All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns knows what the deal is with the Green Bay Packers. After the 31-13 loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, he was asked about Rodgers’ abilities as a quarterback.
“You complete a pass, it’s 15 yards. You make a good run, it’s 5. It’s really hard to stop. If you’ve got a guy like Aaron Rodgers you don’t have to get very open and he’ll put the ball where it needs to be. As a defense, you have to try to take away Aaron Rodgers. He’s that good. When you do, you just open up the run game. You’ve just got to pick your poison.”
Is this what fans of the Green Bay Packers have been waiting to hear for so long?
Yes it is.
For far too long, defenders have been able to pin their ears back and play the pass. That is difficult on the offensive line, it is difficult on the receivers and it is very difficult on your franchise quarterback. It’s way too predictable. Essentially, we were asking our already suspect offensive line to hold their coverage for longer and know exactly where Aaron Rodgers was moving inside the pocket. Receivers were being jammed at the line of scrimmage, double teamed, unable to gain enough separation with extra defenders playing the pass. Rodgers was trying to scramble, avoid the sacks, scan the field … make a play.
It all culminated in our elite QB taking 51 sacks in a single season, a league high.
We needed a balanced attack. Even with plug-ins like Brandon Jackson, Ryan Grant, James Starks, DuJuan Harris – defenders were not respecting the run game. Why would they? The Packers hadn’t posted a 100-yard back in more than 40 contests, dating back to 2010. Instead of “picking their poison” defenders were avoiding the poison.
Now … there are two cards on the table. On one hand, you could load the box and prevent Eddie Lacy from stealing a big run; but you’re an audible away from a big passing play. On the other, trying to prevent the big passing play, opens up lanes for Lacy to get to the second level. So … which do you prefer?
It’s amazing that we are finally getting here. I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, but Eddie Lacy has the kind of power, speed and vision to make a team rework its schemes and make defenders second guess themselves.
This is it, folks. This is where the Packers need to be, moving forward. If they can make opponents feel like they are “picking their poison” with this Green Bay Packers offense, then they have already achieved one of the biggest goals coming into this season. I feel like the Packers are primed for a post-season run; this team should be getting healthy late in the season, and should begin firing on all cylinders, on both sides of the ball.
One game at a time.
Speaking of …
Hey, Minnesota Vikings: It’s time to pick your poison.