hillman/Hazard, Ky.

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  2. SET says:

    3rd in total offense.
    3rd in passing offense.
    10th in rushing offense.
    2nd in total points.

    This includes games against 2 of the better defenses in the NFL.

    Definitely slowing down. We should blow the whole thing up and start over.

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    • somedude says:

      Honestly, this is a laughably bad article and opinion. The sky is falling!

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      • somedude says:

        Oh yeah, by the way, anyone that takes a swipe at the defense after that game was watching through blurred lenses. After the opening drive they played awesome. Tell me a defense that causes 4 straight turnovers had a bad game.

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        • Archie says:

          Did you see the two final scoring drives by CINCY? They went the length of teh field in no time flat and scored on passes to a wide open WR and a wide open TE. How’s that good defense? Sure the TOs were great but you still have to play defense when your opponent doesn’t TO the ball.

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      • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

        Actually, it’s a very good article and well written. Because you disagree with the content doesn’t make it bad at all.

        If you disagree, then respond with an intelligent argument as others here have instead of a throw-away insult.

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      • packett says:

        What your need to disrespect? Let’s see you write an article, set up website, and generate nice fan interest. I appreciate the article, even if I don’t agree with some points.

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    • Sven says:

      Kris,

      Thanks for the article, but come on…Really? Did you write this just for a reaction?

      SET has it right. This offense is better than alright. and with the run game they are beginning an ascension to an epic level of play.

      I am truly amazed by the amount of pessimism people are having over this team. I think it has the parts to dominate any other team, and they almost have it put together.

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    • Stroh says:

      There’s not a damn thing wrong w the Packers offense nor its creatvity. The article is an arm chair HC who THINKS he knows more than he does.

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    • Bart Vanden Plas says:

      The Packers have played two of the hardest teams on their schedule, on the road, to start the season. I was at the 49ers game and the Pack beat them up. That may be why the 49ers look beat up? The Packers are really starting to come on and will have a great season, especially with three quality running backs. Just hope we can always have one of them healthy!

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    • Kurt the Turk says:

      You know those ratings are based on yardage yes? They are about as useful a metric as the “Win” in baseball. Which is to say, “not very”.

      GB is a good team. I will be happy to watch them this season. But the article is right. The Oline is a pig with lipstick.

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  3. Since '61 says:

    Kris – some good points. However, if anything is going to slow down the Packer offense it is lack of execution, especially in the offensive line, rather than a lack of creativity. After 3 games this season the Packers offense has scored 89 points, not counting the TD scored on defense by Jennings. That results in an average of 29.7 points a game. 3 points higher or 10% higher than your quoted average. A decent start for a team with 3 new o- line players and allegedly stagnating. Thanks, Since ’61

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  4. Dobber says:

    Creativity is good, don’t get me wrong. Production is better. This is a productive offense, and the strength of the passing game is finally opening up opportunities to run the ball. I wonder if, at some point, we’re going to lament what looks like a decline in ARod’s effectiveness when in fact we’re seeing a rise in the running game’s effectiveness.

    As far as limited formations goes: the fact that the Packers do a bunch of different things and all receivers are threats out of the same small group of formations is actually very important. Lord knows I don’t want to see the Packers move from the hurry-up to a fast-break offense with gimmicky formations like Philly runs.

    Part of creativity is new blood. When a Joe Philbin leaves and you promote established assistants from within, you get continuity, but you don’t get new ideas. It’s one thing to be loyal (and MM has been to a fault over the last 5 years), but it’s another thing to evolve. I would like to see a promising assistant from some other organization find their way into a higher level coaching position from time to time.

    I have no problem with featuring Cobb, but one of the key points of this piece is keeping Rodgers healthy and upright. That being said, the Packers need to be productive without dropping ARod back 40 times per game. The new-found running-game helps to accomplish that.

    I won’t go after the OL here because there are no upgrades coming until the off-season, so that unit is what it is. MM needs to be willing to take advantage of ARod’s athleticism and the better talent at RB. Throw more screens and run more delays (please no Paul Ott Carruth wraparound draws, though!). Move ARod and the pocket to minimize hits and pressure. We’ve seen that a little against SF and Cin, but not a lot, or enough.

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  5. Dave Kerrigan says:

    James Cappen the offensive line coach has to go.Intel that happens the line will suck. Since he has been there coaching, answer me this have we ever had a good line. I don’t believe it is all personal. His time is long overdue.

