No Need to Panic After Woeful Offensive Show

Yes, Green Bay's offense looked feeble on Friday night. Then again, it's worth remembering the Packers scored a not-so-grand total of 23 points during their first two preseason games last year. Friday pointed out some trouble spots but the unit should be rolling when it counts.

Other than the opening series, the Green Bay Packers' offense performed miserably in Friday night's 17-0 preseason loss against Arizona.

The Packers managed just 223 yards and averaged 3.1 yards per rush and 3.6 yards per pass. They had two turnovers and finished with eight consecutive punts.

Lumped together, it was a terrible night. In reality, Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 offense, as expected, looked good. And the rest of the offense, not surprisingly, looked terrible.

That's preseason football. It's ones vs. ones, and then everyone else vs. everyone else.

Remember, the Packers scored 13 and 10 in their first two preseason games last year. Once the regular season rolled around, they finished fifth with 27.1 points per game.

Against the Cardinals, Rodgers completed 3-of-5 passes for 62 yards, including a 5-yard pass to Jeremy Ross on third-and-1 and a 50-yard bomb to James Jones on third-and-2. The offense couldn't punch it in, but that's only because referee Carl Cheffers botched coach Mike McCarthy's challenge.

"We've got that beautiful replay board up there, and it seemed that his knees may have been off the ground and he for sure reached the ball across," Rodgers said with a smile.

In reality, that's neither here nor there. The No. 1 offense got plenty accomplished in its brief appearance. Perhaps most importantly, Rodgers went back to pass five times and wasn't touched.

With Graham Harrell, Vince Young and B.J. Coleman leading the offense for the final 10 possessions, the Packers managed 137 yards and 10 first downs. Four times, they failed to even get one first down. Over the last seven possessions, Green Bay ran just three plays from Arizona's side of midfield.

It wasn't just the quarterbacks, though. The Packers have a glaring lack of depth on the offensive side of the ball.

The starting interior trio of guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang and center Evan Dietrich-Smith played just the one series. Rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari, who had a strong debut, played the first half. Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay rotated series at right tackle through the first three quarters.

The starting line will be fine – especially if Bakhtiari continues to grow after a solid performance against the Cardinals – but the depth has not materialized. Newhouse and Barclay have had good camps, though Newhouse gave up the sack that led to Harrell's fumble that thwarted a strong third possession.

Other than the loser of Newhouse vs. Barclay, however, the Packers appear to be incredibly weak behind their starting five. Greg Van Roten, who played center, left guard and right tackle, has improved after a slow start. Andrew Datko, a seventh-round pick last year who missed the game due to a concussion, has been a disappointment. Undrafted rookie Lane Taylor, who was better this week than the first week of camp, and center Patrick Lewis haven't made a big push for roster spots. Derek Sherrod, the 2011 first-round pick, has been sidelined since breaking his leg in December 2011.

McCarthy and Rodgers have bragged up the receiver depth repeatedly during the first two weeks. They must be seeing something that no one else is seeing. To say the depth among this year's receivers is better than last year – when Greg Jennings and Donald Driver were proven veterans, and Jarrett Boykin surged late to beat out Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley – seems absurd. Jeremy Ross and Tyrone Walker have flashed – particularly Walker against the Cardinals – and so have Alex Gillett and Myles White, but only Boykin has shown any consistency.

At tight end behind Jermichael Finley, D.J. Williams had three passes touch his hands but he caught just one. Matthew Mulligan is essentially an extra offensive lineman. Andrew Quarless, who missed all of 2012 with a knee injury, is out with an injured quad, and Ryan Taylor is out with a knee injury. Neither Brandon Bostick nor Jake Stoneburner have flashed with any consistency.

Still, the offense should be just fine – barring a 2012- and 2010-esque barrage of injuries that hit those positions where the depth is lacking. Rodgers is Rodgers, the starting offensive line will be improved, Eddie Lacy and DuJuan Harris will bolster the backfield and Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson won't be in street clothes.

It's the preseason. Yeah, it was ugly. Yeah, it pointed out some trouble spots. The offense, however, is the least of the Packers' concerns once the games count.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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