A healthy Clay Matthews is essential for generating pressure on good quarterbacks. The undrafted free agent combo at outside linebacker was enough to get by Matthew Stafford and the Lions but couldn’t disrupt Eli Manning. Without Matthews, the Packers are forced to rely on turnovers, which aren’t exactly plentiful against smart quarterbacks like Manning, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.
Adjustments on the offensive line are necessary. Evan Dietrich-Smith and Jeff Saturday have offered little protection inside and continue to put Aaron Rodgers at risk on passing downs. With Bryan Bulaga on I.R. and Derek Sherrod slow to get healthy, Ted Thompson should consider bringing in a veteran left guard or right tackle.
Alex Green offers little as a ball carrier inside the tackles. This was probably clear weeks ago but can now be made official. Green does, however, have excellent hands and open field speed and should be used often on screens and draws. James Starks, who was at least partially productive against Detroit, should be the feature back on offense.
Dom Capers’ ability to disguise the Packers’ injuries on D has limited application. That is, it only works against bad teams. Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown ran all over a Green Bay front seven missing Desmond Bishop, D.J. Smith, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Eli Manning torched a secondary missing Charles Woodson and Sam Shields.