Tough questions surround struggling Packers

If the Packers are to stop the bleeding, they need to find the right answers soon, Packer Report's Tom Andrews says.

I know, I know. The Green Bay Packers have played only four games and it's a long season. Still, the natives are getting restless – and rightly so. The Packers have stumbled to a 2-2 record after looking good in their first two games, albeit against the weak Vikings and the pathetic Lions. They desperately need to answer some pretty serious questions. And they need the answers now.

– What's it going to take for the offensive line to get its act together and provide consistent, decent pass protection while getting on the same page with the running backs?

– When will Ryan Grant start to resemble the back we saw slashing through defenses the last eight games of the 2007 season? And when will he start protecting the football to avoid the costly fumbles?

– Will Brandon Jackson ever amount to more than just another warm body in the backfield? He was touted as being "vastly improved" during the offseason but has yet to show it.

– What about stopping the run? With Cullen Jenkins out for the year, Justin Harrell failing to play a down and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila hobbled with a bad knee, who's going to pick up the slack? Besides Aaron Kampman and Ryan Pickett, where are the difference makers?

– Will the defensive secondary be able to compensate for the losses of Al Harris and Atari Bigby, even with gutty performances from Charles Woodson and Nick Collins?

– When will the special teams actually be special?

– Tell us once more, please, exactly why Derrick Frost is the punter?

Of course, the biggest questions surround quarterback Aaron Rodgers. How badly was his shoulder injured against Tampa Bay? Even if he can tough it out, would having him play against Atlanta this week be worth the risk? No disrespect to Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm. They've got excellent potential, but they are rookies. Why did the Packers not sign a veteran backup quarterback if they are truly serious about getting to the playoffs this season? Packers management had to know this situation was a distinct possibility when they decided to roll the dice a month ago.

In the final analysis, asking these kinds of questions is infinitely easier for the fans and the media. We're not the experts who have access to every bit of insider information used to make the key decisions in assembling and fortifying a football team.

Still, these are fair questions. The Packers need to start providing the answers beginning this week or they risk watching their 2008 season go right down the drain.

Tom Andrews writes for Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com. He has been covering the Packers since 1974, including for Packer Report since 1999. Contact him via e-mail at andrewst@charter.net


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