When Is The Packers Offense Not The Packers Offense Anymore?

I've been reading articles all season, two recent examples this week are here and a video discussion here, wondering what's wrong with the Green Bay Packers offense and what needs to be done to fix it. The answer seems obvious: wait until next season when everyone is healthy.

To their credit, QB Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy aren't using the injuries as an excuse. They keep trying to do more with the current roster. There's always room for improvement and they can work on finding ways to do more with guys like WR Jordy Nelson and WR James Jones. But not TE Andrew Quarless since now he's hurting too.

But in the end, they've just lost too many players and they really aren't themselves anymore. Football Outsiders ranked RB Ryan Grant has the 2nd best rushing back in 2009, while RB Brandon Jackson is near the bottom this season. Jackson remains one of the top receiving backs and is good at picking up the blitz, but FB John Kuhn is merely adequate and far from replacing Grant's production. TE Jermichael Finley is still the 2nd most productive TE in 2010 according to Football Outsiders despite playing in only 4 of 8 games this season (he was hurt very early in the Redskins game). They haven't come close to replacing either of them, nor do I think it's possible to do so during the season.

The loss of WR Donald Driver might be the last straw. The offense always needs two great receivers, and they could afford to lose Finley or Driver, but not both. Driver was on the field for a little while against the Jets last week, but he was never a factor. The only receiver making any plays was WR Greg Jennings. WR James Jones has his moments, but remains inconsistent (zero catches against the Jets). The offense didn't show any signs of life until late in the game when WR Jordy Nelson (another inconsistent guy) caught a few passes. 

Injuries have been able to do what NFL defenses haven't done over the past three seasons: turn Rodgers into an average QB. While they have to wait until next season to truly return, there are a couple things they can still do now. Keep Jennings involved as the focal point because he's the last star receiver standing. Jackson is a good receiver out of the backfield and he should be more involved in the passing game. Keep feeding the ball to Nelson and Jones to see which one has the hot hand this week. Is there anyone else on the roster you'd like to see get more playing time?

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