Rodgers: Offense's play 'unacceptable'

Updated: September 16, 2009, 5:51 PM ET
Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers' 50-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings was a master stroke, allowing the Green Bay Packers to snatch the lead from a bitter division rival with just 1:11 left on the clock.

But the big play covered up a long list of offensive deficiencies.

Despite the season-opening 21-15 victory over the Chicago Bears, the team's offensive meetings have been anything but fun going into Sunday's home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"We're proud of the fact that we scored when we needed to," Rodgers said Wednesday. "But we're not happy or content or OK with the way we played offense for the first 58 minutes. We did things we're not accustomed to doing. We made mistakes we know we're better than. We need to clean that up.

"As professionals and as members of the Green Bay Packers in this offense we hold ourselves to pretty high standards. So the way we played Sunday was unacceptable," he said.

The Packers couldn't protect Rodgers, giving up four sacks and forcing their second-year starter to scramble out of trouble several other times; as Packers coach Mike McCarthy noted, even the decisive touchdown pass was blocked incorrectly.

Beyond that, the Packers had too many penalties and couldn't run the ball, forcing them into far too many second-and-longs that led to third-and-forevers -- situations the Packers don't spend a lot of time planning for.

"I was writing on the back of a napkin," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin joked.

If not for an impressive effort by the new 3-4 defense and the big Rodgers-to-Jennings play, the Packers easily could have lost at home despite forcing new Bears quarterback Jay Cutler into four interceptions.

It was a surprisingly poor debut for an offense that appeared to be nearly unstoppable in the preseason, when Green Bay's first-stringers punted only once.

McCarthy seemed most concerned about the lack of pass protection.

"You can't have your quarterback take that many hits," McCarthy said. "That's not the way we're designed and that's not the way we're going to play."

Much of the postgame media blame centered on new right tackle Allen Barbre, who wasn't able to handle Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye. Barbre played better in the second half, but he also appeared to be getting help from running backs and tight ends.

Philbin said Barbre struggled with fundamental techniques; it's not that he didn't know who he was supposed to block, he just didn't do it correctly.

"We could sit up there and say our quarterback's never going to get hit," Philbin said. "But the reality of the National Football League, as we said to our quarterbacks, you're going to get hit. Now, do we want our quarterback to get hit four times and sacked four times in a game? Absolutely not."

Barbre is trying to replace long-standing right tackle Mark Tauscher, who sustained a knee injury near the end of last season and was not re-signed. Coaches appear to be sticking with the 2007 fourth-round draft pick -- for now, anyway.

"I felt he was over it watching him practice today," McCarthy said. "Allen Barbre is a very tough individual. He's a first-year starter, he made some mistakes."

McCarthy reiterated that Barbre was hardly the only one to blame for the offense's struggles. The Packers had only 76 yards rushing, averaging 3.5 yards per carry.

"We had a number of players on offense that did not have a winning performance," McCarthy said. "They've been corrected, and we expect them all to move on, and as an offense, we need to play a lot better than we did Sunday."

Rodgers said his confidence in the offensive line hadn't been shaken by their shaky performance in the opener.

"I have a lot of trust in those guys," Rodgers said. "I think the feeling with those guys is they don't want me to get hit anymore. At least that's what they told me."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press