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  6. Reid says:

    More than 1 screen pass per game would help slow down the other team’s pass rush. They know they can just pin their ears back and rush upfield. I think we have run 2 screens to our RB’s this year. Both went for big gains. 1 to Lacy against SF and 1 to Starks against Washington. I don’t think we ran a true screen pass to a RB against Cincy. Please someone prove me wrong so I don’t keep yelling at the TV for McCarthy to run a screen pass.

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    • Mandarichbestpickever says:

      Along those lines of slowing down the D…wasn’t this improved rushing attack supposed to help the OL and keep ARod upright? Until we start seeing the 150yd rushing games with a W…opposing Ds will still pin their ears back.

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      • palmda says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Dobber says:

          “There is no improved running game just talk from the people drinking the green cool aide.”

          Actually, all the numbers bear out an improved running game.

          This season the Packers are up to 128 yards/gm from 106 a year ago and they have run the ball about 3 fewer attempts per game this season (27 in 2012 vs. 24.3 so far in 2013.

          This means the per carry average is significantly up to 5.3 from 3.8 a year ago.

          Additionally, another important measure is rushes that go nowhere. The 2012 Packers gave up 1.9 negative rushes per game. This season, the number is down to 1.3 so far.

          Another measurable for how the line is playing is sack/passing attempt. Last year that number was a Chicago Bear-ish 10.9. This season so far it’s better: 12.2. Still too high, but remarkable given the relative inexperience of 3 starters on the line. Keep in mind that the Packers are chucking the ball at an alarming rate, but so is the rest of the league.

          Just some numbers…

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          • Dobber says:

            Add to this the fact that ARod accounted for 15.2% of the team’s rushing yards a year ago, but has only put up 8.9% this year, and it points to more effective called runs and fewer scramble/hits on our QB.

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        • Stroh says:

          Lacy isn’t slow to accelerate. He’s patient! Theres a HUGE difference. WHen he sees a hole he attacks it and gets the most out of it. With the ZBS patience is a virtue. You have to move at a pace that allows blocks to take shape and creases to open. When they do open Lacy hits it hard. Watch Arian Foster… He is very methodical till the opportunity presents itself then he attacks. Lacy is just fine, the problem is you don’t know the differences needed in a zone run scheme and a power run scheme.

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        • Kurt the Turk says:

          You cannot label a man injury-prone when he has been (literally) knocked out via concussion. No one has a “tough” brain.

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    • Tundraboy says:

      Exactly. We saw Lacy’s ability why do we insist on running up the middle. To prove a point? Love the Pack but this one thing drives me crazy

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  7. Kevin says:

    I expect this Packer team to grow and develop through the season. Some of the growth is already occurring with the running game coming along and beginning to help carry the load. The o line ultimately will be the difference maker either for better or for worse and it will be a central determinant on how the season progresses. Finally, Perry and D jones need to make more of an impact and their development, or lack thereof, will be an important part of the story. All in all, this could be a very interesting year and how entertaining the season might become is far from clear at this early stage.

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  8. BubbaOne says:

    “Throw in the fact that Rodgers still has yet to really break his habit of holding the ball too long…”

    I believe their thinking is the plays he makes w/ his feet/arm out way the sacks so they’re not trying to break this habit.
    Just asking him to be more judicial.

    Just wondering…the coaching staff hasn’t had a lot of turnover. Could this foster an insular system? I know they self scout but do they have outside people critique their play?

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    • Sven says:

      Watching quarter backs in general. A lot of picks are thrown when facing pressure, I would venture to say most. Rodgers holds the ball and risks the sack, which he often can avoid and extends the play. If Rodgers is sacked, he usually retains the ball and allows the Packers to stay in control, whether it is another play from further back, or a punt.

      This is a big plus for the team, as long as Rodgers can take the sacks without sustaining injuries. So far Rodgers has shown no fear and he waits for the big plays to develop.

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  9. the big cheesehead says:

    I believe everyone should also take into consideration that GB has not drafted a WR in the high rounds for the last 4 years. That really worries me. I can’t see TT keeping Cobb, Nelson, Finley and Jones for the next 3-4 years without serious cap issues.

