Since there isn’t a Packers game this week I figured I would break down the Packers offense by each category this weekend. I will write about the defense tomorrow. I realize the Packers have played nine games this season, so while it isn’t the true mid-season point for them, it’s close enough.
I give an A to the quarterback position for several reasons. Aaron Rodgers has played well all season. Yes I am including the first four games when people were wondering what the hell was wrong with this guy. Rodgers still had good numbers but they weren’t the off the chart numbers everyone got accustomed to last year. Throw in a bunch of blabbermouths (Shannon Sharpe, Skip Bayless) and Rodgers did nothing but tear apart the Houston Texans phenomenal defense with 6 td passes and over 300 yards. His performance also gave us this great sound bite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEJ0Czo_PLE
Rodgers on the season has 25 touchdowns to five picks and has thrown for 2,383. What keeps this from being an A+ is the 29 sacks, some of which are on Rodgers. Plus the one snap, one fumble by Graham Harrell puts a bit of a damper since it was in a key moment in the New Orleans game.
Running game: C-
Had it not been for the impressive ground game last week against the Cardinals last week, I probably would have put this down to a D+. While the line hasn’t been the greatest this year, the Packers running backs haven’t shown the most patience or seen the appropriate holes to run through. Here is a breakdown of the yards per carry and overall rushing yards on the season for the top three backs.
- Alex Green- 87 for 272- 3.1ypc
- Cedric Benson- 71 for 248- 3.5 ypc
- James Starks- 23 for 80, 3.5 ypc
The running game has been jolted by Randall Cobb’s 6 carries for 96 yards and Rodgers additional 162 on the ground. I still like Green going forward because of his ability to break the long run ( long of 41). He has the longest gain on the ground all year and is better in the no-huddle offense the Pack likes to use. One of the most impressive things though in the run game this season is the fact the running backs have not lost a fumble.
Wide Receivers: B+
The emergence of Randall Cobb and James Jones this year has been nothing short of fantastic. Jones who had trouble with drops in the past has gone up, around and over cornerbacks this year to make acrobatic circus catches you might expect from Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. Randall Cobb has shown tremendous growth from year one to year two and is showing he can fill the void left by Greg Jennings. These two guys have combined for 13 touchdowns and 962 yards essentially starting the year as the third and fourth wide outs.
Jordy Nelson has got back to his old ways lately but with five drops on the season and the drops by the receivers overall is the reason I couldn’t give this group an A. DD has seven catches on the year to go with a couple drops. I am also curious to see how the group does when Greg Jennings returns from injury. Overall this is still one of the best and deepest groups in the league and they will continue to make phenomenal plays this season.
Tight Ends: C
This has to be the most disappointing part of the offense for me and the fact I am giving them a C is being very generous. Jermichael Finley got a two year, prove yourself contract and has proved he still knows how to drop the ball. HEYO! He hasn’t scored since week one and has been dealing with a shoulder injury which I am hoping will be back to 100% after the bye. Backup tight ends, Tom Crabtree and D.J. Williams have also had their share of drops this season. A big difference though is Crabtree or the “Puma” as my boss calls him has been one of the most explosive play-makers on the season. Crabtree has the longest play from scrimmage on the season with his 72 yard catch and run last week against the Cardinals. This group needs to step it up and catch the damn ball as Keyshawn Johnson would say.
Offensive Line: C-
When you give up 29 sacks and haven’t opened many holes in the running game it’s very difficult for me to give a higher grade than a C-. While the o-line has played better in recent weeks, the 8 sack half against the Seahawks and the fact Rodgers has been sacked in every game except for one resonate in my head. One of the impressive things about the line is that all five guys have started every game but with Bryan Bulaga suffering a hip injury that streak seems likely to end in Detroit next week. I was also impressed by TJ Lang’s ability to shift out to right tackle after Bulaga went down. This is a group who has improved lately but will be tested with the Lions and Giants in the next couple weeks.