Heading into the 2022 regular season, the Green Bay Packers knew that there would be some kinks to work out with their offense. While they were able to lock down a contract extension with Aaron Rodgers, he lost some important weapons in the offseason.
Davante Adams being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders garnered the most headlines and rightfully so. He is a multi-time All-Pro and has been Rodgers’ go-to receiver for the better part of a decade.
In addition to Adams leaving town, the team also lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Valdes-Scantling signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs, agreeing to a three-year, $30 million deal. While the Adams loss was a big one, Valdes-Scanlting’s departure has proven to be just as damaging.
Valdes-Scantling was an elite deep threat in the Packers’ offense, easily taking the top off of defenses for Rodgers to hit for long passes. He averaged 17.5 yards per reception in his Packers career and that is an element of the passing game that the team has yet been able to replace.
Thus far this season, Rodgers has only completed 10 passes when targeting a receiver 15+ yards down the field. That puts him 26th in the NFL with only one more completion than the much-maligned Baker Mayfield, whose incompetence was part of the reason that Matt Rhule was fired as head coach of the Carolina Panthers earlier this week.
That is a shocking statistic as Rodgers has shown no signs of slowing down, winning the MVP award the last two seasons. But, it just goes to show that no matter how good a quarterback is, they need the right pieces around them to succeed.
Personnel is a big reason that Rodgers has struggled pushing the ball down the field as there isn’t an established deep threat currently on the roster. He is still building chemistry with his new weapons as Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are the only players Rodgers has experience working with before this season.
The more reps that Aaron Rodgers has with his other receivers, the better things will hopefully get. But, this is certainly a concerning stat as the Packers’ defense has yet to live up to expectations, providing the offense with a shorter leash to figure things out.