Many people have been praising the offensive line for two straight solid rushing performances.
Granted, the numbers sure do look gaudy. The Packers racked up 139 yards rushing and 5.8 yards a rush against the Redskins. But let’s not forget that the Redskins haven’t exactly been scaring folks on the offensive side of the ball. Washington is tied for 30th in the league by giving up 155 yards a game. And Johnathan Franklin came in admirably in the second half at Cincinnati by tallying 103 yards, but the Bengals had never seen Franklin on tape before so his tendencies weren’t yet known.
Despite those performances from the last two weeks, the offensive has to play better. In three games, the Packers offensive line has been penalized 10 times, with the majority of the penalties coming by way of holding. Those are inexcusable penalties that can easily be fixed. Coming into the Bengals game the Packers had the ninth most holding penalties in the NFL.
When Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers saw the schedule for the first time last spring, they both saw the first three games and had a little trepidation. Everyone knew how good the 49ers defense was going to be after making an appearance in the Super Bowl last February but I’m willing to argue that the Bengals defense is even better.
And if you know a defense is big and physical, more time should be spent to make sure that Rodgers’ jersey stays clean for as long as possible. Obviously that mantra has been forgotten because Rodgers has been sacked 10 times already, which is tied for fifth-highest in the league.
I realize that Bryan Bulaga, the future personal protector of Rodgers at left tackle for the foreseeable future, going down for the season with a torn ACL was a huge blow.
But at the same time, David Carr was sacked 262 times in six seasons and is now watching his younger brother at Fresno State. Rodgers has been sacked 212 times ever since he took over as the starting quarterback in 2008. Every game he gets knocked sideways and pretty soon he’s not going to be able to get back up. And the moment happens, the Packers go from a legitimate 11-5 team to a 6-10 team.
When that happens, it won’t matter how many weapons the Packers have or how many fans pack the stadium. Because the moment Rodgers has to miss significant playing time means the Packers are roaming through the NFL wilderness without a compass to guide them.
The Packers have been pretty lucky to have a pair of Hall of Famers occupy the most important position since 1992. What’s so intriguing then, is why the Packers haven’t invested more to protect their biggest investment?
But right now McCarthy is stuck. Playing Marshall Newhouse isn’t the answer and Greg Van Roten and Lane Taylor are still too green.
So McCarthy is be left to trot Rodgers out there knowing full well that this line has had numerous cracks in it and is susceptible to breaking down at any moment.
On Sunday even when Rodgers was able to get throws off, he still took a beating. That of course led to long glares from him to his other offensive linemen, as if to say, “Come on fellas, I’m getting killed out here.”
But the guy that Rodgers should be glaring at is general manager Ted Thompson. Even with Bulaga, this offensive line wouldn’t be anything special and he would still be taking more punishment than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would want for a guy that is one of the faces behind the NFL shield.
Until the offensive line gets upgraded to adequate levels Rodgers should limit his contact to fist bumps and high fives. He’s getting enough contact after each snap.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn