Key Battle for Packers vs. Bears

In order for the Packers to beat the Chicago Bears, they have to get Aaron Rodgers going. In order to do that, it's time to get back to what used to work.

The key to this game is very simple.

Do whatever you can to fix Aaron Rodgers.

Eddie Lacy is out, replaced by Knile Davis, just in from Kansas City. Jordy Nelson still seems a bit off, Randall Cobb continues to be shaky and the rest of the receivers are unreliable.

All that puts pressure of Rodgers to, once again, bail the team out.

It shouldn’t be that way, though, and it doesn’t have to be. Doug Farrar has written about this several times over the years and this week he did so again over at Bleacher Report. I think he hits the nail on the head about what the problem is with Rodgers—the offense itself.

What Farrar is seeing when he watches film is a quarterback who has had to improvise and extend plays for so long, his basic technique has degraded.  Further—and anyone who re-watches last weekend has to see this—his confidence in getting the ball where it should go isn’t there.

In Farrar’s words: McCarthy can go on and on about 400 yards of offense, but that misses the larger point: His future Hall-of-Fame quarterback has been rendered dysfunctional by a limited series of schemes that force him to play outside structure to the point that there is little structure left.

Rodgers has nothing to come back to, no fixed point to cling to unlike a player such as Tom Brady, who can step into his offense flawlessly after a four week absence. Personally, I also think the debacle which was last year’s receiving corps is still healing for Rodgers, but either way, he looks like he has lost trust in this offense and its members.

So what does this mean for the game Thursday night?

It means getting back to what worked two years ago before, when the Packers used short, quick passes in part because the offensive line was struggling. In this case it would allow Rodgers to get into a comfortable rhythm. Get him back to the confident place he was at prior to Jordy Nelson’s injury.

The Bears defense has been playing better overall this season, but last week they let Blake Bortles throw for 263 yards and a touchdown (plus one pick) and the week prior Andrew Luck and the Colts torched them for 298 net yards passing, two TDs and no interceptions. Luck was sacked five times, but that just makes the idea of a quick, short pass offense more appealing.

It not only gets Rodgers and the offense back on track but defangs the one thing the Bears can do on occasion, which is pressure the quarterback (though even there they are mediocre—those five sacks are almost half of their total of 13).

And, as we pointed out at the top, Lacy is out and the run game isn’t looking so hot, which would make a short passing attack even more attractive.

There are certainly a lot of Packers fans who are concerned for Rodgers and the offense—rightfully so.  The season isn’t lost though, and there are still things the Packers can do to get back on track.

One way to do it is to also get back to basics.

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Comments (45)

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Three and Out's picture

October 20, 2016 at 06:19 am

All valid points, yes. Trouble is, we all know MM isn't going to do that. He's going to stick to the same thing with little to no variation.
It's actually hilarious how stubborn and pigheaded he is out there when his gameplans continue to not work and he gets that glazed over, deer in headlights look.

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NickPerry's picture

October 20, 2016 at 06:30 am

I find it madding more than anything. We waited 8 months for THIS??

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Three and Out's picture

October 20, 2016 at 06:44 am

Hey, at least you're playing great out there. Amirite??

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Tundraboy's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:50 am

Same here NP. MM and Rodger's keep insisting that things will be fine. Its been years of the same dysfunction and now Rodgers who is our only real star is a shell of himself. His passing is simply awful. Team needs new leadership and not an Offensive coaching committee.

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dobber's picture

October 20, 2016 at 10:25 am

Imagine being a Bears fan...

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NickPerry's picture

October 20, 2016 at 06:44 am

MM had several months to come up with something new to add to his Offense. He didn't do that instead suggesting it comes down to "Fundamentals", Mikes favorite word over the last 11 years.
We can blame Mike, we can blame Aaron, we can blame the Receivers or Ted. The bottom line is the only parts of the Offense who are doing their jobs are the O-Line and Lacy before he now got injured.
This team needs a CHANGE. McCarthy has been armed with one HOF QB and another who once was considered a lock. He's made it to one SB and seems further away than anytime since his 1st season in 2006, key word being "Seems" in that sentence.

