It’s been a rough month and a half for the Packers, but there are 11 games yet to be played and the NFC seems pretty wide open. In theory, at least, the Packers can still get things figured out, but the work has to start now. Where does it begin? We asked our writers what the Packers should prioritize to get things back on track. Here’s what they said.
Rcon14: Fixing the offensive line
The Packers have issues in a bunch of places right now, but the easiest fix that also probably has the largest trickle-down effects is on the offensive line. Moving Jenkins inside and playing either Yosh Nijman or Zach Tom at right tackle likely leads to material improvements at two spots. This should help the passing game by keeping Rodgers upright longer, allowing them to potentially extend their passing game beyond the RPO game, and also improving their run game.
Tex Western: Get the RG/RT spots figured out
Rcon said it above, and rather than finding something else, I can only agree and double down. Did you see Royce Newman’s tape from Sunday? Hopefully, Adam Stenavich and Luke Butkus did and realize that the current situation is untenable. Elgton Jenkins’ run blocking is back to elite status but his lateral movement in pass pro is his main issue at present. That clearly means it’s time to get him back inside at guard. Personally, I’d love to see Zach Tom get the call at tackle, but moving Nijman to the right side would work just fine. That should help get both the run and pass blocking of the line as a whole back on track.
Paul Noonan: Get Royce Out
Look, this might be a boring walkthrough, but SO many of their offensive issues start with Royce Newman. Aaron struggling with middle pressure, and occasionally freaking out with clean pockets is his fault. Some (definitely not all) of AJ Dillon’s issues are his fault. Random splash play sacks that end drives are his fault. Lack of deep passing effectiveness is partially on the receivers, but the lack of good protection is also killing those. They’re his fault.
And it’s infuriating because there are so MANY alternatives to try. You can play Nijman at RT and kick Jenkins inside. You can just stick Tom inside for Newman. You can try Rhyan in the same role. There are so many offensive linemen on this team and there’s no reason this should keep happening. There are a lot of other small problems. This is a big problem. Fix it first.
Jon Meerdink: Complete, like, one deep pass
I, too, want Royce Newman out of the lineup and the right side of the offensive line fixed, but just to bring something else to the discussion, I want the Packers to figure out their deep passing game.
The last time we saw a deep shot that didn’t seem like it required some kind of miraculously accurate pass was when Sammy Watkins coasted through the Bears’ secondary for 55 yards way back in Week 2. I want it to at least look easier, even if things don’t ever return to the deep-ball precision we’ve seen in previous years.
Maybe that can’t happen with Aaron Rodgers’ thumb ailing, but a guy can hope.