After so many years of certainty, the the Green Bay Packers entered the 2023 season with more questions than answers — the biggest being at the quarterback position. New starter Jordan Love got off to a hot start, with six touchdowns and no interceptions through the first two contests before running into some growing pains. His struggles were most apparent in his recent perfomance against the Las Vegas Raiders, as he finished with 182 yards, no TDs, and three picks.
Through all the ups and downs through the first five games, the Packers are 2-3 with a point differential that is dead even. For all the talk of 2023 being a rebuilding year, the Packers have proven to be a competitive team that will likely be in the Wild Card conversation down the stretch. But to stay on that course and improve after their bye week, the Packers need to make big adjustments across the offense front. Here is one thing the Packers must fix during their bye in Week 6.
Improve the run-blocking
The thought coming into the season was that the Packers would take the pressure off Jordan Love by relying on the run game. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon in the backfield, plus a solid offensive line that includes Pro Bowler David Bakhtiari, the running game figured to be the first option for Green Bay.
Instead, Green Bay is passing the ball on 59.72% of its plays — 11th highest in the NFL and ahead of supposed pass-happy teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. After averaging 26 pass attempts in his first two starts, Love is averaging 37.7 throws over his last three games. Plus, with David Bakhtiari out for the season with a torn ACL, the offensive line has struggled to open up any holes in the running game. Through five contests, the Packers have 408 rushing yards while averaging just 3.5 yards per attempt. Neither Jones nor Dillon has managed to surpass the 80-yard mark on the ground.
The Pro Football Focus player grades across the offensive line suggest a group that is struggling. Right tackle Zach Tom has been the best of the bunch, with a player grade of 75.6 — putting him in the “Above Average” category. The rest of the line has been far worse. Rasheed Walker, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, and Jon Runyan all have grades under 62, putting them on the edge of “Average” and “Below Average” territory. Runyan has been the worst, with a grade of just 54.3. All of these players (except Rasheed Walker, who did not play) had better PFF grades a year ago, so improvement is a distinct possibility.
The Packers offensive line has only given up 10 sacks on the year — tied for ninth best in the league — so the passing game has not been a problem. Green Bay needs to be a run first team, and the current performance of the offensive line is not allowing that to happen. This feels like a key turning point in the Packers season.
The team can take strides forward during its Week 6 bye and build confidence heading into a relatively easy stretch of games, but the squad could also continue to struggle after consecutive defeats. With the weekend off, the Packers have the time to fix the run-blocking issues in their offensive line and put this offense in a position to be successful for the rest of the season.