Why Packers Fans Should’ve Expected This Years Offensive Struggles

The Packer fan base, as well as the Green Bay Packers staff have become accustomed over the last two years to an elite offense. This offense, led by WR Adams, QB Rodgers, and coach LaFleur over the last few years has been exactly what has kept this Packers team relevant and in contention. 2020 the Packers had the first ranked scoring offense and the fifth ranked yardage offense. In 2021 the team had both the tenth ranked offense in scoring and yardage. But even with these great results there were always times it felt as if the offense was needlessly hurting itself. Whether this be through personal or coaching decisions. Then the offseason of 2022 came and the Packers traded away one of the three keys to the offense.

Following the draft the Packers completely redesigned the offense to be a run first approach with rookie receivers and older slower veteran receivers. The problem is pairing this with an elite gunslinger QB like Aaron Rodgers was always bound to cause problems. Packers fans said throughout the offseason that they expected minor problems and learning curves with the offense. The surprise for many came when the offense struggled for roughly half the season. But the truth is this was always inevitable. The Packer traded away one of the best receivers in the game and replaced him with a raw (but high upside) day two pick in Christian Watson, a veteran hamstrung Sammy Watkins as well as two day three players. This group was never a win now group. Unfortunately many fans tried to ignore this. They felt (and still feel) that a veteran Rodgers should’ve been able to carry this raw, motley crew but the truth is at his older age that was never a real option for the team. The Buccaneers always made sure Brady had a good receiving corps and good offensive line. Why? Cause even when you pay quarterbacks they still need help around them. Rodgers had little help until Christian Watson finally started to develop and flash his immense upside. Even then Watson alone was not enough, which is why the offense continued to struggle with its aging veteran QB at the helm.

In addition to the lack of elite playmakers, injuries in the first half of the year also limited this team. Robert Tonyan and Elgton Jenkins were just returning from ACL injuries. Jenkins was also being moved to a new spot on the offensive line that he had not played in his NFL career till then. Both of these players struggled the first half of the year. Tonyan clearly was not himself due to the knee surgery and even by the end of the year he did not look like the guy the team had been accustomed to him being. As for Jenkins between the knee surgery and the new position this was setting him up to fail. By the halfway mark of the season the team moved him back to his original spot at LG and he was borderline elite again. The final wildcard injury on the team was David Bakhtiari. A year and a half removed from an ACL tear and multiple complications, he was in and out of the lineup all year. When he did play he was still the elite pass blocker the team expected, the problem was he missed many games throughout the year. This led to uneasy expectations on the rest of the line to constantly shift around with him in and out. This lack of continuity, paired with these injuries was yet another reason why Packers fans should have expected this offense to struggle as much as it did.

Now we come to the final reason and man every Packers fan on the planet should have seen this one coming. The coaching decisions made by this team were laughable the entire year, including on offense. Matt LaFleur’s scheme seemed stale and soft the entire year. His play calling also was an absolute joke. Passing constantly when the team was specifically built to run more on early downs. A weird lack of pre snap motion, something that this offense was designed to utilize to the full extent. Especially when the team had Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, and even Amari Rodgers all of whom would fit so very well into the motion role. And finally for the coaching problems, the personnel the team used. The amount of times the team used AJ Dillon or Aaron Jones over the other was too often to count. Also the team’s lack of trying out other receivers, specifically Samari Toure simply to see what he could do. Also yet again the offensive line combinations early on were abysmal. Jake Hanson and Royce Newman? Why exactly were they day one players for this team over Zach Tom? Now some fans might say we never could’ve seen these mistakes coming. The answer is simple. Yes we could have. How many times in the LaFleur era have we questioned his usage of personnel? How about when the wrong line combination lost the team the Divisional round matchup against the Niners in January of 2022? All of these mistakes are things we have seen happen with this coaching staff year after year. By now it should have been expected by all fans.

The 2022 Green Bay Packers offense ranked 14th in points and 17th in yardage this year, a down year for this once great offense. And by every count fans should have seen this coming. Injuries, young playmakers, and a flailing coaching staff all contributed to a lackluster offense and every single one of these was something that was clear and obvious. So the next time someone says they were shocked by just how bad the offense was this year, my answer will be it was not all that hard to expect.
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