Rodgers says simplifying could help struggling Pack offense

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers believes a simpler approach can help Green Bay’s offense get out of its funk.

The Packers certainly need to try something.

Rodgers hasn’t come close to matching his production from the last two seasons — each of which resulted in MVP honors — and the Packers find their hopes of a fourth straight NFC North title in jeopardy.

The Packers dropped to .500 with a surprising 27-10 home loss to the New York Jets. That followed a 27-22 defeat against the New York Giants in London, a game in which Green Bay squandered a 14-point lead and didn’t get any points from its offense after halftime.

“Very inconsistent,” Rodgers said of the offense. “And that’s why we need to simplify things because on the couple drives that we did move the ball, it was very simple things. Very simple plays, no motion.

“So we need to look at everything and the guys that we’ve got and what we can accomplish with them and let’s be smart about (that) moving forward.”

This isn’t what the Packers (3-3) were expecting when Rodgers signed a contract extension to return to Green Bay for an 18th season.

After earning the NFC’s top seed but falling short in the playoffs each of the last two years, the Packers were hoping Rodgers’ return could help them earn the Super Bowl berth that has eluded them since their 2010 championship season.

But if the offense doesn’t get better, the Packers could have trouble reaching the postseason at all.

The Packers went scoreless for 11 straight possessions — a stretch that began against the Giants — before Mason Crosby kicked a 29-yard field goal on the final play of the first half Sunday. They’re scoring just 17.8 points per game.

“We’re in a pretty bad predicament right now,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “We just could never get into a flow and you know, give them credit. They were tough to block up front. I felt like we didn’t handle any of the movement very well and it just felt like we were calling plays in second-and-long the whole game.”

Rodgers went 26 of 41 for 246 yards with a 25-yard touchdown to Allen Lazard, but the Jets sacked him four times and had nine quarterback hurries.

He threw an apparent pick-6 to Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner on the game’s opening series, but it was ruled an incompletion upon a reply review. Quinnen Williams sacked Rodgers on Green Bay’s next series to force a fumble that running back Aaron Jones recovered at the Packers 8.

A.J. Dillon and Jones combined for only 60 yards on 19 carries.

“Nobody works harder than Matt on the plan each week and nobody comes with better ideas than him and his staff,” Rodgers said. “But if it’s not working, it’s not because those guys aren’t grinding. It’s because we’re not executing.

“If you think we have the right players, then we need to simplify things. If you don’t, then that’s a whole other conversation.”

There figured to be some growing pains for this offense.

The receiving corps no longer had two-time All-Pro Davante Adams, now with the Las Vegas Raiders. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has missed the Packers’ last four games with a hamstring injury, and Randall Cobb left Sunday’s game early after hurting his ankle.

Green Bay’s offensive line has tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins still trying to regain their previous form as they come back from torn anterior cruciate ligaments.

Rodgers also wasn’t at full strength Sunday.

The four-time MVP had injured his right thumb while getting sacked as he prepared to throw a Hail Mary pass in the final play of the Giants game. The injury kept him practicing Wednesday, though he was a full participant the rest of the week.

Rodgers acknowledged the thumb was “a little sore” and said it might have impacted him on “maybe a couple (of throws) but not too many.”

He was asked after the game if he felt the Packers’ season was getting wobbly with the team falling to .500.

“We’ve got to be realistic of where we’re at,” Rodgers said. “We’ve played a couple of subpar games the last two. We’ve got to play better. But wobbly? Only if people are breaking rank. I think it’ll be interesting to look at the comments from all of our guys and coaches, and hopefully we stick together.

“That’s the important thing. Until I see us breaking ranks, I’m not going to say there’s any wobbliness going on.”

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