Report: Packers offense needs to get better to culminate…..

Packers offense must improve in red zone to finish 2023.

The Green Bay Packers’ offense has had opportunities to put points on the board the last two games but struggled to do so in the red zone.

The Packers finished 2-for-5 scoring touchdowns inside the 20-yard line during each of the last two games, both losses.

“You’ve always got to look critically at yourself,” said coach Matt LaFleur on Wednesday. “Are you putting the players in the best position possible? And if the answer is no, then you better come up with some different stuff. There’s been a little of that and then there’s been some lack of execution. That’s football. These guys get paid too on the other side. That’s been a point of emphasis.”

With how the last two games ended for the Packers, the defense is understandably garnering a lot of the attention. However, missed opportunities by the Green Bay offense in the red zone contributed to these losses as well.

Against the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Packers had scoring chances, with a total of 10 red zone visits, including five in each game. For some context, the Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL with 4.2 red zone trips per game. Unfortunately, on 10 visits, Green Bay left with only four touchdowns–two in each contest.

“There’s a lot of things that play into it,” said Jordan Love on Wednesday. “I think just giving guys a shot in the end zone and going to make a play is the biggest thing we can focus on. I still think we are a really good team and once we get down to the red zone we do a really good job. We have done a really good job and obviously last week wasn’t good enough. I think we will bounce back this week and be able to put up more points down there.”

Of course, when the Packers were on their three-game winning streak, they were much more efficient in the red zone. When up against the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions, and Kansas City Chiefs, the Packers converted 7-of-10 red zone opportunities into touchdowns. However, those types of performances have actually been the outlier for the team this season. Overall, Green Bay’s touchdown rate inside the 20-yard line sits at 50 percent, which ranks 22nd.

As Love mentioned, there isn’t one specific reason as to why they’ve struggled in this part of the field. In the early to middle portion of the year, you can point to the offense’s overall inconsistencies and inability to get out of its own way.

The Buccaneers have been one of the best red zone defenses in football, allowing a touchdown at the fourth-lowest rate entering Week 15.

Previously, LaFleur has discussed how red zone success starts with having a run game to lean on. Although it’s improved in the second half of the season, whether it be due to injuries or inconsistency, the Green Bay run game hasn’t been overly dominant by any means either.

In general, it’s also more difficult to move the ball in the red zone, especially through the air. With this being a condensed part of the field, there is simply less space to operate within with more defenders in a confined area.

The theme among LaFleur, Love, or Elgton Jenkins when asked about Green Bay’s red zone woes all goes back to execution and better responding to what the defense is throwing at them.

“Just the execution of assignment,” said Jenkins. It’s the O-Line not making a block. The receivers not making a block or not making a catch. The quarterback not making the read or whatever. It’s really just the details and getting in there and wanting it more, for sure. I feel like when you get in that area, people anchor down a little bit more. Send more pressure, a little more disguise, and we’ve got to be able to communicate and get the job done.”

This week against Carolina will provide the Green Bay red zone offense with the opportunity to get back on track. The Panthers enter Week 16 allowing a red zone touchdown on 71 percent of their opponents’ visits–the highest rate in football.

The Packers have experienced an immense amount of growth on offense since Week 9. Love ranks eighth in yards per pass attempt during that span. However, even with that being the case, they’ve eclipsed the 24-point mark on offense just once during that seven-game stretch. Taking that next step as a unit comes once they can be more consistent and effective within the red zone.

“Get down there, that’s when you’ve got to be at your best,” added LaFleur. “Whether it’s in the red zone, whether it’s on third down, fourth down. You have to be at your best in the most critical moments. I don’t think it’s for a lack of effort, a lack of focus. But we obviously haven’t performed the best we can, and I’m talking everybody, from myself down to the players.”

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