Behind Enemy Lines: Green Bay Packers

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Before tomorrow’s game with the Packers on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field, I go behind enemy lines with Freddie Boston of Lombardi Avenue for some insight on the Packers:

1. The Packers pulled off an upset in Philadelphia on Monday Night, handing the Eagles their first home loss of the season. Are the Packers back?

I’m not ready to say the Packers are back, just yet. There are still a number of concerns on defense, and it took a near-perfect game from Aaron Rodgers to beat the Eagles. The Packers allowed 153 points over the four weeks prior to the win at Philadelphia. They’ve since got a little healthier, but the defense remains a major concern.

2. Have Aaron Rodgers’ struggles been as bad as the media have suggested or has there been some embellishment in that area?

Rodgers has certainly missed some throws he used to hit routinely, but after a slow start he’s been on fire. Since Week 7, he’s thrown for 1,904 yards, 17 touchdowns and just three picks. Rodgers has looked his MVP-best in recent weeks, and the Packers’ struggles don’t fall on him.

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3. What is the real reason for the decline in offensive performance–receivers, offensive line, Rodgers, lack of running game or Mike McCarthy?

Mike McCarthy’s stubbornness has hurt the Packers at times. His insistence to run isolation routes rather than trying to scheme receivers open forced them to win one-on-ones, which for a while they weren’t. Injuries have forced McCarthy to make changes, and to his credit, he’s adapted his scheme to deal with a decimated backfield.

Rodgers has made his fair share of mistakes, too, despite standing behind one of the league’s premier pass-protecting offensive lines. Yet while he hasn’t been faultless, oftentimes he’s left trying to do too much on his own, usually as a result of his receivers not getting open.

It’s also fair to say the Packers lack a legitimate deep threat. Jordy Nelson has again been Rodgers’ go-to target this year, but he’s not reached his 2014-best, which is no surprise given his age and recovery from a torn ACL.

Davante Adams’ breakout has helped change that, which is a reason for the Packers’ improvements on offense.