Packers must fix red-zone woes without their big-bodied pass catchers
If Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur won’t support euthanasia and end the misery of the Joe Barry experience, he will have to focus more on out-scoring opponents than expecting to win by getting any kind of help from the defense.
To do that, quarterback Jordan Love and the offense have to get back on track by scoring touchdowns when they reach the red zone. That was an enormous problem for them during the Packers’ October losing streak as well as their latest foray into disappointing defeats. Doing it without wideout Christian Watson and tight end Luke Musgrave has proven to be a difficult task. But to save a potential playoff trip, that’s where Love and LaFleur must find a path forward, Barry be damned.
During their three-game win streak over the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions, and Kansas City Chiefs, the Packers went 7 of 10 scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Watson played in all three of those games, putting up four touchdowns himself. His speed and size play extremely well near the goal line. While Watson gets credited with being a vertical weapon, LaFleur uses him well to stretch defenses horizontally, as he did on the touchdown against the Chargers.
But on the slot fade against the Lions, that’s just a beautiful throw from Love combined with a terrific play from Watson tracking the ball over his shoulder, creating late separation, and plucking the ball with his outstretched arms. And the ridiculous back-shoulder touchdown against the Chiefs -- I still don’t understand how Love fit into him -- is the kind of thing that makes one wonder what the ceiling for Watson could be if he stays healthy (A.J. Green?).
If he’s out, where do they find that kind of pop? (Or is it soda?)
Over the last two weeks, the Packers have had as many red-zone trips as the three previous wins combined, proof they can move the ball into scoring position with alacrity. But when it comes to closing the deal, well … let’s just say they won’t be getting any coffee.