Offense has a painful problem

The Packers' limited attack is further hamstrung because McCarthy and Co. can't count on Greg Jennings or Vernand Morency to stay healthy,'s Steve Lawrence says.

Hey, are you fast? Can you catch a football thrown at speeds that almost create a sonic boom? Are you brave enough to catch said fastball while some guy in blue tries to put his helmet through your spleen?

If so, call Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy. Immediately, if not sooner. They need your help.

Actually, I had planned on asking you to remain calm in the aftermath of an offensive performance that would have given Bill Belichick reason to give his spy the weekend off.

Not that I want you to lose your breakfast, but shall we relive the grotesqueness of Sunday's victory? You'd rather not? Sorry. Skip ahead a few paragraphs.

The 215 yards of total offense, amazingly, was the bright spot against an Eagles defense that reminds nobody of the challenges ahead against the Chargers and Bears. My personal, ahem, favorite? The Packers' best scoring drive was 13 plays for 51 yards. That's less than 4 yards per play to bag a field goal. Talk about working hard for the money, and it's definitely not a winning formula. Teams just can't sustain many of those kinds of drives before shooting themselves in the foot with a penalty or turnover.

The Packers' other scoring drives? Four plays for minus-1 yard and four plays for 6 yards.

Such "productivity" makes you wonder if the Giants' defense isn't laughing through its film sessions this week. After allowing 45 points against Dallas, the Giants probably think they're going to be playing the University of Michigan's JV team.

Like I said, amid all of that, I was going to ask you to remain calm. The hope was, the Packers were about to get Greg Jennings and Vernand Morency back. That's two of the Packers' three most-explosive performers. Asking any team to score 30 points without two of their best offensive players is unrealistic.

What's more, because of rookie James Jones' limited knowledge of the offense, he manned the marquee flanker spot in three-receiver sets. That took Donald Driver from a primary read to a secondary read at times, not to mention taking him out of his comfort zone.

Add Jennings back into the mix, and the Favre-led passing game has a much better chance to succeed. Add Morency into the mix, as well, and the Packers have a more-explosive and more-experienced back.

But then, there was Friday's injury news. Jennings' hamstring might keep him out of the lineup again. Ditto for Morency and his knee. And Carlyle Holiday might not play, either, which would leave the Packers with three receivers.

Talk about going from bad to worse.

To the larger issue, though, is it time to start wondering about the durability of Jennings and Morency?

The Morency part of that question might seem silly. In fact, if you follow the team closely, you've probably not only asked that question but answered it, as well.

As for Jennings, the Packers hope — no, need — Jennings' injury problems to be a mere detour on a promising career.

Jennings started last season looking like a candidate to be rookie of the year. After five games, he was on pace to catch 64 passes for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns. Instead, after catching 20 passes in his first five games, he caught only 25 the rest of the way after an ankle injury suffered against Miami in the sixth game.

Now, a hamstring injury sustained before last week's game might keep him out of Sunday's game. Who knows how long this latest injury will keep him out, then, limit him?

It's no secret the Packers are short on weapons. That problem is only compounded when the coaching staff can't count on some of its best players on a weekly basis.

Steve Lawrence is a regular contributor to E-mail him at

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