Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says the team's 19-7 loss to their NFC North division rivals, the Detroit Lions, on Sept. 21 is the most recent manifestation of the Packers offense's struggles with the Cover 2 scheme.
Aaron Rodgers has spoken: The Green Bay Packers' offense must do something aboug the Cover 2 scheme.
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This is what Rodgers told Vic Ketchman of the team's official website on Sept. 21 in the aftermath of its 19-7 loss to the Detroit Lions:
"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, has 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 undernerath 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 Packers' 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."
ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky offered his take on the Packers' struggles on offense in his Sept. 21 blog:
"With the Rodgers-(Jordy) Nelson combination off -- Nelson had just five catches for 59 yards after combining for 18 receptions and an NFL-high 292 yards the first two weeks -- the Packers (1-2) had little chance given their lack of a running game and dearth of playmakers at the other skill positions.
"The result was the lowest-scoring output of a game that Rodgers started and finished -- and his second-lowest passing yardage total in such games -- since he took over as the Packers' quarterback in 2008, leaving it open to wonder what exactly is missing from what has been and what was supposed to be a prolific offense.
"'There's a lot missing,' said Rodgers, who completed 16-of-27 passes for 162 yards. 'There's execution missing. We haven't been able to run the ball very well in any of the three games. We just haven't executed well as we have in the past in the passing game.'
"Forget for now about the Packers' woeful running game, which totaled just 76 yards on 22 carries and featured a fumble by Eddie Lacy on his second carry of the game. That Rogers and Co. could not shred a Lions' second-handed secondary which was missing starting strong safety James Ihedigbo and also had to play its fourth, fifth and sixth different nickel defensive backs of the season at various points on Sunday is perhaps most troublesome.
"It showed that even a patchwork secondary can take away one player -- Nelson if it wants to and expose the lack of weapons around him. The Packers dropped at least three passes, one each by Randall Cobb, James Starks and Jarrett Boykin."
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