Now I want to talk about the offensive line. One of the biggest knocks against the Packers’ offensive line the past couple of seasons has been they were not opening up holes for our running backs. As already mentioned, The Green Bay Packers have had back-to-back games with 130 and 180 yards rushing – a fact that surely puts that conversation to rest.
So now that we have an OL that is very capable of successfully run blocking, we can stop complaining about that topic.
As for slowing down the rush on Aaron Rodgers when he is in the pocket, we haven’t quite seen it yet. If the Packers continue to have an effective running game, it will slowly begin to have an effect on how defenses are pinning back their ears and coming after the Packers QB. We are only two games into being an effective rushing team, so we need to build a reputation for a few more games for it to have a major impact.
Secondly, we need to understand that we have a rookie at left tackle, David Bakhtiari, and second year right tackle, Don Barclay, who only started six games last year at that position. At center is Evan Dietrich-Smith who took over at the position during the last four games of last season. So three-fifths of our starting OL is very young, inexperienced and clearly lacking in chemistry.
Part of the other issues is Rodgers does have a tendency to hold the ball too long in an attempt to make big plays downfield. The upside to that is the Packers can get big chunks of yards, but that also means he is going to take some sacks. This is between Mike McCarthy and Rodgers to figure out if they want
to continue this tactic or does MM tell AR to get rid of the ball sooner?
That is something none of us will ever know until we see it play out on the field. By the way, has anyone noticed Rodgers is not running as much as he has been doing in previous years? He has rushed only eight times in three games, which is on pace for 42 rushing attempts on the year compared to 59 attempts on average over the last five years.
My interpretation of this is that he is under less duress than previous years and if Rodgers were to run a few more times like he used to, that would create more havoc for defenses.
Has the OL made some mistakes the first three games? Absolutely. I am not sitting here saying they are an amazing line right now. However, if we look at their ability to create running lanes already, added with the anticipation of each of the young guys getting better with experience at their position (at this speed/level), along with developing chemistry, then later on in the year when we are making a push toward playoff football this line could be very special.
In other words, don’t judge them on today alone; judge them for what they can become.