Grading The Green Bay Packers Offense in 2012
The Green Bay Packers had a record-breaking season in 2011 with their offense which led to a record of 15-1 in the regular season and quarterback Aaron Rodgers getting his first career MVP. In 2012 more of the same was expected from this young Packers offense, even if the expectations were somewhat unfair. The team struggled on offense to start the season, but returned to form later into the season.
Rodgers had a season that was similar to his record-breaking year in 2011, with a high touchdown-to-interception ratio and great completion percentage. He was the leader of the offense once again, proving that he is one of the most elite football players in the game today. Running a no-huddle offense and having little help from the running game, Rodgers had to do most of the work himself. The only flaw in Rodgers game was that sometimes he held onto the ball too long. He was sacked a league-high 51 times during the regular season, but some of those sacks were due to Rodgers holding onto the ball too long as he tries to scramble and make a play.
As for the receivers Rodgers had to throw to, they had a down year. The Packers group of receivers have been considered one of the best groups in the league for the past few years, but they did not live up to expectations this season. Receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson had down years due to their injuries and were never really able to develop the chemistry that they had with Rodgers last season. However, second-year receiver Randall Cobb and James Jones stepped up in their place. Cobb became Rodgers favorite target leading the team with 80 catches, while Jones had a career high of 14 touchdown receptions.
The biggest flaw in the Packers offense this season was once again the running game along with the offensive line. As mentioned before, the offensive line gave up 51 sacks this season and they had a horrible time run blocking. The injury to Bryan Bulaga at right tackle didn’t help the Packers since he is their best offensive lineman, but the rest of the line still struggled. Free agent pickup Jeff Saturday did not perform as well as many thought he would, and he ended up getting benched late in the season. Left tackle Marshall Newhouse had his first full season of protecting Rodgers’ blindside and he had an up and down season. He is a below-average run blocker and gets beaten around the edge too many times.
The running game failed to get going again no matter who was in the backfield. The season started out with free agent pickup Cedric Benson at running back until he got hurt early in the season. Alex Green led the team in rushing, but he only finished the season with 454 yards. With no threat in the backfield, defenses were able to play for the pass and dare the Packers to run the ball.
Overall, the offense gets a grade of a B. While Rodgers had another MVP-like season, the horrendous offensive line and no threat of a running game take the Packers offense down a notch.
Green Bay will need to make some changes to the interior of their offense this offseason and get some free agent pickups such as running back Chris Ivory. Ivory has averaged over five yards a carry in all three years he has been in the league, but has not gotten an opportunity to be an every down back yet.
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