Biggs: Packers have their work cut out for them

The bye week comes at a fine time for the Green Bay Packers, who are either going to have to alter the gameplan until left tackle Chad Clifton returns from a sprained ankle or implore quarterback Aaron Rodgers to start getting rid of the ball more quickly.

Otherwise, he might not make it to the midway point of the season.

The Packers will lick their wounds after Monday’s 30-23 loss at Minnesota left them two games back of the NFC North-leading Vikings. The hope is that Clifton will be able to return on the other side of the bye when they host the Detroit Lions on Oct. 18 at Lambeau Field. Otherwise, Dewayne White and ex-Packer Jason Hunter might be poised for career games. That is how it’s been going since Green Bay lost Clifton in a Week 2 loss to Cincinnati. The Packers made an early push for Antwan Odom to reach the Pro Bowl, and Jared Allen abused Daryn Colledge and T.J. Lang Monday after Colledge (the converted left guard because the Packers don’t have a swing tackle) was knocked out with a sprained knee.

Minnesota sacked Rodgers eight times with Allen bagging 4 1/2, a “Monday Night Football’’ record. Rodgers has been sacked 20 times on the season, four more than any other team has, and putting the Packers on pace for a head spinning 80 sacks.

“Jared made them pay and cashed the checks,” Vikings tackle Kevin Williams said. “We all got some push, but he got all the sacks.”

It would be too easy to lay the blame solely on the makeshift offensive line that had Jason Spitz moving from center to left guard and Scott Wells filling in at center. Rodgers has to take some culpability here, and he certainly doesn’t have the pocket presence that his predecessor Brett Favre did for years in Green Bay.

“I’m hoping it’s because there maybe wasn’t anybody open,’’ offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said following the game. “Certainly, there’s been enough guys in our backfield when we’re throwing the ball to be concerned about it if you were playing quarterback. But I don’t sense that.”

It’s not time to panic because this offense has looked dynamic at times. Rodgers’ wide receivers are about as good as there are in the conference and tight end Jermichael Finley had a huge game. Running back Ryan Grant was productive at times. The work ahead for the Packers has been laid out for them and now they need to get to it.

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