I don't think this team is capable of turning it around, not after a 17 game sample. If change isn't made and made soon, MM and TT will be thought of as the pair who wasted the prime years of a QB and a pretty damn talented Football Team with only ONE Super Bowl appearance to show for it.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:26 am

McCarthy has been slowly changing the offense. He has started to run a lot more personnel vs sticking with the same thing down after down. Yeah, i wish we would have seen this stuff done in the offseason, but give him some credit for starting to adapt his offense more.

The next step is to stop running so many isolation routes, and do more to get WR's open. More rub routes, more crossing patterns, putting players in motion more. Perhaps running some misdirection type of stuff. A Jet sweep or something to force the defense to have to adjust.

Simply put. become less predictable.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:55 am

Slowly,like a glacier. Jet sweep? In our dreams.

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dobber's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:57 am

I would love to see Janis on a jet sweep...

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Big_Mel_75's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:49 am

Or Davis

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:54 am

Yeah, i was thinking the same thing. Davis or Janis, or even Montgomery.

I wouldn't mind seeing a WR screen with Janis and Nelson to block and Davis receiving the screen. Get these guys with speed, the ball in space.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 20, 2016 at 11:55 am

In MM's world? That's crazy talk. I'm all for crazy. Jet sweeps, reverses, slants, bootlegs, draws. Hell how about an old Packer sweep? I'm done with boring, and a sprinkling of deep plays, especially boring that goes nowhere. Tonight is either going to be hell or a shocking but welcome surprise.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:26 am

Yeah, its taking way to long to adjust... But I will give him credit, we are seeing adjustments being made...

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EdsLaces's picture

October 20, 2016 at 06:57 am

This comes down to our O-line and our D-line ...cause at this point those are the only 2 parts of the team that are any good haha. No this really does come down to Aaron because as long as he is terrible our team will be terrible. Maybe we can win the field position battle for a change and it'll put us in a position to score some occasional points...that'd be crazy.

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Hematite's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:00 am

As MM said on"The Mike McCarthy Show" this week, "we need to clean up the details".
Not very inspiring!

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:12 am

In other words.. Catch the ball, and don't fumble the ball...

Can't win if you keep turning the ball over.

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dobber's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:46 am

Dallas got exactly what good teams get and the Packers did exactly what not-so-good teams do: turn the ball over in key situations. That fumble inside the 5 yard line, that INT on that good drive...I think we all know that those were key plays in that game. Enough so that the outcome might change completely if you take one away and turn it into 7 points. In all, the offense moved the ball pretty well on Sunday...well enough to win if it wasn't shooting itself in the foot.

Packer teams of the past were always very good in +/-. This team just hasn't been--in the two games they lost, those were key TOs. And while I salute TT for the addition of Knile Davis to try to keep this season alive, his fumblefingers have me a little concerned.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:13 am

Packers had their chances against Dallas. They just literally fumbled them away.

I agree if they get back one of those turnovers it could have been a different game.

Packers first drive they drove 9 plays and got stopped on a 3rd and 1. (i hated the play call on that play). Settled for the field goal.

Second drive Rodgers hits Nelson on the first play and Nelson gets hit and fumbles it. After moving the ball well the first drive the 2nd drive couldn't get started. If he holds on to the ball they just have an 18 yard gain on first down and who knows what happens.

2nd half their first drive they drive 8 plays and then get intercepted. The next drive they drive 12 plays and fumble inside the 5.

They actually moved the ball, just kept turning it over.

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Jean Mitchell's picture

October 20, 2016 at 11:40 am

In his defense - Jordy took a heck of a hit to cause that fumble and most WR would have coughed up that ball as well. I don't think you can do the "what if" on that turn over. The other ones are different stories...

