Green Bay Packers Back On Track: Still Plenty To Work On

Oct 20, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) stiff arms Chicago Bears strong safety Harold Jones-Quartey (29) on a fourth quarter reception at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent via USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) stiff arms Chicago Bears strong safety Harold Jones-Quartey (29) on a fourth quarter reception at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent via USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers offense got going in the 2nd half against Chicago. A 26-10 victory moved the team to 4-2 heading into Atlanta next Sunday. What needs improvement and what went well in last night’s game?

Packers: In Need Of Improvment

Winning in the NFL is no easy task. We are reminded by Mike McCarthy in nearly every press conference. Therefore finding areas to improve seems like nitpicking after a 26-10 victory, but the Packers have a lot to work on.

The first half was fielded by the team fans have grown to expect from 2015 to present.

While there was a clear emphasis on moving the ball through quick passes, they failed to score a touchdown in the first half.

Putting up only 6 first half points was not from a lack of opportunity as the Packers had chances to bury the Bears early.

This is why the team must focus on their red zone offense before taking on Atlanta. Against both Dallas and Chicago, Aaron Rodgers was unable to seal the drive with a touchdown.

Choosing to spread teams out with five wide receiver sets gives Rodgers plenty of options, but when his receivers do not get open it is a guaranteed throw away.

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With no one better than Rodgers at buying time, he still has to sail balls into the stands to avoid a turnover.

Coach Mike McCarthy must focus on getting creative in the coming weeks. The Bears were ready for nearly everything he tried close to the endzone. Chicago linebacker Jerrell Freeman shut down a nifty play action pass as if he knew it was coming.

Looking for Ty Montgomery coming across the formation, Rodgers had to waste the down because his main option was covered.

Luckily, a senstational catch by Adams and a blown coverage allowed the Packers to seperate from the Bears. Late in the game Cobb sealed the victory with an impressive catch of his own.

Moving forward, the Packers will need to get creative near the endzone. Without Eddie Lacy to pound the ball, look for more 5 wide receiver sets and hopefully less throw aways.

Packers: What Went Well

With the offense unable to score touchdown’s, the first half appeared to be another ugly performance for the Packers.

However, one could see the direction McCarthy and Rodgers wanted to head without Eddie Lacy. Despite only scoring 6 points, quick passes and high percentage throws led to early movement for the unit.

Unable to stay completely patient, Rodgers mixed short passes with plays set up for down the field throws. It was on these attempts that receivers were unable to get open, leading to stalled drives.

As usual Rodgers was able to buy time but to no avail but Lack of separation forced the Packers quarterback to toss the ball out of bounds.

After a 3rd quarter fumble resulting in a Chicago touchdown, McCarthy and Rodgers went away from looking deep, sticking to the quick pass game plan.

Out patterns to Davante Adams, dump off’s for Ty Montgomery and gutsy catches by Randall Cobb got the offense rolling.

This strategy maximizes the talent of each player. Adams is a crafty route runner who struggles getting behind defenders. His success depends on having perfect timing with Rodgers. On Thursday night, the duo was on the same page leading to a 13 catch, 132 yard performance.

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Heading into the game Ty Montgomery’s roll was a question mark. After promoting Don Jackson and the signing of Knile Davis, it appeared McCarthy opted for a traditional running back.

This was not the case as Montgomery was featured throughout the night. Rodgers consistently relied on him as an outlet, instead of holding the ball looking for bigger plays. Because of this his completion percentage neared 70% leaving him with a QB rating of 102.2.

Montgomery’s burst and agility helped moved the chains, taking pressure of his quarterback to force throws deep.

In all the receiver/running back hybrid finished with 9 carries for 60 yards and 10 catches for 66 yards.

Randall Cobb enjoyed a big night by making plays over the middle. His performance would have been even more impressive had he held on to passes in the end zone. Still, the receiver withstood punishing hits and evaded even more on his way to 11 catches for 95 yards.

These three performances made Jordy Nelson’s quiet night an afterthought. It may be that his mere presence is enough to create opportunities for teammates. We may be talking about a big play from Nelson had Rodgers thrown a deep ball further to the sideline.

Next: Rodgers Vs. Favre

In all, the Green Bay Packers have plenty to work on with the extra days to prepare. The end zone offense is a work in progress that will need to be solved. With Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb all finding their niche, look for the offense to take advantage of their strengths and improve moving forward.