Packers look to get struggling offense back in sync
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers has a few words of advice for those who are concerned about the Green Bay Packers' struggling offense early in the season.
''We're not going to overreact. It's been two weeks,'' Rodgers said after the Packers lost 17-14 to the rival Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday night.
Still, the Packers are faced with trying to remedy an offense that has been out of sorts in their first two games.
After overcoming communication snafus to eke out a close win on the road against Jacksonville to start the season, Green Bay fell short against the Vikings because of sloppy play that included four fumbles and two late turnovers by Rodgers.
''Whatever term you want to use to describe it, it wasn't good enough last night,'' coach Mike McCarthy said Monday.
The Packers gained just 263 yards, as Rodgers was sacked five times and couldn't connect with his receivers on a number of throws.
''We just didn't really have anything going for us,'' veteran guard T.J. Lang said.
Despite the abundance of miscues against a Vikings team that played their first regular-season game at noisy U.S. Bank Stadium, the Packers had chances to even the score or go ahead toward the end.
But after Green Bay retained possession on its first three fumbles of the game, a strip-sack by Brian Robison in Vikings territory resulted in Minnesota's first of two key takeaways in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers' pass to Davante Adams on third-and-long was picked off by Trae Waynes past midfield with less than two minutes left, preserving Minnesota's three-point lead.
Adams, who had a fumble on Green Bay's first play of the game, felt the offense hurt itself by not finding its rhythm until those late drives that ended with the costly giveaways.
''We've got to find a way to make the plays that are there, not try to do too much,'' Lang said. ''Everybody just take ownership of what they have to do, do their job and find a way to execute.''
The Packers also failed to convert a fourth-and-2 run play inside the Vikings 20-yard line earlier in the second half.
Rodgers completed only 20 of 36 for 213 yards Sunday.
And he acknowledged afterward that it's taking some time to get the offense settled after the return of trusted deep threat Jordy Nelson and the offseason addition of veteran tight end Jared Cook.
Nelson missed the 2015 season because of a knee injury and didn't play in the preseason last month, while Cook missed time early in training camp after undergoing foot surgery.
''I don't think we're that far off,'' Rodgers said. ''It's getting (Nelson) back in the mix and Jared Cook back in the mix. There's some moving pieces right now.''
Rodgers hopes the Packers' home opener Sunday against the Detroit Lions, another division rival, is the start of getting the offense back in sync.
''I don't think this is anything to get super crazy about,'' Rodgers said.
And McCarthy said the improvements that are needed on offense started right away Monday, when the players came back to work for video review of the game.
''Mindset is important, so we're going to stay on the balls of our feet and punch like hell,'' McCarthy said.
Along with that, McCarthy wants to get what he called his excellent 1-2 punch of Eddie Lacy and James Starks at running back more involved after they combined for just 19 carries for 53 yards Sunday.
''Our perimeter players, we need to get them more opportunities, too,'' McCarthy said.
NOTES: McCarthy had no update on DT Letroy Guion (knee) and S Morgan Burnett (hamstring). Both starters suffered injuries in Sunday's game and didn't return. LB Clay Matthews, who went off the field near the end of the game, also was being evaluated. ''He's got some things we're looking at there,'' said McCarthy, who added there's no initial concern about Matthews' status. … McCarthy said CB Sam Shields (concussion) had a workout Monday morning after the veteran starter missed the game.
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