Offensively the blame this season has fallen mostly on Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers, both of which is well warranted. But the poor play from the Green Bay Packers offensive line, specifically in pass protection is a huge factor to Green Bay’s struggles.
In an age of the NFL where production from the offense is at an all-time high, the Green Bay Packers are having difficulty to consistently move the ball and put points on the board.
However, when the quarterback is consistently getting beat up and not having enough time to work through his progressions, running a successful offense is nearly impossible.
On the field performance
The Packers offensive line unit as a whole has fared well in run blocking, with running back Aaron Jones leading the NFL with 6.0 yards per carry.
Unfortunately for Rodgers and the rest of the offense, those performances haven’t translated to pass protection. The guard position in particular has caused the most issues.
Lane Taylor at left guard has been adequate overall in pass protection but has had some awful games, particularly against San Francisco and the LA Rams. For whatever reason, Taylor hasn’t played as well this year as he had in 2016 and 2017.
Then we have right guard Byron Bell who honestly has no business starting for the Green Bay Packers or any other team really. He’s rated as one of the worst guards in the league by Pro Football Focus and to put it simply, Bell is a liability to this offense.
On the season, Rodgers has been sacked the fifth-most times in the NFL and is near the top third of the league in quarterback hits as well.
Other than center Corey Linsley, who is having a Pro Bowl caliber season, there have been two huge holes up the middle that defenders have been exploiting.
Effects on Rodgers
For much of the season the Green Bay Packers have used just about all of the play clock before the snap, which at times has led to some unnecessary timeouts being used.
This is just speculation on my part, but you have to wonder how much of this is pass protection related? Perhaps this is due to Rodgers’ lack of faith in his offensive line, and this is his way of trying to make sure that everyone knows their blocking assignments.
Once the ball is snapped, there have been numerous times throughout the season where we can see Rodgers’ eyes dropping from down the field to looking at the pass rush. A very uncommon practice for Rodgers and a cardinal sin for all quarterbacks.
I’m not saying this is always the case but this could be an explanation for why we see Rodgers missing open receivers at times. He either has his eyes down instead of on his receivers or he doesn’t have enough time to find his third and fourth progressions, which is where the check down option will be just about every time.
Although Rodgers makes an attempt to escape, whether it’s due to his knee injury or he has lost a step, this isn’t the same elusive quarterback we’ve seen over the past decade.
In recent years many of the draft picks have been spent on the defensive side of the ball, and positions such as guard that used to be strengths with the likes of T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton, have regressed due to neglect. This has also been taking place at the receiver position.
Now I completely agree that this is not the only reason why the Green Bay Packers offense has struggled, but it is another contributor that needs to shoulder some of the blame as well.