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Packers pass Pats as top passing team

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    By TOM SILVERSTEIN
    tsilverstein@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: Nov. 12, 2007

    Green Bay - There doesn't appear to be anywhere higher the Green Bay Packers' passing offense can go, not after taking over the National Football League's No. 1 spot from the New England Patriots over the weekend.

    Until their victory Sunday, the Packers were simply riding the arm of Brett Favre. A boost from the running game, however, could make Green Bay's passing game more efficient.
    log

    The Packers' impressive numbers are partly the result of the frequency with which they throw the ball - only New Orleans (371) has thrown it more times than Green Bay (356) - and partly the result of their proficiency in completing passes (tied for second in the NFL with a 67.4 completion percentage).

    Most important, those numbers have a chance to improve as the season wears on for the 8-1 Packers if their 34-0 undressing of the Minnesota Vikings is any indication. The Packers finally ran the ball with a purpose, and they did it against maybe the best run defense in the NFL, becoming just the second team in two seasons to break the 100-yard mark against the Vikings.

    If the Packers can consistently run the ball, imagine how much more they could do with their passing game.

    "It's like when coach (Joe) Philbin did this illustration of an iceberg," running backs coach Edgar Bennett said, referring to the team's offensive coordinator. "When you look at an iceberg, you really only see about 10% that's above the water. There's so much more below the surface. I think that's a good illustration of what we can become."

    The Packers are on pace to set franchise records in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage and passing yards. They are on pace for 6,020 total yards, which would rank third in club history.

    Of course, their No. 1 ranking in passing yards in the NFL is offset by their No. 32 ranking in rushing yards, although they still rank fourth overall in total offense behind New England, Dallas and Indianapolis. Until Sunday, they were simply riding the arm of quarterback Brett Favre, whose passer rating of 96.2 ranks fifth in the NFL.

    Ryan Grant's second 100-yard performance in three games would lead one to believe the Packers have found a running game and can start to be more efficient passing the ball. In other words, fewer attempts but the same amount of yards.

    "I think it can only help," quarterbacks coach Tom Clements said of the running game. "It might lessen the number of attempts, but it opens up different types of passes, some that we threw against Kansas City. It's more play-action passes. If teams are concerned about our running game, we can fake the run and get a deeper throw down the field. That is a possibility."

    Over the final seven weeks of the season, the Packers will face only one top-10 defense - the seventh-rated Dallas Cowboys - and four that rank in the bottom half, including the Detroit Lions twice. The possibility of becoming more of a balanced offense exists provided Grant can continue to have the success he did against Minnesota and Denver.

    There's no question the Packers are going to be a passing team the rest of the season, but their ability to run the ball might determine whether they can get better. Since Grant took over the halfback job in the second quarter against Denver three weeks ago, the Packers have topped 400 yards total each game.

    The impact can be seen as well in Favre's performance over the past 11 quarters.

    He has completed 75 of 103 passes (72.3%) for 958 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions in that time for a passer rating of 112.8. Before that, he had completed 163 of 251 passes (64.9%) for 1,799 yards and 10 touchdowns with six interceptions for a passer rating of 89.4.

    Favre passed for 331 yards against Denver, 360 yards against Kansas City and 351 yards against Minnesota. The total yards gained were 430, 432 and 488 in those games.

    "You know really the biggest thing in the NFL is scoring points," Philbin said. "I don't think we ever sit around and think we need 'X' amount of yards in the running game and 'X' amount of yards in the passing game. It's a reflection of how well you're executing with yards and points.

    "We're looking for ways to score points, get the ball in the end zone."

    To that end, the Packers, who rank sixth in points per game, could do a much better job when they get inside the 20-yard line. They are 10th in scoring points inside the 20, but the real measure is touchdowns and in that department they have been successful on just 14 of 29 attempts (48.3%), which ranks 16th overall.

    By comparison, the Patriots are 30 for 43 (69.8%), the Cowboys are 20 for 34 (58.8%) and the Colts are 22 for 41 (53.7%).

    The next step for the offense is to start scoring regularly when it gets deep into the opposition's territory. Having a running game would help immensely in that area.

    "It just continues to open up doors as far as keeping you balanced and the defense on its heels," Bennett said. "You look at the Colts and some of the things they have been able to accomplish with play-action fakes and things like that, opening up routes behind the action, there are a number of things you can do when you have a good running game."
     
  2. Obi1

    Obi1 Cheesehead

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    Good article heather.

    The question that arises from this is is the stat of them not being efficient inside the 20 partly the result of an excellent long range pass attack?
    Afterall, if you are scoring from outside of the 20 yard line, that stat might not be all that important...
     
  3. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    How true! If you are throwing 40, 50, 60 yard TD's, your not in the red zone to often!
     
  4. Danreb

    Danreb Cheesehead

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    The Patriots had a bye week... so yeah.
     
  5. dannychau22

    dannychau22 Cheesehead

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    doesn't matter cause it's yards per game... so yeah :roll:
     
  6. PackinSteel

    PackinSteel Cheesehead

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    They've all played 9 games now - so yeah :-? :)
     
  7. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    We're beating them in yards, but they're still beating us in TDs.

    I agree. If our running game is like it was against MN and Denver, I think our passing TDs will increase because our red zone percentage would go drastically up.
     

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