Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander was simply trying to explain why Green Bay’s defense needs to do more.
But his comments underscored how much of a concern Green Bay’s offense has become as the Packers head into their bye week.
“Yeah, I think at this point it’s pretty obvious that the defense has to not give up any touchdowns,” Alexander said after the Packers’ 17-13 Monday night loss at Las Vegas.
“I think that’s the part of being self-critical of our defense because the offense is pretty young and they’re still figuring out their mojo. So the defense, we’ve got to do more to score and stop them from scoring.”
The defense did plenty to help the Packers win a game Monday night. The offense just failed to do its part, which has been a common theme lately for a young group suffering serious growing pains.
After averaging 31 points over their first two games, the Packers have averaged just 17 over their past three. The offense’s plunge explains why the Packers are below .500 for the first time this season.
Green Bay already had entered the season with the league’s youngest roster before injuries took away two of their most proven offensive players.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who turned 32 on Sept. 30 and is Green Bay’s oldest player, will miss the rest of the season because of the knee issues that have bothered him ever since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Dec. 31, 2020. Running back Aaron Jones has missed three of the Packers’ past four games because of a hamstring issue.
Guards Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan Jr. and center Josh Myers were the only players on Green Bay’s first-team offense Monday with multiple years of starting experience.
That first-team offense included two rookies (wide receiver Jayden Reed and tight end Luke Musgrave), four second-year players (wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs and tackles Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom) and a first-year starting quarterback (2020 first-round draft pick Jordan Love).
“I never want to fall back on that because I just think that’s such an excuse,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday. “It is what it is. We’re going to play with the guys that we have, and we believe in the guys that we have.
“We do have a lot of talent. I think we all knew there were going to be some growing pains along the way, but I haven’t lost faith or belief in the group that we have. I just think we can do things better. I think we can coach better, and I think we can execute better.”
The bye week gives the Packers time to figure out their issues on offense as they get ready for the rest of the season. The problem is that the Packers already have shown that extra time to prepare doesn’t necessarily pay off.
Green Bay was playing in Las Vegas 11 nights after its 34-20 home loss to Detroit, so the Packers had plenty of opportunities during that layoff to sort out their problems. The offense responded with perhaps its worst performance of the season.
Green Bay’s defense had four sacks and limited the Raiders to 3.3 yards per carry.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
The Packers have been outscored 54-6 in the first half of their past three games. … After committing just three turnovers through their first four games, the Packers matched that total Monday. All three turnovers were interceptions from Love. … The offensive line couldn’t contain Las Vegas’ Maxx Crosby, who had one sack and four tackles for loss. … The offense scored a touchdown on just one of three trips to the red zone, settling for field goals on the other two occasions.
OLB Rashan Gary had a sack to increase his season total to 4 1/2. … S Rudy Ford intercepted a pass for the second straight game. … RB AJ Dillon has struggled thus far in the final season of his rookie contract, but he stepped up Monday by rushing for 76 yards with Jones sidelined.
After throwing six touchdowns without an interception in Green Bay’s first two games, Love has six interceptions and two touchdown passes over his past three outings. … Coming off a performance in which he had nine catches for 95 yards to set career highs in both categories, Doubs had just one catch for 4 yards Monday. … Doubs and Musgrave dropped passes during Green Bay’s final drive. … One day after getting signed to the active roster, RB Patrick Taylor was released. The Packers signed OLB Justin Hollins, who had been released a day earlier.
S Darnell Savage (calf) and LB Quay Walker (knee) both left the game.
“We’re hopeful that we could potentially get them back for Denver (on Oct. 22),” LaFleur said Tuesday.
8 – The Packers’ loss to the Raiders snapped their eight-game winning streak in the series. The Raiders hadn’t beaten the Packers since a 20-0 triumph at Lambeau Field in 1987.
This loss represented the only game the Packers are playing over a 23-day stretch. They have next week off before visiting the Denver Broncos (1-4) on Oct. 22.
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