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  10. Mike says:

    I keep reading the same talking points! give the team time to grow ! They are young! Well guys, they will ALWAYS BE YOUNG under TT! that is his MO! Get used to it! we will always be struggling because of it! Just about the time the “new guys” get it down, the older guys leave via free agency or get cut (salary cap). This is TT’s plan, and what it does is perpetuate a competitive team, but not a great overall team. Because of this, we will usually hit the playoff’s, but miss once we are in them. Partially because of the “draft position” year in and year out! We are not, other than CMIII or A Rodgers, getting any top 15 players! These guys are the difference makers! So when these guys become avail. via free agency TT passes! See the loop we are in? I do! The last two great FA’s we picked up were studs for us! (C W, R Pickett) since then, NOTHING!

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    • John says:

      Excellent points!

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      • Sven says:

        Except that those weren’t even close to that last two free agents. Every year the packers get at least one free agent i.e. Cedric Benson, Daniel Muir, That 1st round pick from Miami that didn’t make the team.

        Woodson was considered washed up when TT signed him, not a top 15. He developed during his time in Green Bay. I would rank Cobb as top 15 WR. Finley as a top 15 TE, Sitton as a top 15 Guard, what about Burnett is he top 15?

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        • xuyee says:

          Jeff Saturday’s free agent signing was widely praised by the likes of Peter King. How did that turn out? Yeah, he got benched in favor of an UDFA.

          That being said, a true sideline to sideline ILB or FS would be really nice, but it doesn’t always work out.

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          • Stroh says:

            Saturday was signed on the cheap as a stop gap. It was always unlikely he would play for the 2 yrs he signed for. He was signed to provide a reliable Center that could make all the OL calls and for that he served his purpose. He also helped teach EDS the finer points of playing Center and help him master the OL calls. I would call Saturday a successful FA since he provided exactly what he was brought in for. Its not like everyone didn’t already know he was over the hill and not able to hold his own blocking. That had already been established. Its about the context of the signing. You think a FA has to be a Pro Bowler to be successful. I think a FA has to provide only what he was brought in for. In that context Saturday was a successful FA signing. If you expected more out of him then you didn’t understand why the Packers were interested in him in the first place!

            I would love to see a playmaking ILB and/or safety. The reality is that ILB in a 34 D don’t have to great playmakers. Finding a Safety would help a lot IMO and was the reason I was high on Eric Reid. I liked Alec Ogletree a lot to, but he had too many off field issues for the Packers to be truly interested in him.

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    • Mike Charron says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  11. Archie says:

    Even if they do keep all 3 WRs, the Pack still needs to draft an impact WR in 2014. Every time I write this I get blasted. Nelson and Cobb are great #2s. Jones is a great #3. Where’s the #1? G Jennings is gone and D Driver stopped being a #1 years ago.

    re: play calling – it has been atrocious for a long time IMO but moreso than ever. AROD was able to overcome in past. MM misses Philbin, that is obvious. I agree that Pack needs to feature more screens. We have the running backs now that are dangerous in space. If defenses want to man up on our WRs and MM wants to run all the routes on the perimeter, then for god’s sake, throw screens (do not behind the line of scrimmage as MM loves to do) and break a few tackles for big gains. That is what MM is not doing. That is what teams do to us when man up on their WRs.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      I won’t blast you. I have a WR as their first round pick next year over at DraftTek.com, where’ I’m the Packers draft analyst.

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  12. grizzlymitch says:

    If we were actually scoring less than our eight year average, this story would have some validity. 32 points per game average against at least two good defenses is better than 26 points per game unless my math is off. Hmmm.

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    • Archie says:

      Did you see the game vs Cincy? It’s not total points, it’s failure to score points when the opportunity presents itself. You should NEVER lose a game when your defense gets 4 TOs and scores a TD. The offense had many opportunities to win that game in the 4th Q and they couldn’t. Heck, the defense had opportunities to win the game by stopping CINCY but couldn’t w/o CMIII.

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      • Archie says:

        Not to mention how they struggled to score points off the TOs, despite being deep in CINCY territory. Had the Packer offense been efficient Sunday, they would have scored 50 points. Did you look at AROD’s QBR? About 60.

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        • Sven says:

          Archie,

          These are good points. The Packers really could have scored 50+ in this game, by taking the opportunities that were handed to them, But them not playing well on Sunday, is just that.

          It seems like you always see the cup as half empty, and draining quickly, but I am a true Homer, and totally buy into TT and MM, so I doubt that I am being objective.

