Green Bay Packers struggling in red zone, both on offense and defense

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Amari Rodgers, right, carries the ball against the Bengals on Sunday in Cincinnati. (AP photo)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers aren’t striking gold as often as before whenever they get near the goal line. It’s been an entirely different story for Packers opponents.

Green Bay boasted the NFL’s best red-zone offense last season, though the Packers call that area the gold zone instead as a nod to offensive coordinator Nath

aniel Hackett’s love for the Mike Myers movie “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

This year, they’re not capitalizing nearly as often when they get inside an opponent’s 20-yard line. The Packers are scoring touchdowns on 55% of their red-zone possessions — down from a league-high 76.8% last year — to rank 27th out of 32 NFL teams.

“We’ve done a lot to get down there,” running back Aaron Jones said. “Now it’s time to finish it. We can’t be content with three points. We’ve got to get that six. It makes a difference. We’ve just got to lock in a little bit more.”

The offense’s struggles once the Packers reach the 20 are particularly glaring because Green Bay opponents have scored touchdowns each of the 13 times the Packers have allowed them to reach the red zone.

Green Bay Packers running back A.J. Dillon, center, celebrates a touchdown against the Bengals with guard Lucas Patrick, left, in the first half in Cincinnati on Sunday. (AP photo)

Green Bay (4-1) still has managed to win four straight heading into Sunday’s game at Chicago (3-2). That may explain why Packers coach Matt LaFleur says he isn’t about to panic over the Packers’ red-zone concerns.

LaFleur acknowledged the Packers’ need to improve their red-zone efficiency this week, but expressed confidence they would do just that. When LaFleur received multiple follow-up questions on the topic, he said that “stats are for losers” and noted the Packers’ four-game winning streak.

One day later, LaFleur offered explanations regarding his comment on stats. He said the Packers do rely on analytics but also look beyond the numbers.

“We use every information that we can get our hands on,” LaFleur said. “But ultimately, we’ve got to look at the tape and try to figure out the why’s behind whether you’re successful or unsuccessful.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today