The Packers’ pass protection – well, if you want to call it that – in fact the overall play of the offensive line, including run blocking against the Colts Friday night, was nothing short of frightful.
In fact one might say it was pathetic … And time is running out. Sept. 8 is just around the corner. If the Packers line doesn’t show improvement against the Chiefs in the final preseason game, there may be hell to pay when the Saints come marching in.
But as poorly as the line played overall Friday night, there were some bright spots. Rodgers did lead the team to a TD, a field goal and another drive that ended in a missed field goal … But there were plays within those drives when individual breakdowns along the line were noticeable and Rodgers had to run for his life and running plays were stuffed
Though the linemen admitted after the game that the no huddle may have contributed, saying their conditioning, or lack thereof, may have played a part, they weren’t going to point blame on others.
Quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, left tackle Chad Clifton said he had his troubles with all-pro Dwight Freeney.
There’s no excuse for it,” Clifton said. “I need to play better. Our job is to perform and perform at a high level. I didn’t do that tonight. I know it wasn’t one of my finest performances. I’ll just have to learn from it.”
That humility is good to hear from Clifton, who’s been around long enough to know when he didn’t play well and humble enough to recognize that there are still things he needs to learn.
Josh Sitton also knew he was schooled by Tommie Harris on a sack he gave up. “He just got the edge on me,” Sitton said. “He was lined up wide and I’ve got to find a way to block him.”
He went on to say, “I think we’ll see on film that we ended up having some good drives and that we didn’t finish. We have to finish those drives and that means protecting the quarterback. That’s what ended some of them.”
Is it time to panic?
Remember, it is still preseason and we’re talking about the Super Bowl champions. Though they didn’t play up to expectations, this offensive line is coming off a different offseason and an unusual preseason where the coaching staff is attempting to cram the proverbial 10 pounds of crap into a five-pound bag.
In addition, the Packers have thrown the no huddle into the mix, which is surely a ball-breaker for these 300-pounders.
So, no, it’s not time to raise the white flag of surrender. Remember, the Packers were actually in the lead when the starters took to the sidelines Friday night and the third- and fourth-stringers pulled out an improbable win … Those are the things the team should focus and build upon.
After all, the other 31 teams are in the same position, so every team is building from that same level playing field.
Clearly, every team – the Packers included – have a ways to go to reach that polished level.