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          • Archie says:

            The question was whether GB was hurt by the play calling on Sunday. My answer is absolutely w/o a doubt. I’m not blaming the loss on AROD or any of the offensive players, I’m blaming that loss on MM for lousy uninspired offensive play calling. I’m also blaming it on the defense for melting down in the 4th Q and giving up two long TD drives. As to two half full/half empty, that is pscho-babble. This team is very good except it lacks a pass rush other than CMIII – that is its Achilles heel at the moment. I’m excited about having a run game for teh 1st time in forever. (I was never a big Ryan Grant fan because he was a straight line runner that went down easy.) AROD is my favorite Packer QB of all time except maybe Bart Starr. AROD also is my favorite active NFL QB. I really like our top 3 WRs but we need a 4th one even better than those three to really get everything out of AROD that he is capable of. He is one of the best deep throwers in the NFL yet the closest thing he has to a deep threat (home run hitter) is a white guy. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jordy, but he’s no Mike Wallace at taking the top off a defense. CMIII is the best but who else in the front 7 can rush the passer? That’s a problem. We don’t have a single DB in the class of 2010 vinatge W Woodson, N Collins or T Williams. Burnett has C Peprah covered. Anyway, objective analysis is best read by objective folks and subjective analysis is best read by subjective folks i.e., homers. I bet I want the Packers to win every bit as much as you do but that does not affect my analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.

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        • Stroh says:

          Instead of reaching that the playcalling is atrocious how about calling a spade a spade? Rodgers played poorly by his standards! McCarthy didn’t throw those INT’s Rodgers did. On every play Rodgers has multiple targets so apparently his decision making wasn’t very good. Just cuz a play doesn’t work doesn’t mean its poor play calling. Most times its the execution by the players on the FIELD, not the HC on the SIDELINES. Not too mention Rodgers has the ability to audible out of plays if he doesn’t think they’ll work.

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      • Brian says:

        I would suggest that the offense is necessarily unproductive or grossly stale. However, in clutch situations, 3rd/4th and short, execution or play calling has failed too much. In these cases, MM has to be more unpredictable than the past few years i.e. dive play. Rodgers/MM have to stop winging it down the field on 3rd down in order to keep the drive alive. It just seems like a brain cramp occurs under pressure…somewhere.

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      • Dobber says:

        Knock, Knock…
        Who’s there…
        32 ppg.
        32 ppg who?

        32 ppt is good for second in the league in scoring. 0.3 points better than #3 and almost 4 points better per game than the #4 team. Who cares HOW you get 32 points per game. The fact that this team is 1-2 points to failings that likely aren’t related to its ability to score points.

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    • Bart Vanden Plas says:

      And now comes the rest of the season. I see only one potential loss (or game where the Packers won’t be favored in the next 8 games. Lose that one and the Packers are 8-3. McCarthy Teams do well in December, so make that 13-3 or 12-4 if they lose in Chicago (that would be a disaster!). Doesn’t look bad to me.

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  13. Archie says:

    “Green Bay has become stagnant on offense, as in they’re not being innovative on the offensive side of the ball.”

    Very obvious vs CINCY. Look at all the failed plays in the red zone. Even on the final set of downs. Everyone knew short passes were coming and the DL went vertical. Seeing that, MM should have called some deeper pass routes. I agree that Packer play-calling is stale and unimaginative. What can I say, MM is no rocket scientist i.e., Bill Walsh. As long as offense has AROD MM offense will be successful. W/o a QB like AROD, things could get real ugly in a hurry. Let’s hope we don’t have to look at that for the next 10 years at least. Can you imagine what Bill Walsh would have done with a QB like AROD???

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  14. Tundraboy says:

    That it in a nutshell. Wasted talent,opportunity, and time Fix the line and mix it up again.

    Best, most honest assessment I have read. Great article!!!!!!!

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    • packett says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • packett says:

      Sorry Tundraboy…I can’t seem to hit the right button. My comment wasn’t meant for you. Was meant for Marpag. ‘Pologies

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    • Stroh says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Kris Burke Kris Burke says:

        Crap huh? It’s spurred nearly 80 comments. Obviously I struck a nerve.

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        • marpag says:

          Sure, but a punch to the groin is also “striking a nerve”, and then it’s not such a great thing, y’know?

