The Green Bay Packers fell to 3-2 with an embarrassing collapse against the New York Giants in London. After leading the whole game, the Packers lost 27-22 after the offense was shutout in the second half. Make no mistake, the defense did them no favors either. In fact, it could be argued that for the first time in years, the Packers special teams was Green Bay’s best unit in this game. With the Minnesota Vikings’ victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the Packers are now one game out of first place in the NFC North.
Of course, it is only week five and there is a lot of season left. However, the mistakes and struggles that led to the Packers losing to the Giants are the same ones that have plagued them all year. What is most frustrating is that they seem so fixable, too. That being said, here are three changes the team can make now to turn their season around.
Change #1: Give Aaron Jones More Touches
There were plenty of Packers fans who wanted the Packers to give Aaron Jones (or AJ Dillon) the ball on third and two and/or fourth and two with a minute left in the game. Among them was Jones himself:
Aaron Jones on #Packers passing 3rd & 2, 4th & 2 nearing one minute left at the 6-yard line down a touchdown.
"I'd put my money on giving me or AJ Dillon two downs to get two yards, I'd put my money on it." pic.twitter.com/FL1sLZqYzi
— Cody Krupp (@CodyWKrupp) October 9, 2022
It is a fair point, especially considering Aaron Jones leads in the NFL in yards per carry. There is also this interesting factoid:
Aaron Jones now has 3 games with 15 or less total touches. The Packers are 1-2 in those games. Aaron Jones should be getting more touches, especially in the second half of football games that you have the lead in.
— The tweeter formerly known as AR Doppelganger (@ARdoppelganger) October 9, 2022
The fact of the matter is this: when the Packers run their offense through Aaron Jones, good things happen. If/when the Packers decide to utilize him more, the offense is going to be much more efficient. More points will be scored and there will be less second half collapses.
Change #2: Take Away the Ability for Aaron Rodgers to Run RPO’s
Listen, we all realize Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. There is a reason he has won four MVP awards. However, there is also a reason (well, many reasons) why he only has one Super Bowl appearance. At this point in his career, perhaps it is time for him to buy in fully to the Matt LaFleur offense. This ties in with the first change about giving Aaron Jones the ball more.
If you were watching the game, during the Packers’ drive down to the goal line, even Mark Sanchez could tell what Aaron Rodgers was going to do: look right and try to force a ball to the end zone.
Walk in touchdown if he throws it to Doubs — Aaron Rodgers is smart enough to know where the blitz is coming, but throws to “his guy” in Allen Lazard. This is one of his major blind spots, he needs to start trusting the young guys.
— Jake (@SeedsofJake) October 10, 2022
After the game, Matt LaFleur defended Rodgers calling and changing plays at the line. However, is it really working? The Packers have three wins, but two of them have been pretty ugly and have consisted of plenty of questionable decisions by Aaron Rodgers. Of course, it is probably too late for LaFleur to assert this kind of power over his star quarterback. However, the onus should be on Rodgers to trust his coach as much as his coach trusts him.
Change #3: Play More Press Coverage on Defense
Before the season began, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, and Jaire Alexander were each ranked in the top 32 cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus. Part of the reason for this is that they are dominant in press coverage. For some reason, however, defensive coordinator Joe Barry has them playing zone most of the time.
The Giants were able to take advantage of this zone coverage, as Daniel Jones found practice squad receivers often for big gains. Perhaps what is most frustrating is that the zone coverage was obviously not working in the second half, yet the defense made no adjustments. Of course, there is a time and place for zone coverages in the NFL; however, there is also a time and place for man/press coverage as well. The Packers need to use it far more often.