3 Big things from the Packers discouraging loss to the Jets

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is shown during the fourth quarter of their game Sunday, October 16, 2022 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The New York Jets beat the Green Bay Packers 27-10.Packers16 6
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is shown during the fourth quarter of their game Sunday, October 16, 2022 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The New York Jets beat the Green Bay Packers 27-10.Packers16 6 /

For the first time in the Matt LaFleur era, the Green Bay Packers have lost back-to-back regular season games after an underwhelming performance, to say the least, against the New York Jets.

All three phases of the game sputtered as the Jets ended up winning the game by 17, despite their own offensive output not looking all that great either.

Now that I’ve had the chance to take a look back at this game, here are my three big things from the Packers performance.

Aaron Rodgers wants to simplify things on offense

The Green Bay Packers offense has battled inconsistency all season long, averaging just 17.8 points per game, but their performance on Sunday against the New York Jets was their worst of the season.

Green Bay averaged just 4.4 yards per pass and 3.0 yards per carry. They again lost the turnover battle, came up empty on their one red zone trip, and were a combined 5-of-20 on third and fourth downs. The end result was only 10 points on the scoreboard.

Following the game, when Aaron Rodgers was asked how the offense could improve, he thought it would be best to simplify things, adding that the offense is making simple mistakes on complex plays.

"“I’m not attacking anything, but based on how we’ve played the last two weeks, I think it’s going to be in our best interest to simplify things for everybody,” said Rodgers via Packers Wire. “For the line, the backs, the receivers. Especially with (Randall Cobb’s) injury. Simplify some things, and maybe that will help us get back on track.”"

In theory, this does help explain the ups and downs that we’ve seen from the Packers’ offense this season. As Rodgers said, the scheme is really good, which is why we do see them have success at times moving the ball, but the complexity of it is leading to routine mistakes and a lack of execution by an offense with a relatively young offensive line and receiving core.

The idea of simplifying things isn’t new to this Packers team, either. Rodgers would add that throughout the last few seasons, even with Davante Adams, when Green Bay is struggling, this is often the reason why, and dialing back the play calls has helped.

So what does simplifying things look like? Well, Rodgers didn’t want to get into any specifics, but he did mention that when Green Bay did move the ball against the Jets, motion wasn’t a part of the equation–something that is a staple of the Matt LaFleur offense. So I’m not sure if reducing that is going to fly.

Green Bay Packers offensive line is dominated by the Jets defensive front

I shared the Packers’ overall numbers on offense in the previous section, and while there are always several factors behind any performance — whether good or bad — Green Bay’s inability to move the ball on Sunday begins and ends with the play of the offensive line.

To put it simply, and as the headline suggests, the Packers’ offensive line was dominated by the Jets defense.

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon had very few opportunities to get anything going on the ground, while Rodgers was under constant pressure, especially during the first half. The Jets routinely rushed four but hit the Packers with a lot of stunts and twists that the offensive line just did not look prepared for, which resulted in the Packers’ offense trying to dig themselves out of a lot of third-and-long situations.

Quinnen Williams of the Jets bullied each of the interior offensive linemen. Elgton Jenkins was beat on a few occasions and was called for two penalties. Royce Newman, meanwhile, continued to struggle and was credited with six pressures by PFF. He was even benched at one point for Jake Hanson–although he would return a short while later following an injury to Hanson.

In total, New York recorded four sacks, five tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hits–controlling the line of scrimmage for much of the day.

Matt LaFleur has mentioned that the team had talked about moving Yosh Nijman to right tackle and Jenkins to one of the guard positions. Nijman doesn’t have any right tackle experience in the NFL, and we do not know how serious those discussions were previously, but I imagine those conversations will ramp up this week following this performance.

The Packers are at a crossroads right now

Without question, this is the most adversity that the Matt LaFleur-led Packers have faced during his tenure. So how does this group respond?

This is a Packers team that is yet to play a complete game of football now six weeks into the season. In fact, one could reasonably say that they are fortunate to be 3-3, given how the games against Tampa Bay and New England nearly ended.

As we are all well aware, this is a long NFL season, and what matters most is how Green Bay is playing in December and January, not October. In recent years, we’ve seen the Packers fly through the middle portion of the schedule only to taper off when the playoffs arrive.

With that said, there isn’t a whole lot that we can point to on this Packers team that would give us the confidence to say they can make a dramatic turnaround, either.

Many members of the Packers also haven’t had to deal with much losing. Only a handful of players currently on the roster were here prior to 2019. So how this group responds to all of this is a bit of an unknown.

As Matt LaFleur said, before the Packers can worry about what the opponent is doing, they need to self-reflect because it doesn’t much matter what’s taking place on the other side of the ball if Green Bay can’t execute their own game plan.

The Packers are now back on the road for three straight games against Washington, Buffalo, and Detroit–a stretch that could very much define their season, depending on how they respond to getting punched in the mouth these last two weeks.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Jones still needs more touches

Somehow, we continue to have this conversation. Aaron Jones finished the first half with three carries and one reception for four total touches. In the second half, getting him the ball was a greater priority, but Jones still finished with 12 total touches, while the Green Bay offense had 13 possessions. For an offense in search of playmaking, he is their playmaker, yet his touches from game to game are very inconsistent. Whether on the ground or in the passing game and regardless of the opponent, Jones has to be a focal point in the offense each week.