I understand at first glance why not having any combination of Adams, Cobb, Allison, and Graham in the line-up could scare you for Sunday. However, these are players that have solidified their role in the offense. This could be a good situation for the Packers and their offense moving forward. Let’s take a look at three main reasons why it does not scare me not having some of the star players on offense at this point in the year.
First, there are two position groups that need to get their roles straightened out which are the running back group and the tight end group. In the backfield, the first few weeks they have just been rotating and splitting snaps three ways. This week they will need to specifically gameplan a little better with a gimpy Rodgers and no star receivers. They have to figure out ways to utilize the backs and use their strengths to benefit the offense as a whole. With Aaron Jones, it is all about getting him touches. The more touches, the more he can do with the ball. Every time he touches it he has a chance to break one. I feel it is important to mark a minimum amount of touches he has.
Jamaal Williams is a good strong runner and great at pass-pro, so use this to your advantage. The key to Williams is playing him at situational times or even in certain packages to use his skills. He can be used to pound the ball, protect Rodgers when you want to sling the rock, or even with deception on some screens or swings from the backfield. The third back in Montgomery was once a receiver. So, the crazy idea here is use him as one. He is a good runner but a great receiver out of the backfield. He can create mismatches, and he can be used to motion in and out of different formations. Montgomery can even be paired with another back which would be scary for an opposing defense. Pair Montgomery with right personnel on the field, and he will thrive.
Without Graham, this allows them to straighten out the rest of the group. This allows more snaps for Marcedes Lewis. With no star receivers, Lewis should be used in-line a lot whether running the ball or play action. This could be the game he is welcomed to Green Bay. If they use all three play making backs as they should, Lewis should be a huge part of the gameplan. Kendricks should be on a short leash considering his recent play. This could be a huge game for him impacting the rest of his season. He will need to be used as he has been the previous few weeks, but it is time to step up. At some point, they need to get Tonyan’s feet wet. This would not be a bad game to do that. Split him out wide or even use him in some play action. If Kendricks’s poor play continues, Tonyan should get his opportunity this week which only benefits him for later in the year.
Second, this is a great time for the rookie receivers to get some experience. I am sure on or two of these guys will play a role down the stretch, and I would much rather them get the experience sooner rather than later. It also allows them to gain trust from Rodgers. This is the biggest thing for these young guys. If Rodgers trusts them, they will be involved in the offense. Another thing to watch if the three starters are out, these rookies will have to play the whole game. If this is a regular game, they might get a chance every now and then, but if they mess up Rodgers may not go back to them or they will not get back in. However, there is no other choice but to keep them in, and Rodgers has no other choice but to throw it to them. This could help build positive relationships. Ultimately, it is all good game reps and experience for down the stretch.
Lastly, the defense is playing great football. Not only are they playing great ball, they have a full healthy secondary. This is the first time in a long time that the Packers can survive having offensive players hurt. The offense does not have to score every time they have the ball to keep the game close. They can play field position and rely on the defense to do their job. This defense is the key to the game, and I believe they will rise to the occasion. The Snow Fly Zone is full strength with a new member, a dominant overpowering front, and athletic linebackers to clean up the rest. Gives me chills talking about the defense that way. They can show they are the real deal. This game will only benefit the Packers for the future. It allows them to straighten a few things out, and to show they are a different team this year from top to bottom.