          Frankly, I see this idea as evidence of the death of responsible journalism. Never mind educating people with facts… getting people all riled up and stirring up a hornets nest is now the goal. Major sports news outlets continue to carry complete imbeciles and a-holes on their staffs, not because they have insight worthy of reading, but because they kick up a dust storm with their provocative stupidity.

          I would hope that Jersey Al would be above this.

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          • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

            Stirring up a hornets nest is never the goal here, but when you’re talking about opinion pieces, it’s usually inevitable unless it’s some obvious piece that says nothing.

            I do agree with you that so much of what you read out there is solely meant to provoke and generate “hits.” That’s not our intent here, but sometimes it’s going to happen anyway.

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        • Stroh says:

          Big F’in Deal! All you arm chair HC’s don’t know the game nearly as much as you think you do! Easy to 2nd guess something you couldn’t do in your lifetime!

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  15. marpag says:

    I’m so tried of this lame “how often on 3rd and 1 do we see the John Kuhn fullback dive called?” For crying out loud, don’t just ask the question, ANSWER IT! That’s kinda, like… your job, y’know?

    Here’s how many times Kuhn has run the ball on third down with two yards or less to go:

    In 2013 – once, and he picked up the first down.

    In 2012 – Kuhn rushed on third and two or less only three times all season… in other words, once every 5.3 games. During 2012, the Packers faced 3rd and two or less 45 times. Only three out of those 45 times did they give the ball to Kuhn. (So kudos to all those people who always “see it coming from a mile away.”) And, of those 45 plays, the Packers threw 21 times, which hardly leads to the conclusion that MM is afraid to mix it up on third and short.

    In 2011, Kuhn rushed on third and two or less six times all season, or once every 2.7 games. During 2011, the Packers faced third and 2 or less 37 times and they gave it to Kuhn six of them. “Ground and Pound McCarthy” threw on third and short 21 times out of 37.

    Want more? Sure, why not. Someone needs to do actual research around here.

    In 2010, Kuhn rushed on 3rd and two or less 12 times. He also averaged 3.1 yards per carry on 3rd and two or less.

    2009? Kuhn carried once on third and short. ONE. And a whopping five times in 2008.

    From 2008 until today, Kuhn has carried the ball 4.6 times per season on third and short.

    Rule number one about being an actual journalist: Don’t just pull stuff out of your butt. This site is going to heck because no one actually holds writers and posters responsible when they spew out piles of crap.

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    • Sven says:

      Fantastic!

      I believe you mixed it up and researched the subject you were writing about. It is amazing how a little research can lead to different points of view than, say, pure emotion.

      Right on!

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      • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

        There is NOTHING wrong with EMOTION. We try to bring you a variety of styles here. I really like this article, and to the extent that I can often predict what play is coming, I somewhat agree with the article’s premise.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      I appreciate the effort, but one issue with your research – you needed to include 4th downs. Purely from memory, that’s where I have a feeling most of Kuhn’s failures have been.

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      • marpag says:

        Kuhn on 4th down:

        2013 – 0 4th down rushes

        2012 – 1 4th down rush, gained 5 and a first down

        2011 – 0 4th down rushes

        2010 – 2 4th down rushes (both 4th and less than 2 yards). Gained 2 yards and a first down on one rush, 0 yards on the other

        2009 – 0 4th down rushes

        2008 – 1 4th down rush, 0 yards gained

        2007 – 0 4th down rushes

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        • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

          Thanks Marpag, I should have known better than to go by my memory. So four tries, two successful. I guess the pain of failing in those 2 cases is what we remember more than the 2 successes.

          Now, I’m assuming these are all accurate,of course…

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    • Archie says:

      Kuhn’s history of failure on short yardage situations is one of the reasons they drafted Lacy. Maybe you can look up Kuhn’s success ratio on 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 plays in 2011 and 2012. Ny recollection is not very good as in 1/3 maybe. That play should succeed 90% of the time.

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    • PackerPatrick says:

      It just SEEMS like Kuhn gets to ball on short yard carries! It stopped working years ago. If Lacy/Starks or whoever starts actually making those plays work I would stop cringing about short yard runs.

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  16. John says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  17. palmda says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Sven says:

      Results like reaching the Playoffs for the last 4 years? Or having the most efficient passing game?

      LOL.

