Cleat Geeks

Diaries of a Cheese Head Part 2

ManningvsRodgersName any statistic from the Green Bay Packers VS Denver Broncos game on Sunday night and you will quickly realize that from the perspective of the Green Bay Packers, pretty much everything was across the board ugly. I will briefly address some things that went wrong and some possible solutions for the various issues. I will address some of the bigger issues from the game Sunday from a team perspective as opposed to necessarily dealing with the individual stats behind the collective stats.

The first problem occurs in the number of snap differentials for each team. The Packers snapped 46 offensive plays compared to 63 for Denver. The play differential can directly be tired to success or failure on third down. The Packers were 2/8 for a 25% third down conversion rate and the Broncos were 6/12 for a 50% third down conversion rate. The more third downs you convert, the more drives you can sustain, the more plays you can run, and ultimately the more you can wear down your opposition. The Packers offense needs to do a better job on first and second down so the third downs are shorter. There were way too many occurrences of the Packers offense facing third and seven or more on Sunday night. When you are dealing with third downs of that distance it is hard to convert not only because of the distance you are facing but because of the things defenses are able to do with the longer distances. Longer distances indicate to the defense that a pass is coming. Knowing a pass is coming increases the odds of pass rushers being more prepared to pass rush. It also increases the chances of defensive coordinators bringing a blitz because a pass is predictable. Denver on the other hand was able to keep their third down distance more manageable. So it was easier for the Broncos to convert and harder for the Packers to get into their various pass rush packages.

Another problem area for the Packers defense was the inability to stop the run. The Broncos had 34 carries for 160 yards, including three rushing touchdowns. Not being able to stop the run causes other problems. One of those is the defense being forced to play longer drives in conditions and elements that the Packers defense is not used to dealing with. Also not being able to stop the run allowed the Broncos to start running play action on the Packers defense and they were able to get bigger plays for greater yardage. The Packers had done a good job of stopping the run since the opening week of the season. A better run defense effort will for sure be a defensive focus throughout the week of practice this week in preparation for Carolina this Sunday.

Randall+Cobb+Green+Bay+Packers+v+St+Louis+ZFxY1D_CVDclAaron Rodgers was 14/22 for 77 passing yards. The longest passing completion of the night was 17 yards to Randal Cobb. The Packers only had two passing completions of over 10 yards. They only had 50 total yards passing if you factor in the 27 yards lost in sacks. They only had an average of two yards per pass attempt and they only had three of their ten first downs in the game by way of passing. The offense is clearly missing the big explosive plays that have become the signature of the Packers offense during the Aaron Rodgers era. The lack of big play passing production can obviously be attributed to the loss of Jordy Nelson. This has been an issue all season. Nelson is not easy to replace as he has a talent for running deeper routes and making double moves to get lost in a defenses coverage. Without having to worry about Nelson and deep balls, defenses have the luxury of being able to play shallow. That gives defenses more people to commit to stopping short passes and the running game. The Packers need to start getting bigger plays out of their offense again so short passes and running game is not facing as much congestion from defenders in a tight area. Some options for bigger plays could be getting even more production from James Jones, trying to get Davante Adams who is now healthy more involved or possibly looking to increase the role of receiver Jeff Janis who both Rodgers and the coaching staff are high on.

DenverGB1The above areas of better third down production, better run defense and better production from their passing game should be the primary focus this week as the Packers prepare for Carolina. Carolina will present some similar challenges as the Broncos did. They likewise will be undefeated entering the game and will bring a very good defense into the game. It is important for the Packers to get out to a faster start in the Carolina game then they did against the Broncos. The Packers started extremely slow against Denver and they were down 17-0 early in the second quarter and were forced to try and work uphill all night to try and get back into the game. A key player for the Packers offense to be aware of in this game is Luke Kuechly who had 14 tackles in Monday night’s overtime victory over the Colts. The keys to winning this game for the Packers will be addressing the above issues from the Denver game and getting a quick jump on the Panthers early. The Packers should have several advantages on the Panthers going into Sunday’s game. The Panthers are coming into this game on a short week off a game with a lot of plays that ultimately went to overtime. The Packers need to take advantage of this in an early November game that could have huge implications on the NFC playoff picture come January.

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