Packers Maven

Packers believe offense can still be better

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings.Photo: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

QB Rodgers: "We've just got to be consistent and do a little better job on third downs and the red zone."

The Green Bay Packers were shut out during the first half in Week 1 against Chicago, with Aaron Rodgers carted to the locker room with a knee injury.

In Week 2 against Minnesota, Rodgers played with a brace on his left knee and had limited mobility.

Still, heading into this week's game at Washington, Green Bay is tied for 10th in the league in scoring.

"Like I said before, we're going to be a work in progress," Rodgers said on Wednesday. "We're trying to find ways to get matchups for our guys in space. We got Jimmy (Graham) a little more involved Sunday. We've got to get him opportunities to get targets. Obviously, Davante (Adams) had a number of targets. He's going to continue to find ways to get open; that's how he gets the ball. Randall (Cobb) and Geronimo (Allison) made some plays for us, too. We've just got to be consistent and do a little better job on third downs and the red zone."

While Clay Matthews' controversial roughing-the-passer penalty, which likely was the difference between a tie and a victory against the Vikings, has captured the headlines the past few days, the offense's ineptitude in the red zone was a major reason why Green Bay couldn't knock off its rivals to the west. The Packers went just 1 of 5 in the red zone and managed only one offensive touchdown, even though they spent most of the game playing on the Vikings' end of the field.

As Rodgers said, the offense should continue to get better. The No. 1 unit barely played in the preseason, so the chemistry is being built on the fly. Now, another piece of the puzzle returns this week with running back Aaron Jones returning from a two-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He finished second in the NFL in yards per carry (5.5) and percentage of runs that went 10-plus yards as a rookie last season.

"Everything's a learning lesson," Jones said. "You've just got to take it in stride, be a man about the mistake you made and learn from it. At the end of the day, I know I hurt myself. It's something I've got to deal with and when I get my opportunity to make the most of it."

After a 24-point second-half rally against Chicago and 29 points against Minnesota, the Packers will face another big test at Washington on Sunday. By splitting games against Arizona and Indianapolis, the Redskins rank No. 1 in the league in yards allowed and No. 2 in points allowed.

"They've played two good games on defense, forced some turnovers and getting after the quarterback," Rodgers said. "They've got a really nice group of players, some big names and some up-and-comers as well who are making plays for them."

SERIES HISTORY: 34th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 18-14-1. Washington is 9-5 in home games, including a 42-24 victory in the most recent matchup in 2016.

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