DETROIT—Aaron Rodgers said neither he nor the Packers offense has been “sharp” so far this season, but his postgame comments following a 19-7 loss to the Lions on Sunday were sharp and to the point
Rodgers spoke directly of a defensive scheme that, previous to last season, had been the bane of the Packers offense’s existence: the dreaded “Cover Two.”
Last year, the emergence of Eddie Lacy and a powerful running game chased opposing defenses out of the two-deep-safeties look, which is meant to invite the run and protect against the deep pass.
Well, the “Cover Two” is back, having been resurrected by the Lions on Sunday.
“They played a lot of two-high. We have to be able to run against that. It happened in 2011,” Rodgers said.
Actually, it was more of a 2012 event following the Packers’ record-setting season in 2011, when Rodgers and company burned defenses in the big-play passing game. In ’12, with an absent rushing attack, opponents invited the run, took away the Packers’ deep ball and forced Rodgers to throw short and underneath the coverage. That’s exactly what he was forced to do in the second half of Sunday’s loss in Ford Field, and the attempted remedy was ineffective.
“We didn’t make enough adjustments to score enough points,” Rodgers said.
“Adjustments, yeah. We didn’t make enough adjustments,” Rodgers said.
“Their goal was they were going to limit the number of one-on-one coverages and roll the coverage to Jordy. We need balance. We have to run the ball better, more effectively. We haven’t done it in the first three games,” Rodgers said.
Even worse on Sunday, the Packers running game scored points for the Lions. It allowed the Lions their first touchdown and then a safety that was the turning point in the game.
More importantly, the Lions’ defensive strategy limited the effectiveness of the Packers’ two most productive offensive players, Rodgers and Nelson.
“We have to run block better and we have to run better,” Rodgers said. “We’ve had two marginal performances and one average performance.”
So it is that one year removed from a season that produced some of the best rushing stats in Packers history and crowned Lacy the league’s offensive rookie of the year, the Packers are back to where they were two years ago: They need their running game to resurface and open up the passing game.
“We haven’t been a sharp offense. I haven’t been as sharp. We have to play better. We have to adjust better,” Rodgers said. “They played a lot of two high and we never successfully adjusted. We just didn’t execute in the pass game.”
Or in the run game, and that’s a bad combination. ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - SEPT. 21