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Cheese Curds, 1/12: Packers must solve red-zone woes to improve in 2023

A 24th-place finish just isn’t going to cut it.

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Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

When you have a four-time MVP and an offensive-minded head coach, there is no reason why you should be unable to execute in the red zone and score touchdowns regularly. The Green Bay Packers were once, just a few years ago, a record-setting team at finding the end zone once they crossed the 20-yard line.

Indeed, the 2020 team was stellar in the red zone, converting touchdowns on more than three-quarters of their opportunities to lead the NFL. Even in 2019, Matt LaFleur’s first year as head coach when the offense was still finding its footing, the team ranked second in the league at just over 67%.

That’s why the recent dropoff to 52% is so frustrating. This team should be and must be better at punching the football into the end zone when they get close. Whether the issue primarily lies with playcalling or execution, LaFleur and company must find answers for 2023. Otherwise, another this franchise is likely to face a second straight mediocre season.

Here’s a look at the red zone issues, a potential fix, and some other topics on the minds of Packers writers this week.

Matt LaFleur says Packers’ red-zone offense ‘wasn’t good enough’ in 2022, and the stats strongly agree | Packers Wire
A 24th-place finish in red zone touchdown rate is unacceptable given the Packers' offensive talent and quarterback. Aaron Rodgers was a huge reason for the decline, throwing just 17 red-zone touchdowns compared to 28 in 2021 and 35 in 2020.

Gold zone 2.0? Why Matt LaFleur might want Nathaniel Hackett back with Packers - The Athletic ($0
If Rodgers is back in green and gold next season, maybe Hackett, with whom he seemed to have a great rapport, is worth bringing back. He reportedly handled much of the team's red zone game-planning during his three-year tenure as offensive coordinator and after being fired by the Broncos, perhaps a cushy analyst gig could be just what he needs next season.

Bills' Damar Hamlin discharged from Buffalo hospital | ESPN
Regardless of whatever else happened around the NFL over the last week or so, everyone can be happy to see this encouraging sign for a player who is now a household name.

Loss to Lions Was Packers' Latest Big-Game Failure - Sports Illustrated
The playoffs have been a nightmare for Matt LaFleur's teams, and really, big games in general have seemingly been a challenge.

Green Bay Packers draw the most fans to Lambeau Field in five years |
Every game is a sellout, but just how many people come through the Lambeau Field turnstiles in a season? 2022 saw the most fans through the gates since 2017, though two of the intervening years were affected by COVID-19.

Expert warning not to pour Baileys down the drain - Wales Online
After all, if you're in Wales you'll get rid of it just as fast by drinking any time you come across a road sign you can't pronounce.