Packers have no difference makers on offense

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 19: Jimmy Smith
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 19: Jimmy Smith /

As the rest of the NFL has caught up to the Green Bay Packers, the team has failed to properly adjust.

The Baltimore Ravens are known for their defense historically. The Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Tony Siragusa-led defense of 2000 set an identity for the Ravens who have been one of the more consistent defensive units of the past 15 years.

Baltimore showed up to Lambeau Field boasting the top defensive unit against the pass so far in 2017. An aggressive managerial style from GM Ozzie Newsome has brought in cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey, and safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson. The Ravens proved to be the far better team against an energy-free, emotionless Packers team that got humiliated at home against a sub-.500 team.

The Packers offense has been stale for years. Even in 2011 when the Packers’ unit was No. 1 in the league and had the league’s MVP leading the way at quarterback, the scheme was extremely basic.

Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley and James Jones formed a talented receiving corp that gave Aaron Rodgers an athletic group of receivers who could simply beat opposing corners despite the simplest of route trees.

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Mike McCarthy is one of the most uncreative coaches in recent memory. No variety on offense combined with passing patterns that are stunningly easy to defend has caught up with the Packers, who have been stagnant on offense for the last two seasons and through the first 10 games of this year.

Rodgers’ absence has exposed the countless issues the Packers have on offense. Defensive struggles aside, the offense has proven to almost entirely consist of Rodgers having to escape the pocket and try to find an open receiver downfield. Now that Brett Hundley is under center, it is clear that McCarthy is not the one responsible for the Packers’ past success on offense.

The Packers have absolutely no speed on offense. According to Pro Football Focus, the receiving corp is the slowest group of receivers in the entire NFL. An aging Jordy Nelson, a grotesquely overpaid Randall Cobb, and an up-and-down Davante Adams comprises the most boring passing attack in the NFL.

Martellus Bennett‘s departure wasn’t McCarthy’s fault, but Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers can’t create separation against defensive backs or even linebackers. The complete lack of speed offensively falls on the shoulders of GM Ted Thompson, who wasn’t smart enough to realize this trend and come up with a solution before it became such an issue.

Regardless of how well rookie running back Aaron Jones played before it was his turn to go down with an injury, the Packers have done next to nothing to supply Rodgers with a proven running game. Three rookies all drafted in the fourth round or later along with a wide receiver playing thr position is part of the reason that no opposing defenses are going to fear the Packers’ rushing attack.

McCarthy is the only one to blame for Brett Hundley’s atrocious quarterback play to this point. Hundley has turned the ball over 10 times and thrown just two touchdown passes. For the season, he has a QBR of just 37.0. McCarthy has repeatedly stated that he won’t make a change at the position because of his three years sitting on the bench behind Rodgers, though that hasn’t seemed to have worked much now that Hundley is on the field.

The Packers offense is predictable, slow and stale. Little schematic play designs along with next to no urgency from a play-calling standpoint is why this offense is being exposed for the truly porous unit that they are.

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Take the NFL’s best player away, and the Packers are 1-4. Rodgers simply sitting out has proven that no matter who runs away with the MVP trophy this year, he won’t be as valuable as No. 12.