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Deconstructing Rodgers: What (if anything) is Wrong with the Packers' Quarterback?

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What are the reasons behind Aaron Rodgers' and the Green Bay Packers' offense's slow start to 2014? There could be several.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor's note: please welcome Kris Burke to the writing staff here at Acme Packing Company. Kris has been a long-time contributor at and Packers Talk Radio Network, and we are excited that he is a part of APC.)

The Green Bay Packers are 1-2.  When the schedule for the 2014 NFL season came out in April, this was a definite possibility.

Yet here we are and Packer Nation is up in arms.  The uproar possibly isn't because of the record but rather how the Packers got there.  They were blown out of the water by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. Both the offense and the defense struggled in the loss. As bad as it was, most fans were prepared to lose that game.

Then came Week 2 and the Packers sputtered in the first half and had to come back from a 21-3 deficit.  Luckily they did and won the game 31-24. All seemed well again for Green Bay.

Week 3 then arrived and the defense finally woke up in the 19-7 loss to the Lions.  The offense, however, struggled again for a third consecutive week.

Those struggles to start 2014 have raised one question that's at the front of many fans' minds: what is wrong with quarterback Aaron Rodgers?

The first question to ask is if there really is something wrong with Rodgers.  He currently has a 63% completion rate and is on pace for approximately 3,500 yards, 28 touchdowns and five interceptions.  Is that a bad season? Absolutely not, but by Rodgers' standards it is a step backwards.

With that in mind, here are some potential reasons behind Rodgers' apparent slow start to 2014:

1. He doesn't trust anyone but Jordy Nelson

This makes sense given how frequently Rodgers looks Nelson's way (and sometimes is his only read), but what about Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin's quiet starts to the season?

Cobb has three touchdowns but also only has 14 catches for 126 yards.  The Packers offense traditionally likes to spread the ball around and the fact a dynamic receiver like Cobb is catching less than five balls per game is alarming. He's also only been targeted 21 times.

Boykin hasn't done himself any favors either.  After a breakout season in 2013, much was expected of him, but he hasn't been able to hold onto the ball much and had two bad drops against the Lions last week.

Davante Adams is a rookie and will require time to develop chemistry with Rodgers, but he has shown flashes so far.

This could be the big reason behind why Rodgers hasn't been himself so far. He and Cobb missed most of last season with injuries, and perhaps that chemistry is off. Adams is a rookie and Boykin has struggled with drops.

Therefore, that leaves Nelson. Rodgers has even gone so far as to lock onto Nelson. If he's not making his full progression, something is up.

2. Eddie Lacy is struggling

While Week 4 is far too early to diagnose a sophomore slump, Lacy has got to play better.  Even head coach Mike McCarthy said so. The two-headed monster of Rodgers and Lacy was expected to take the Packers' offense to new heights in 2014 but when one head struggles, the other suffers.

The expectation was that the presence of Lacy would take some pressure off Rodgers and not make the quarterback feel like he had to carry the whole offense.  If teams spread out to cover the Packer receivers, Lacy would punish them. Stack the box to stop Lacy and Rodgers would kill you with play action.

That was the theory anyway.

With Lacy not getting going, the pressure is solely on Rodgers again. The sooner that gets fixed, the better off the entire offense will be.

3. The collarbone injury is still in his head

Part of what makes Rodgers such a threat as a quarterback is his ability to extend plays.  His game is molded around rollouts and scrambles. This is what made him such a feared quarterback by so many defensive coordinators.

Then came his broken collarbone last season. Since the only times he played after the injury was a do-or-die Week 17 matchup against the Chicago Bears and the following week's playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, there is not much tape on his pocket behavior post-injury.

When you look at games so far this season, he almost seems afraid to run.

Could fear of another injury be affecting Rodgers' mind? He never missed an extended period of time before as the starter. It's possible Rodgers isn't being himself so as not to get injured again.

4. Lack of offensive innovation

Rodgers has come under fire this season but so has McCarthy. Even fans are beginning to notice the Packers are running the same plays frequently and aren't seeing anything new. If that really is the case, the Packers' high-octane offense may very well have finally been figured out by opposing defensive coordinators.

McCarthy can be a stubborn mule at times. He approaches the game with a plan and God forbid he should ever waver from that plan. Adjustments are often made too late and the offense has struggled badly in the first half of the first three games.

The Packers experimented with no-huddle and a faster tempo on offense in the preseason but they've suddenly gotten away from that. The sooner Green Bay gets back to that and some other forms of creativity on offense, the better off they will be.

5. Nothing is wrong

This would probably be the most likely story and that fans are just concerned due to the Packers' sub-.500 record at the moment.

The Seahawks, Jets and Lions all have top ten defensive units. That's not a good thing as offenses even as good as the Packers' struggle to get into a groove during the early part of the regular season.

Let's not forget 2012 either. There was talk then as there is now about what was wrong with the Green Bay offense as they started slow just as they have this season. The Packers went up against the Houston Texans and Rodgers threw six touchdown passes. The questions stopped soon after.

Could Green Bay have a similar experience against the Bears Sunday? Sure. The Chicago defense, already not the best unit, has been hit hard by injuries and it seems like the perfect time for Rodgers to bounce back and get back in the saddle.

Of course the same was said against the Lions and their depleted secondary. That's why they play the games.

Regardless, we will know much more about the Packers on Sunday. Until then, take Rodgers' advice.