Let’s be honest here. We didn’t learn a lot about the 2022 Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. The sun rises in the east, Kroll’s butter burgers are the perfect food, and the Packers destroy the Bears in prime time. It’s as reliable as a Swiss timepiece.
Matt LaFleur talked all week about needing to get the ball into Aaron Jones‘ hands. Many of us were screaming that at the top of our lungs throughout the opener in the Twin Cities. On Sunday night, he reminded everyone that he is the most explosive skill player on the Packers roster, and there really isn’t a candidate for second place.
I’d argue that 18 touches is still a little light, but it’s a hell of a lot better than eight. While Jones was gashing the Bears’ defense for nearly nine yards per carry, it opened up play action and allowed the passing game to get into a flow as well, especially in the 21-point second quarter that put the game on ice.
You can’t overstate the importance of Elgton Jenkins‘ return to the offensive line, and LaFleur was quick to bring that up after the game. Did we see Jenkins at his best? Hardly. The dude is 10 months removed from ACL surgery and will need a little time to knock the rust off. But he brought stability to the right side of the line, allowing Royce Newman to return to right guard, where he is much more suited to play. With Jon Runyan back from concussion protocol, the entire offensive line operation was light years better than what we saw in Week 1. When this team runs for 200 yards, it’s not going to lose.
Overall though, the offense remains a work in progress. The fumbled snap between Rodgers and Dillon cost the team points, and the snap that grazed Christian Watson as he was jet-sweeping could have been a disaster. They’ll work all that out, and the passing game will get more lethal. Having Allen Lazard back out there setting the edge with his blocking and being a reliable target for Rodgers in the red zone and on third downs makes all the difference in the world.
Defensively, it was kind of a Jekyll & Hyde performance. After an ugly opening drive, the defense settled in, and the Bears were stuck in quicksand for the rest of the first half — which is what we’d expect against an anemic Chicago offense. I’m not sure what happened to the run defense in the third quarter. David Montgomery suddenly looked like he was back in Ames shredding a hapless Kansas defense. Missed tackles by Campbell, Walker, and Amos, among others, were startling — especially Amos, who has played two terrible games to start the season. Not sure what’s going on there, but he needs to look like the 2021 Adrian Amos, or the Pack’s defense will struggle all season against good offenses.
The play of the game, of course, was the goal line stand that preserved the two-score lead. Lost in the controversy of Fields’ near touchdown on a strange play call using the shotgun on the play before Quay Walker was able to stop Fields inches from the pylon. Walker’s presence next to Campbell will take this defense to places it hasn’t been.
Fortunately for the Pack, Chicago’s passing attack is just a rumor at this point. Therefore, we’ll have to wait and see if the secondary learned any lessons from the Week 1 disaster. With Tom Brady looming next week, we should get some of those questions answered in short order.
For now, through two games, we know that the Packers seem to understand that giving the Jones-Dillon duo nearly 40 touches is the magic elixir for this offense. The defense has shown flashes of what it can be, and special teams doesn’t appear to be an unmitigated disaster. There’s room for improvement across the board, but they followed up a stinker with a statement. We’ll know a lot more about this team at this time next week.