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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the first to say when his team plays the Buffalo Bills on Sunday there’s a strong possibility they might get “exposed.”
That’s his word for what the Bills might do.
And that’s a legitimate concern. Because the Packers are lately playing like poo (official football term) and are on a three-game losing skid.
But the Bills, leading the AFC East with a 5-1 record, are not exactly buying that narrative.
“They have Aaron Rodgers,” Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Monday. “He’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, a terrific, terrific football player and he’s more than capable of leading his team, putting his team on his back. So it starts there.”
Buffalo Bills Wary Of Green Bay Packers
Frazier is aware the Packers are struggling on offense. They’ve scored no more than two touchdowns in any of their three consecutive losses and they’re sort of reaching for solutions — Rodgers has suggested simplifying the offense, changing lineups, even using different language about future games.
Frazier is not buying any of it.
“I know they’ve hit a bump in the road of late,” he said. “It seems they’re not that far away when I watch the tape and then going back and looking at their game from [Sunday] as well. They’re so close to breaking through as an offensive unit so you know they’re capable.
“This just happens to teams at times where you get into a little bit of a rut and you just need something to click to really hit your stride. And they strike me as a team like that. They’re not far away on offense and an offensive explosion.
“So we’re going to have to play our best game of the season to have success.”
Listening to Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur talk about his team, it doesn’t quite sound like he thinks his team is on the precipice of a breakout performance.
He makes it seem more like there’s just so much wrong.
“The detail of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it is not to the level of winning football in the National Football League,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “The little details are what bothers me.”
Specifics? Yeah, LaFleur has those from the loss to Washington.
“We had illegal formations, covering guys up, two men in motion at the same time, the fundamentals of playing with your hands inside, so we got called for a couple of holdings,” he said of Sunday’s loss to Washington. “It’s just all those little things. We had dropped balls. All that stuff adds up.
“It’s all those little details and when you don’t go out there and play with great fundamentals and do the little things right it’s hard to win a game in this league.”
Unfortunately for the Packers, they’ve got other stuff going against them lately to add to their own detail issues.
They had to operate most of the game out of shotgun because Rodgers is nursing a hand injury and it’s uncomfortable for him to take snaps from under center.
That has hurt the club’s play-action game.
Left Tackle David Bakhtiari Day To Day
There’s also just, well, life things happening. The Packers expected to start David Bakhtiari at left tackle after a full week of practice. But his surgically repaired knee didn’t feel right Saturday and he decided after warming up Sunday he couldn’t play.
LaFleur, who spent days honing the game plan, had minutes to change the plan.
“Let’s just say I was a little bit later getting out the pregame warmup than typical, shuffling some things around,” LaFleur said. “At least you had some time to kind of reorganize some things. Obviously, it didn’t necessarily help us. It’s not like we were very productive offensively.”
LaFleur decided because backup left tackle Yosh Nijman spent the week practicing at right tackle, he simply wasn’t ready to move back over and substitute for Bakhtiari.
So the Packers went with Zach Tom, more comfortable as an interior lineman, at left tackle protecting Rodgers’ blind side. That all created a jigsaw puzzle line because the team had already planned to move Elgton Jenkins from right tackle to left guard and move Jon Runyan from left guard to right guard.
“That is one of the challenges in terms of planning for a week,” LaFleur said. “We just felt for the situation we were in, that was the play.”
Green Bay Packers Issues Conspire In Losing Skid
Combine all those issues and it’s little wonder the Packers couldn’t convert any of their six third down plays.
But despite all that, Frazier is still not underestimating a team Rodgers told reporters he fears could be “exposed.”
“What I can see is they’re a lot closer than what the scores may say,” Frazier said. “…They were just a play or two away from winning that ballgame …”
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