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dobber's picture

October 20, 2016 at 11:50 am

I don't disagree with you that it was a pretty heavy shot he absorbed on that one, but the two turnovers in the second half (the ARod fumble and the INT) were in Dallas territory with the offense moving the ball well. Those really hurt.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Yeah, no question... Either way, that was a drive killer.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:10 am

"The key to this game is very simple.

Do whatever you can to fix Aaron Rodgers."

This is the biggest thing that will determine if the Packers win or lose...

Getting Rodgers into a Rhythm early and getting is confidence up high early will tell us whether its going to be a long night or not.

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Donster's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:32 am

If the players are still struggling with "fundamentals" for almost two years on, then the problem is coaching, pure and simple. THAT is why they call them coaches. That is what OTA's and training camp is for. He is basically saying that it is the players fault. If that is the case, then why are so many sticking on the team?

I find it hard to believe that this many players can't execute basic fundamentals. More BS from MM because he refuses to change his game planning, and refuses to make more than just minor coaching changes. A thorough house cleaning in Green Bay is needed.

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dobber's picture

October 20, 2016 at 07:56 am

I've always read the "attention to detail" and "fundamentals" responses to those questions as MM not calling out players in public. I'm sure there are players or position groups he's unhappy with, but that he's trying to handle that in the locker room and not in the media. This is why his calling out Lacy after last season was so surprising. It might be that some players just need a public shaming from time to time...

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croatpackfan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:08 am

Oh, good. Another article how Aaron Rodgers is not the guilty one. Poor guy, he has all authority to change the play on the line of schrimmage, and when he do that, it is failure, but he is not the guilty one.
It must be Mike McCarthy!
I have to admit it is revelation to me. Aaron is bored and that is why he is so bad...
Good God!

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:53 am

Rodgers has received a ton of criticism. And deservedly so. But there is more that is wrong with the offense then simply placing the blame on Rodgers. There are a lot of other issues going on.

Basically since week 6 last year teams have changed the way they are playing this offense, which has given us problems. The offense hasn't adjusted to that. That is a scheme problem, which is the easiest to be fixed.

There is also a problem with the WR's. While Rodgers has been off, the receivers have let a number of balls hit their hands to be dropped.

There is plenty of blame that has to go around.

But IMO, when players are struggling, its up to the Coaches to find ways to end the struggling.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 20, 2016 at 06:26 pm

I agree with Croat. While I don't disagree with RC, I can't think of any article I've ever read on CHTV that I hated more. Farrar's conclusion is clickbait. It is little short of moronic. His article further establishes Bleacher Report's stellar reputation.

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dobber's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:13 am

"Luck was sacked five times, but that just makes the idea of a quick, short pass offense more appealing."

Let's not be too quick to give the Bears pass rush too much credit. They got Luck 5 times, but Luck's been sacked 23 times this season, easily the most in the league. If your D doesn't sack him 4 times or more, something's wrong. Aside from that one game, Chicago averages LESS than 2 sacks per game.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 20, 2016 at 08:33 am

Colts could possibly have the worst OL in the league.

Packers have one of the best.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 20, 2016 at 06:31 pm

Agreed Dobber. Give me a break. The chances of Chicago getting 5 sacks against GB are infinitesimal (unless they come after AR held the ball for 5 seconds). This is written just to fit the author's narrative without regard to any reasonable substance to it. So the author wants more quick, short passes. Got it. So do I; one doesn't have to invent reasons to support that position.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 20, 2016 at 09:16 am

" Key Battle for Packers vs. Bears"

Aaron Rodgers VS Aaron Rodgers

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NMPF's picture

October 20, 2016 at 09:26 am

Key battle- A Rodgers body vs A Rodgers brain. Play 1- all the time in the world, still throws off BACK FOOT. results, throws over, under, around receiver. Play 2- has a bit of pressure but not more than his legs can handle. results, miss reads coverage, throws it directly to opposing DB/S. The former is happening more than ever, the latter 3x in the last 2 wks. Dude is out of sync.

