Coming off of a regular season where the Gren Bay Packers set records for both their stellar offensive performance with reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and bad records with their 32nd ranked defense, people expected the defensive struggles thanks to the number of rookies and young players having to contribute.
People didn't expect the huge struggle from an offense that lost only its starting center in Scott Wells, yet replaced it with a well respected veteran in Jeff Saturday. Add in the defensive inconsistencies, and you have a Packers team that is surprinsingly sitting in third place behind the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.
At first, the Packers at least addressed their running game by signing Cedric Benson, who, as he was getting into a groove, injured his foot and will be gone for the next eight weeks. Add in the lack of Greg Jennings at receiver due to a groin injury and an offensive line that has regressed. It hasn't helped that the Packers have had a rigorous beginning to their schedule and have been unable to answer the call.
It also seems as though the Packers never fullt recovered from the controversial call in Seattle that could have inevitably cost them their third win, or blowing their 21-3 lead against Indianapolis. In both of these games, the defense had at least four sacks (against Seattle, they gave up eight).
What's next for the Packers? Well first, the offense must be more patient when scoring. The players are quick strike, and have not been patient and methodical when it comes to having to work their way down the field. And this falls on Rodgers to take what the defense gives him underneath. Everyone is aware of the deep ball threats the Packers have.
And doing this also means better establishing the run to take the pressure off of the 2011 MVP. With Benson sidelined, the work will fall upon Alex Green, who flashed potential against Indianapolis, James Starks, and Brandon Saine. Head coach Mike McCarthy has said that Green, who has come off of an ACL injury from his rookie season in 2011, will get the first crack at running back over Starks, who has been productive yet struggled with injuries coming into his third season.
As for the defense, the secondary still shows it needs work, and with a young defense, the only thing the Packers can do is give it time. They invested heavily in the draft in defense, and all of their hign round picks have shown talent, but need the time to develop.
Let's remember that the Packers started off 4-4 en route to the Super Bowl. They still have a shot at the playoffs, and it's a long season. So there is no need to give up on Green Bay just yet.