2015 NFC North Grades: Green Bay Packers Offense

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Next in the 2015 Grade Series, we take a look at the Green Bay Packers offense. Green Bay was 15th in PPG scoring 23.0 per game. This was a down year for Green Bay without their top wide out Jordy Nelson all year. Green Bay was 11th with 4.2 YPC in run support. Rodgers was an average 15th with a 92.7 QB rating.

Quarterback: B

Aaron Rodgers had a down year in 2015 with a 92.7 QB rating. Rodgers had an atrocious 6.7 YPA and only 60.7 completion percentage which dropped is rating. Rodgers led the league in bad passes with 111. Rodgers had a +19.2 PFF grade overall though.

Rodgers did have 31 TDs and only 8 interceptions on the year with 572 attempts which eliminated some of his problems. Rodgers was under pressure 36.8% which was 11th worst in the league. Rodgers was a below average in accuracy notching 18th in accuracy percentage. The pressure was much higher than past seasons (typically mid 20% or low 30%) for Rodgers and he couldn’t provide elite play without top 10-15 rated protection or his number 1 WR. Rodgers proved you need support to be elite in this league no matter how badly your team’s fans overrate you.

Rodgers scrambled well with 5.9 YPC on 58 attempts with 1 rushing TD. He can be a weapon with his feet when he chooses to run.

Running Backs: C+

Eddie Lacy had some problems in 2015. Lacy fumbled four times and lost two and was benched for his weight issues and tardiness. Lacy ran for 758 yards on 187 attempts at 4.1 YPC but was 27th in elusive rating. Eddie Lacy added 3 rushing TDs, 188 receiving yards and 2 receiving TDs during the season for Green Bay. The Packers expect much more from their workhorse back and they need him to be in better shape to accomplish what they need.

James Starks also ran for 4.1 YPC on 148 attempts but fumbled the ball 5 times losing 3. Starks added 392 receiving yards and 3 receiving TDs. Starks is a capable and well-rounded backup RB that is a free agent this season.

Lacy and Starks were solid in pass blocking. Kuhn was average in pass and run blocking and had 9 short yardage carries in 307 snaps. Aaron Ripkowski only played 18 snaps as the other full back.

Green Bay fired their RB coach (Sam Gash) and will look to start fresh in 2016 with an in shape Lacy.

WRs: C+

The loss of Nelson hurt the Packers receiving core. Rookie 3rd round pick Ty Montgomery showed some promise but was injured. Late training camp pick up James Jones helped the Packers despite his separation issues. Jones had 890 yards but only caught 50% of his 100 targets. Jones made some big plays with a 17.8 YPC and 8 TDs though. Despite the inefficiency, Jones was a big pickup for the Packers to bring him back after the Giants cut him.

Randall Cobb had a down year 829 yards (61.2% completion) and 6 TDs on 129 targets. Cobb was doubled more often and couldn’t get as much separation or extra YAC. Cobb graded at -.9 per PFF. The Packers needed more from Cobb without Nelson despite double teams.

Davante Adams was a major disappointment in his second year. The former 2nd round pick collected only 483 yards at 9.7 YPC despite 93 targets (50 receptions). Adams had only 1 TD. Packer fans were expecting big things from Adams when Nelson went down. Adams didn’t oblige because not every WR that wears green and gold is a gift from Moon Jesus meant to have big years for the Packers.

Jared Aberderris had 111 yards on 16 targets and battled more injuries in 2015. Jeff Janis had 79 yards on 2 catches with 11 targets. He made two big catches in the divisional round and now Packer fans love him. They’ll learn eventually I guess.

TEs: C-

Richard Rodgers had 510 yards on 85 targets with a low 8.8 YPC. Rodgers was a good red zone threat with 8 touchdowns. Rodgers was poor in run and pass blocking. Andrew Quarless only played 114 snaps and struggled in run blocking but was average in pass blocking. Justin Perillo played 117 snaps and struggled in run blocking too but was average in pass blocking. The Packers need to upgrade their blocking tight ends and get more speed compared to Rodgers. Green Bay fired their TE coach and look to upgrade in 2016 with a new coach.

Offensive Line: C+

The Packers were 11th in run support (4.2 YPC) but 11th worst in pass protection. Josh Sitton and TJ Lang were both stud guards with +25.9 and +27.3 grades respectively. Green Bay has the best guard combination in the league and both are top five guards.

Center Corey Linsley was average in 2015 after a good 2014 season. Linsley played 816 snaps and had a +.1 pass blocking grade and +.5 run blocking grade. The Packers hope Linsley can get back to 2014 form.

Right Tackle Bryan Bulaga missed 2.5 games and had a down year at right tackle when he played 823 of the 1,159 snaps. Bulaga had a -1.8 pass grade allowing 6 sacks, 2 hits and 27 hurries. Bulaga was very poor in run blocking with a -9.8 grade. Bulaga needs to get back to his 2014 and prior form in Green Bay.

David Bakhtiari was very good in pass blocking per PFF. Bakhtiari had a +8.9 grade with 3 sacks, 5 hits and 25 hurries. These were similar numbers to Bulaga with 80 more pass blocking snaps. Bulaga must have been beat more often but Rodgers got rid of the ball. Bakhtiari won a lot of matchups based on the two grades.

Bakhtiari was poor in run blocking with a -5.9 grade. Bakhtiari missed 3 games (including the wild card game) and it took some time for the Packers to realize Don Barclay (-35.5) wasn’t the answer at tackle. Barclay was terrible in pass blocking and run blocking at left or right tackle.

JC Tretter was an excellent backup with a +4.7 overall grade. Tretter can play guard, center or tackle. Lane Taylor played 155 snaps and earned a +1.0 grade. Josh Walker played 80 snaps and was terrible with a -5.4 grade.

The Packers were a solid run blocking team but had some protection issues from Bulaga, Linsley, tight ends and some backup players not named JC Tretter. Green Bay has been good protecting their QB in the past and could rebound in 2016. The Packers starters played 83% of the total snaps and it wasn’t just an injury problem.

Overall: C+

Green Bay was average in PPG, solid in running the ball with fumble issues and had poor in protection. Green Bay dealt with some offensive injuries (Nelson, Montgomery, some offensive line late in season) but they could have been a top 10 offense if Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Devante Adams and Eddie Lacy stepped up a little more without Nelson. Green Bay only turned the ball over 17 times (top 5 least) which helped them win games. Rodgers still had 30 TDs in a down year to lead Green Bay to 10 wins with a strong 6-0 start.

We will see if Nelson can recover from his injury and be the same player and if the Packers can rebound from an average offense. An average Green Bay offense is possible with Aaron Rodgers. That is a good piece of information to remember even with 2nd and 3rd round weapon picks slated to be the next great thing for Green Bay.