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Packmaniac's picture

October 20, 2016 at 10:14 am

They don't have a true #1 receiver for the second straight year and this year's #3 receiver, Adams, shouldn't even be on the team (or at best a 4 or 5). It's a great sign if Randall Cobb is your #3 receiver and a bad sign if he's your #2 receiver, like now. Jordy? I'm not saying he can't cut it as a #2, but after the injury and on the far side of 30 it's likely that his days as a difference-making #1 WR are over.

Other receivers. Jeff Janis is Bill "White Lightnin" Schroeder Lite and Abby gets hurt without playing in live action games. Montgomery and Davis? Monty has promise and Davis probably needs another 15 games before he earns Rodger's "trust." And don't get me started on Richard Rodgers and Justin "this guy's seriously on an NFL roster?" Perillo.

It would be WONDERFUL if it was all about Rodgers because getting one guy turned around is easier than turning around a widespread UH-OH situation and weaving straw into gold.

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cheddarhead's picture

October 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

Maybe the rain of boos from the lambeau crowd might give them motivation.
Sometimes that's all it takes. A little humility goes a long way.

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Point-Packer's picture

October 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

I'd take a loss if it meant Mike McCarthy gets axed. We will never win another Super Bowl with him at the helm. So if that's the goal, why waste time by keeping him on.

MM is one year ripe over the ten year rule.

Said this after last season. Time to Fire Mike McCarthy.

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NMPF's picture

October 20, 2016 at 11:50 am

The track record of teams that have fired head coaches with winning records is deplorable. Chi, KC, LA/STL, Phil, SD, just to name a few have done it. Common denominator- grass is always greener. NOT!

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Tundraboy's picture

October 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm

There have been times in the past where firing a coach wouldn't make any difference because we had so little talent, unmotivated disgruntled talent. This is not one of those times.

After the 70s and 80s, what do we have to lose. Losing in embarrassing fashion as we have with this amount of talent is far worse. Hearing a Coach say we just have to clean things up, execute is an insult. Dropped passes and fumbles have certainly come at the worse possible moments, but we have absolutely no margin of error right now and little if any ability to overcome them as great teams do. Teams that adjust. To be out of a game so early at home is inexcusable. When was the last time any of us felt confident in this team's abilty to hold a lead let alone come back from a deficit?

That's coaching.

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NMPF's picture

October 20, 2016 at 12:25 pm

107-57 with a GM that keeps you one of the youngest teams every year and refuses to get the FA fray. That's coaching.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 20, 2016 at 01:26 pm

Yup. One of those years 15 - 1 and got embarassed by Giants, at home, no less. I prefer 10-6 and playoff success.

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NMPF's picture

October 20, 2016 at 03:58 pm

If 10-6 is what your looking for, you are on your way to being one giddy M'Fer. Looks like the direction its going. With all the complaining about playcalling, personnel groupings and such, I would think a 10-6 record would be 1 hell of a coaching job

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Point-Packer's picture

October 20, 2016 at 12:39 pm

How'd it work out for Pittsburgh?

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NMPF's picture

October 20, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Bill Cowher quit not fired. Still a track record of about 10% success? Right on point.

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stockholder's picture

October 20, 2016 at 03:41 pm

I am all for accepting TT s resignation. But I don't think anybody should be fired yet. TT changed the roster, and this is on him. If he was that serious about winning the super-bowl . He would still have kept Sitton,Kuhn. Jones,etc. Players get injured, it's a fact of life in the NFL.

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lecko's picture

October 20, 2016 at 03:27 pm

I really hope that Passing game and QB1 rating imporve. But what if they not, do they dare to approach him after season and ask for a pay cut ?

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NMPF's picture

October 20, 2016 at 04:50 pm

Sure, #12 takes a paycut with assurances that his renegotiation $$$$$ goes a couple of FA signings. OH wait, FA talk, that's crazy.

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