Cruising through recent articles at Packers.com, because that is the thing to do, I saw this article from a few weeks ago titled "Red Zone Woes Traced to First Down".
When Football Outsiders first offered a preview of their Premium Stat Database I posted about the Packers problems on 1st down at my old website:
"The only offense worse on 1st down than the Packers was Oakland, but unlike Oakland which was negative at every conceivable down and distance, the Packers were positive (above average) at every other conceivable down and distance other than 2nd and short. It seems likely that the Packers would revert to the mean on 1st down next season and there offense should improve."If a team is above average on 2nd and 3rd down, but one of the worst teams in the NFL on 1st down, those types of imbalances usually are due to the small sample size of one NFL season and the team is likely to improve just by getting more 1st down opportunities. It also is a sign of inconsistency, which isn't surprising since the Packers started as many as four rookies at a time on offense during the season. The offense will be better if the same 11 starters (minus RB Ahman Green of course) come back next season with a year of experience in Mike McCarthy's offense under their belt, and in the case of OLs Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, Tony Moll and WR Greg Jennings, they're no longer rookies either.
Mike McCarthy is thinking the same thing:
"Watching the red zone, ... it's the production on first down," McCarthy said. "Everything else is just different things - fundamentals, catching the football, better routes. It's something that needs to increase. Just the little fundamentals of the game that obviously are important, and we need to do a better job."Just get the players and coaches prepared better every week and the inconsistencies on 1st down will work themselves out.