Packers look to improve problems on offense
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Whatever issues his quarterback has with his offensive game plans, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy made sure he didn’t escalate the tension by airing his own frustrations on Monday.
On Sunday, Rodgers reacted to the team’s 22-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills by saying that the offense was “terrible” and calling the 423-yard effort “as bad as we’ve played on offense with that many yards in a long time.”
And when asked what was wrong with the offense, Rodgers said, “We need to find ways to get our playmakers in position to get some more opportunities,” referring to wide receiver Davante Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham.
Asked how the team could get Adams more involved, Rodgers said, “It’s by the plan. Find ways to get him in No. 1 spots.”
McCarthy, in his 13th year as head coach and offensive play-caller, is in charge of the game plan.
All that led to McCarthy spending much of Monday answering a host of questions about Rodgers’ comments.
McCarthy was measured and seemed to be intent on not making matters worse.
“I’m not going to referee words here,” McCarthy said at one point. “I understand the topic at hand, but we’re about improvement. That’s the focus.”
Asked specifically about his relationship with Rodgers, McCarthy said, “I have good relationships, proper relationships, with all of our players. Aaron and I, we have gone through a lot of years together, so I feel good about our relationship.”
As for their communication McCarthy said that “Aaron and I talk on a daily basis. Whether your opinion of how things are communicated within our structure, your opinion is heard and respected.
“But, at the end of the day, I feel very good, very confident about our operation. I think it’s important to always move forward at all times. I worry more about the good times than the stress points.”
Asked directly if he was disappointed that Rodgers had publicly questioned the offensive plan, McCarthy said, “I’m not going to … I think we all recognize and realize that this is football. I’m not going to get into tone and things like that. (Rodgers is a) very passionate man. Very passionate, very competitive.
“Hey, I’m no different, too. I’ve called a lot of games in this league and I’ve gone through a lot of game plans and still represent the team as a head coach. But when I closed my door last night and watched the game, I felt like we left a lot out there (on offense).”
At 2-1-1 through four games, the Packers trail the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears, who are off to a 3-1 start.
Chicago’s only loss is a 24-23 defeat to the Packers in the season opener, when Rodgers came back from a first-half left knee injury to rally Green Bay from a 20-0 deficit.
Rodgers’ knee injury has been an issue ever since, although he appeared more mobile against Buffalo than he has been since the injury. Rodgers completed 22 of 40 passes for 298 yards with one touchdown, one interception, two sacks and a lost fumble (76.9 passer rating) against the Bills. He missed a handful of throws he usually makes and was victimized by five drops by receivers.
The offense’s up-and-down day stood in stark contrast to the defense, which registered its first shutout since Oct. 31, 2010, and allowed just 145 yards.
“We were championship defensive level and non-playoff team offensive level,” Rodgers said after the game. “That was not great by any stretch of the imagination.”
The Packers have two games left before their Week 7 bye with a trip to Detroit this week followed by an Oct. 15 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on “Monday Night Football.”
“I’m not totally hung up on numbers and statistics. I think it’s important to look inside those,” McCarthy said.
“There’s times where you do put up big numbers but frankly you didn’t play as well as you’d like fundamentally. I know one thing: If you stay after the fundamentals and you keep the play style consistent, you’re going to win a lot of games. And that’s what we’re after.”