Given Rodgers is often very calculating in his comments, it’s not a coincidence he made these when he did. It would be easy for a 3-0 team barely hitting the practice field ahead of a Thursday game to stick mentally with the status quo and let that carry everyone into a weekend off before the season’s second quarter commences.
But Rodgers is probably sensing what many believe, that the Eagles’ 1-2 record belies their status as legitimate NFC contenders. Philadelphia is a couple of late dropped passes from being 3-0 despite a litany of injuries, more than the Packers have had to deal with thus far.
The formula through September for the Packers has been for the defense to control the action with key stops and big plays, and for the offense to protect the ball and do just enough. Rodgers’ praise for the defense has been effusive, saying the unit “has not only been opportunistic but stout” with the way it has stopped drives, generated turnovers, and given the offense short fields.
But that’s not sustainable over the long haul of an NFL season without more from the offense. Rodgers also is implying it won’t be good enough against the Eagles or the NFC East’s other top team, the Cowboys, over the Packers’ next two games, nor against a 2-0-1 division rival in Detroit after that…and the list goes on.
“We’ve never wanted to just manage the football game around here,” he said. “The standards are very high for us. We’ve got to play a lot better on offense. We’ve played some good defenses, no doubt about it, but the standard and expectations are very high here, and we haven’t met them on offense.”
Statistically, the Packers rank 28th in total yards, 24th in rushing yards, 27th in passing yards, tied for 23rd in points, 28th in first downs and 30th in third-down efficiency. That final category is the one Rodgers and Head Coach Matt LaFleur believe can change everything.
While some long-yardage situations haven’t helped, the Packers have failed on seven conversion attempts that required eight yards or fewer over the last two games. The misses against Denver limited the offense to just 52 total snaps.