      We have it so good. Our team has a unique philosophy that they stick to. TT finds so many diamonds in the rough that bring great value to the team. (Thompson, by the way, is the one who handles player acquisitions)

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  18. Germ Ike Al says:

    I dont necessarily agree. I think at this early point in the season the team is still trying to find itself. McCarthys play calling of runs seems to be vastly improved over prior years. This is a great sign for the team and will be even more crucial come december. For now we just have to find the right balance taking into consideration the opponent. (For instance, im still mot sure why we stopped running it down the bengals throats in the fourth quarter and decided to go back to passing)

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    • Bart Vanden Plas says:

      We have two 100 yard rushers that were both coming in to “fill in” for injured players. They were both in the game plan but got used more than planned due to injury to the starter and they were used appropriately.

      People need to remember that the Packers have lost 4 starting running backs so far this year (counting the #1 back in training camp). And the 5th back just got 100 yards rushing.

      This team is fun to watch, they are good and they are really pounding on the other teams. Biggest problem is fatigue in the 4th quarter. I saw that while at the 49ers game and I think that is what happened at Cincy. I hope that they are working on either more substitutions or better conditioning of key players.

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      • Kurt the Turk says:

        Let’s see either RB get a 2nd 100 yd game at least before we elevate them to Walter Payton status. Starks at least has more than one game under his belt but how many 100 yd games?

        It’s a bit early yet to declare the GB Packers have solved the production problem at RB.

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        • marpag says:

          It’s strange.

          When we talk about stuff like the running game’s improvement, people are so very cautious. Let’s not be hasty. “It’s only a few games,” they say. “It’s a bit early to declare that the Pack have solved the problem.”

          At the same time, people have absolutely no problem at all declaring that everything about the Packer organization from the GM to the coach to the players to the waterboy has gone straight down the crapper, never to be recovered, and that the only way to solve the matter is to blow everything up – and this rock-solid conclusion has been reached beyond all question or any shadow of doubt on the unshakable evidence of a 1-2 start which includes two losses, both on the road, to some of the better teams in the league.

          So slow to accept the good; so quick to accept the bad.

          Odd.

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  19. Dale says:

    I totally agree with the article. No screens, no slants, no end-arounds, etc. MM is making Holmgren look like a genius. Run on first… short pass… short pass… punt. This has been truly boring football over the last few years, and as mentioned above, a complete waste of talent.

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    • Ed Schoenfeld says:

      For the past 3 seasons everyone was kvetching about the Packers not having a run game.

      Guess what — Running plays on first down (and 2nd down , and 3rd down, and 4th down) is how you establish a run game. Sticking with that even when it doesn’t work is what you need to do to convince the other teams that you have established a run game.

      Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.

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      • Kurt the Turk says:

        Good point. I will say I have been happy to see MM be willing to stick to the run more than before. Let’s hope Mr Lacy’s concussion heals and stays healed. For his sake more than for any fan’s.

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  20. BrianURN says:

    Packers fans have become so jaded. It pains me to even flip to talk radio or to blog sites after a loss. What a whining mass of malcontent. Brings all the rabid tt and mm haters out of the woodwork screaming for blood. “You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse.” Really? Seems to me a lot of Packer nation is calling out for worse. That’s the thing about revisionist history. Change for the sake of change usually results in decline.

    Nothing is easy in the NFL. TT and MM can’t control injury or lack of execution. Not excuses, just fact. A few plays executed as planned, or a few fewer plays made by the opposition, and the Packers are 3-0 and all this carping goes away. If something’s not broken, don’t fix it.

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    • Dobber says:

      The scary thing is that there is now a generation of Packer fans graduating college this year who have lived through exactly TWO losing seasons. For those of us who remember watching the REAL Barty Smith play (and not just reading his namesake’s posts here), that’s almost unfathomable.

      I’m not saying that we can’t have opinions and expectations, but we do need to have perspective.

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  21. It’s not being negative to access your team & decide they aren’t as good as in the past & I think that’s where we are. the Steeler’s would seem to be in that class too as a big slow lumbering team That just doesn’t play as well as in the past. the difference is the packers have drafted players that should have made them better but haven’t. the potential was/is there but we’re still waiting. Perry & D. jones haven’t improved the pass rush to make it respectful enough to keep the other QB on his heels. I think the offense will always score points & could even get better, but we still give up big chunks of yardage when we have a chance to shut the other guy down. two things about the cicy game…what’s with this 6’7″ guy knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage & our 3rd/4th down efficiency? If we still don’t have confidence in Crosby at or around the 50 we should get someone else. Other teams can kick those chances & we may have won the Cincy game had we kicked instead of run with 4th & one late in the 4th qtr.

