Packers looking to build on last week’s o-line success
Tony Atkins, Packers contributor
From the Packers-Redskins game on Sept. 15, 2013.Photo: Image by TODAY'S TMJ4
GREEN BAY - Last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers seemed to have put it all together, putting a lot of questions to rest for the time being.
After the valiant effort in the loss at San Francisco, and Sunday’s convincing win against Washington, these Packers seem to have most of it put together heading into their game against Cincinnati.
Win or lose, there have been some vital signs of life seen on both sides of the ball in the first two weeks.
Perhaps none of these vital signs are brighter or more noticeable than the presence of a running game.
For a whole 60 minutes on Sunday afternoon, running back James Starks provided the Packers with an offensive balance that hasn’t been seen in a long time.
Starks’ impressive 132-yard performance against Washington allowed the Packers to take control of the time of possession, something that they did not do so well in Week 1 against the 49ers.
Last week, the Packers had possession of the ball for 32 minutes. In Week 1, they only held possession for 21 minutes. Aaron Rodgers was pleased to see results rushing the ball.
“We ran the ball better than we have in a long time. I’m really proud of James Starks. He ran it hard. He had good yards after the contact and he looked like the James Starks we all know and love,” said Rodgers on Packers.com.
It wasn’t just Starks.
For anyone watching last Sunday, it wasn’t hard for the naked eye to observe how the Packers’ offensive linemen kept things under control at the line of scrimmage against a talented Redskins defense.
T.J. Lang, David Bakhtiari and Josh Sitton all performed well, posting offensive ratings of 4.8 and 3.8, respectively, according to Pro Football Focus.
In Week 1, those same three players posted ratings of -3.0, -1.2 and -4.5. Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy certainly noticed the improvements made at the line of scrimmage.
“I thought we played well up front. I thought our first-level and second-level blocking was very good,” said McCarthy on Packers.com.
“That’s what happens when you stay in clean plays and the execution was is at a high level.”
It is no secret that the Packers are successful as a pass-first team. The irony of Rodgers having his best game as a passer came on a day when the Packers had a 100-yard rusher, and solid blocking should be no coincidence.
This is the way the Packers weathered the storm in the 2010 playoffs and won Super Bowl XLV. This is the type of play that they’ll need if they want to make it back to the summit of the NFC.
This week, we’ll see how the Packers will build on last week’s successes as they take on another tough defense in Cincinnati.
Tony Atkins contributes to the sports staff at TODAY'S TMJ4 and in many capacities at 620WTMJ. He also writes about the Packers at Acme Packing Company.