Green Bay Packers offense – is it still to be feared?


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reacts after running back Eddie Lacy (not pictured) scored a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Is the Green Bay Packers offense to be feared anymore?

I think that’s a legitimate question, even if one of the top four quarterbacks in the league is running the show.

I myself, unlike so many other Packers faithful, do not put Rodgers in a class by himself.  In my opinion he is one of the best among four, to include Payton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

Now if I had my druthers I would pick Rodgers for my team if I had the first pick, but make no mistake, Drew Brees  puts a fear into at least me anyway, like no other.

Now that I have that out of the way, a question has been circulating all around Packers Nation this past off season, and hasn’t quieted down since Sunday’s San Francisco game.

The question?  Is the Packers offense to be feared as in years past?”

I don’t think we know the answer yet.  I hope it is. I want it to be, but with all the changes on offense and the questions that come with them, I don’t think we can know yet.

With no more Alex Green, last season’s leading rusher, or designated starter Dujan Harris now out for the season, coupled with no more Donald Driver or Greg Jennings, the WR and RB groups look a bit different.  The starting tackles are rookie David Bakhtiari at left tackle and second year UDFA Don Barclay at right tackle. They are replacing or filling in for Marshall Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga. How can anyone know how they will fare until we see them succeed in actual games?

In Sunday’s loss to the 49ers, I think more questions were raised about our offense than answered.  Eddie Lacy seems to be the answer at running back, but that’s yet to be proven. I believe he is, but I am writing today as ‘devil’s advocate’ against the Packers’ offense.

Jermichael Finely once again was hot and cold, making a brilliant touchdown catch, and then tipping a ball for a San Francisco interception. His entire career was condensed into this one game … shows flashes, makes the difficult look routine and then the next play …

Jordy Nelson

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Jordy Nelson sure was at his best, and Randall Cobb showed up to play like he always does. James Jones got shut out from catching a pass. The ‘no huddle’ worked really well on four drives in particular, scoring  touchdowns  quickly on drives of at least 69 yards.

On the other hand there were five three-and-outs that, along with the quick strike touchdown drives, put the Packers defense out on the field with little rest. In addition, defensively Green Bay’s inability to get off the field on third down  left the Packers stressing  a bit. However, depth along the defensive line played a big part in their front seven’s success against the run.

Rodgers threw for 333 yards and had a quarterback rating of 102.6 with three touchdowns. But it  seems to me that the league has caught up to the Packers slowly but surely since their 2010 Super Bowl win.

If what I am saying is true, the importance of Eddie Lacy cannot be overstated. If he can knock people down, wear them down and get first downs on third or fourth and short, it will not only move the chains and allow the defense to rest.

Lacy ran for 37 yards on nine carries (4.1 ave.) in the second half of Sunday’s loss, and scored the short lived go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter by leaping over both offensive and defensive lines, crossing the goal line with not much room to spare. Lacy showed explosiveness on that play.

If he can do that, then the defenses will have to change (finally) how they have been playing Rodgers and company over the past three years. Then Green Bay’s offense certainly will once again be feared, if they aren’t still.