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    • Bart Vanden Plas says:

      Well, what team do you know that can stop the 49ers, Cincy, and those guys from Washington without their starting safety and best (or second best) corner? The Pack has played two playoff teams on the road and lost close games where they were in the lead in the 4th quarter. The other team got paid just as much as the Packers (the salary cap makes sure of that), so maybe they deserve some credit for playing a little bit better at home? Take a look at the one home game for the Packers to see how they look against average competition. The Pack is good to great this year, they just have to grow into it and stop getting so many injuries. They will be playing easier games for about the next 8 weeks, so that will help too.

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      • Kurt the Turk says:

        Kappernick’s 13 QB rating from week 2 and 3 combined seem to say “anyone can stop them”. He simply missed at least 4 big plays with bad tosses in week 1 against GB. Even with those missed plays GB’s underachieving D gave up gobs of yards to SF.

        As I said to my buddy during the GB/SF game, I expect the NFL will “solve” the SF QB this season. He is a runner, not a top passer. Just like so many other running QBs that have came and went in the NFL.

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    • Archie says:

      Given that our defense was toast in the 4th Q I agree with the strategy to go for the 1st down on 4th and inches. What I don’t agree with is giving it to a smallish rookie RB w/o a lead blocker straight up the gut against a great front 4. Whatever the right call would have been, and there could have been many, it would have included faking the play that MM actually called.

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  22. Archie says:

    Were the Packers and CINCY to trade defensive lines, this game would have been a lot to a little in favor of GB regardless of the play calling. TT has hit it big on pass rusher only once in 9 years of drafting (CMIII). CINCY led the league last year in sacks by their DL. Defense in today’s NFL starts and ends with pass rush. Let’s hope Datone Jones gets there one day. Train is leaving the station for Nick Perry.

    (1) Get AROD a #1 WR in next year’s draft; and,

    (2) Get CMIII a pass rushing terror to team up with.

    That would make for a fun 2nd half of AROD’s career!

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  23. toolkien says:

    Over time since 1992, the Packers have had teams ranging from mediocre to great, with one bad team in the bunch. Not every team is going to be a SB shoo-in, not even a SB contender, there’ll be some playoff borderline teams in the bunch. Last year was a little off, and I don’t see that this team will likely exceed last year. But there’s some talent that looks like it could develop nicely. It’s not the end of the world to have a borderline good/fair team for a season. That’s how I see this team. It spun out of last season into this season and it is what it is.

    But toward the article, it’s not a lack of creativity that’s the problem, it’s an erosion of potency throughout the roster. Guys like Woodson, and Collins, and Scott Wells were top 10 guys on the roster that simply haven’t been replaced to the same level. It doesn’t make the Packers terrible, as some people seem to want to make it out – either a SB contender or garbage. It’s simply being a 7 out of 10 instead of a 9+ out 10.

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    • Kurt the Turk says:

      This is one of the nest comments I’ve seen posted on this blog. GB is a good tam but not one of the elites that usually, not always, make it to the SB.

      The one think that does annoy me though, is the SAMENESS of the primary weakness. Year after year I’ve been watching a bad Oline and hoping GB’s all-pro QB survives the season.

      Oh well. At least GB has a very good punter again, after over 10 years of terrible production since Hentrich left for Tenn. And no I am not being sarcastic. May GB always have a top punter!

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  24. GBPDAN says:

    We need to get our Oline fixed and all will be ok, if not unstoppable. We have a good stable of RBs , WRs , a good TE and a all world QB. If our Oline was better, the play calling wouldn’t be as big of an issue because the plays would be executed property

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  25. Tundraboy says:

    As far as play calling it just seems that evry play we used to call that really works we then for some reason go away from it. I swear it seems like there are some plays that you watch and say that is great but you probably wont see it again. Where are the slants, play action, screens, draws, hell even a reverse? The plays we used to run over the years when we did not have as much talent as we do now. Cobb alone opens up the play book. Is it just me or are we soo predictable? Or is the O line just that average.?

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