Packers not concerned about red zone issues

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws against the Cincinnati Bengals in the...
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)(Bryan Woolston | AP)
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 8:39 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett dubbed it the “gold zone,” and in 2020 Green Bay was as good as gold inside their opponent’s twenty yard line. This year though has been a different story with the Packers only converting on 11 of their 20 trips.

That could become more of an issue against a stout Bears defense this week that ranks third overall in the red zone.

“Any time you have a great scheme with great players that give great effort, that’s a problem. It’s not a surprise to me that they’re a top five defense,” said head coach Matt LaFleur.

When pressed about the statistics inside the red zone though LaFleur channeled his inner Mike McCarthy. Taking a page out of his predecessor’s playbook for the response.

“Stats are for losers, sorry. You guys can have a hay day with that. All I care about is wins and losses,” said LaFleur.

The third year head coach isn’t concerned his team will turn it around in the red zone. In fact according to LaFleur the correction starts with the play caller, himself.

“We set a standard a year ago of what it should look like, and we haven’t lived up to that standard. I got to do a better job of getting our guys plays that can be successful,” said LaFleur.

Green Bay can go a long ways towards addressing their red zone woes if they can get tight end Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams going in terms of touchdowns. Last season they combined for 29, but have just three at the start of 2021.

“Many of those went to those two guys, and us being at fifty-whatever percent, compared to 80 percent last year. There’s a number of touchdowns just kind of missing. I think that’s probably the biggest reason,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Adams had one of his best games of the season on Sunday with 217 yards and a red zone touchdown. The All-Pro caliber receiver also saw a correlation to his numbers from a year ago, and isn’t worried about the totals from game to game.

“You can’t count them, you just have to make them count. Every time I get an opportunity down there, whether I’m doubled or singled up, I’m going to try and come down with it. Make sure we make them count,” said Davante Adams.

Green Bay has struggled in the red zone on defense as well. Right now they sit at the bottom of the league as the only team in the NFL yet to come up with a red zone stop. That’s with opponents converting on all 13 trips into the red zone this season, and 16 straight dating back to the previous postseason.

Still LaFleur is seeing improvement with the defense as they settle into Joe Barry’s system.

“Number one, we were trying to find our identity and who we were and who we wanted to be. There’s a philosophy to every phase of the game. I think we have switched, but we have to go out there and execute now,” said LaFleur.

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