For those of you who have followed the first three parts of this series, you may have noticed a missing piece.
One big gaping hole in the argument that sticks out like the gap in a hockey player’s smile. This gap is that passing attack. Why didn’t I talk about it? Shouldn’t our passing game be at the top of the list? Well, because we have been trying to define a balanced attack and the Packers have had the passing game as their bread and butter for so many years…I saved it for last.
Note: In light of the injuries that we have seen to Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, and (until recently) James Jones, and now Aaron Rodgers – the passing game has begun to rely on the run…what an irony!
The Packers’ passing attack has been until the last two weeks the Packers’ greatest strength. Even in the absence of several key wide receivers, Green Bay moved the ball well through the air until Aaron Rodgers went down. So let me break down the situation moving forward:
1. Without Aaron Rodgers, our passing attack will NOT be the same…period.
2. Andrew Quarless is NO Jermichael Finley.
3. While Jarrett Boykin has performed admirably, he is not a top wide receiver
With all these premises in place, I believe the passing attack is in the hands of the coaches for the foreseeable future. I know players have to make plays but the situation will put our playoff potential in the hands of our coaches until Aaron gets back on the field. Especially in light of the injury to Wallace and subsequent naming of Tolzien as the starter, see here to read more about the challenge McCarthy faces.
The Packers coaching staff is in full damage control mode now. We are just trying to survive to play against the Lions and Bears at the end of the season to have a chance at the playoffs. The NFC East will likely take up two spots in the playoffs and the Packers’ chances of taking the North, while still very real, have just gotten much tougher.
With Tolzien behind center, the passing game will have to be a more “managed” position. By that I mean McCarthy will have a smaller playbook to call from and also will have to call plays to Tolzien’s strengths as he sees them in practice week by week. This will help eliminate mistakes in the passing game and if Tolzien can eliminate his mistakes in the passing game, the Packers WILL have a chance to win.
And with the situation as it is…the Packers will now have to force themselves to pass the ball to win.