Green Bay Packers Passing Game Should Get Back on Track

Fresh off a bye week to help his injured hamstring heal, Davante Adams is set to return in Week 6 to bolster the Packers' league-leading scoring offense.Usp Nfl Detroit Lions At Green Bay Packers S Fbn Usa Wi
Fresh off a bye week to help his injured hamstring heal, Davante Adams is set to return in Week 6 to bolster the Packers' league-leading scoring offense.Usp Nfl Detroit Lions At Green Bay Packers S Fbn Usa Wi /

Like just about every other component for this Green Bay Packers team Week 1, Aaron Rodgers and his receivers had an uncharacteristically poor showing.

When it was all said and done, Rodgers completed 15 of 28 passes for 133 yards, he threw two interceptions, and averaged only 4.8 yards per play.

At receiver, naturally, Davante Adams led the way, but he only had 56 yards on five receptions, and 31 of those yards came on one play.

Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers wouldn’t get their first — and only — receptions until late in the game when Jordan Love was at quarterback. Meanwhile, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard had 33 combined yards.

After the game, Rodgers would discuss how New Orleans playing a cover-2 shell caught this Packers’ offense off guard. Last season, the Saints blitzed Green Bay more than they did any other team, which from the sounds of it, is what the Packers were anticipating once again this time around.

However, that didn’t end up being the case this season. Instead of scoring 37 points as they did a year ago, this Saints cover-2 look gave the Green Bay Packers some serious trouble.

"“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board a little bit and figure out, because this’ll be — I don’t know if everybody’s going to do this, and coordinators like to run their (own) stuff — but this’ll be the ol’ blueprint starting the season on the Packers,” Rodgers said via the Wisconsin State Journal. “Hopefully, we’ll see it a little more because we’ll have it figured out by next week.”"

As Rodgers mentions, every defensive coordinator around the league likely took some very detailed notes on what Dennis Allen and the Saints did to slow this typically potent Green Bay passing attack.

According to PFF and Peter Bukowski, the Detroit Lions lined up in cover-3 a majority of their snaps against San Francisco. But it’s worth noting that their defensive coordinator is Aaron Glenn, who worked under Allen in New Orleans for several seasons–meaning, don’t be surprised to see more cover-2 from the Lions on Monday, especially with how effective it was against the Packers in Week 1 along with the fact that Rodgers ripped apart cover-3 defenses in 2020.

Yet even if that is how things unfold, and Detroit plays more cover-2, this week’s matchup with the Lions presents Green Bay with the opportunity to not only get their passing game back on track but to put up some big numbers as well.

As Rodgers mentions, if the Green Bay Packers do see more cover-2, they’ll be ready for it, but they’ll also be up against a thin Detroit cornerback group, which doesn’t hurt.

Second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah has been officially ruled out for the season, leaving Amani Oruwariye as Detroit’s top cover option. Oruwariye had a rough showing against the 49ers, to say the least, allowing five completions on eight targets for 82 yards. Across from him will be rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu, and in the slot is undrafted rookie AJ Parker.

In a discussion with Zach Kruse of Packers Wire, Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire provides us with some insight into this Detroit cornerback room:

"“It’s an incredibly young secondary. Oruwariye is in his third season and he’s the oldest player at CB. Melifonwu struggled in his debut after taking over from Okudah, who also struggled. And both were better than Oruwariye against San Francisco. The slot corner is undrafted rookie AJ Parker, and he’s been one of the most pleasant surprises. The backups on the outside are undrafted rookie Jerry Jacobs and a UDFA from last year, Bobby Price, who played safety until the first preseason game.”"

While the Green Bay passing game has the potential to rebound in a big way, as I wrote about this week, getting back to the run game and leaning on it should be a top priority for the Green Bay Packers.

For starters, when they abandon the run or are unable to do so effectively, we saw last week how quickly things can go south for this offense. Running the ball up the middle is also one of the best ways to beat a defense playing cover-2. Not to mention that this Lions’ run defense is porous–allowing 5.7 yards per carry against San Francisco.

With that said, we are still going to see Rodgers throw the ball around Lambeau Field.

A successful run game will open up the passing game for this offense, and as highlighted above, there will certainly be some favorable matchups in the passing game to be taken advantage of.

Next. Packers v. Lions: Final Thoughts Heading into Week 2. dark

The run game needs to, and I suspect that it will, play a bigger role, but Green Bay is still going try to move the ball through the air–and they absolutely should be able to against these Lions cornerbacks—even in cover-2. There is no reason that we shouldn’t see the Packer receivers creating consistent separation, something they struggled to do against the Saints.