Week one was a disaster for the Green Bay Packers as it was the first game of the post Davante Adams era. Throughout the game the broadcast on Fox kept showing a graphic of the yards Adams had in his debut as a Las Vegas Raider vs. how many yards Packers receivers had. In the end Adams had more yards than all of the Packers receivers combined. Not a great look.
Then on the defensive side, the Packers are supposed to have a dominating group, but they appeared to have struggled. Well, this Packers team did not play as bad as it seemed while watching them live for a multitude of reasons. Reason number one. The Packers were two plays away from the game most likely being 23-21 (assuming field goals were made, but we cannot assume anything with the Packers special teams). The two plays being referred to are Packers receiver Christian Watson dropping a 75-yard bomb from quarterback Aaron Rodgers that would have been a touchdown. If this ball is caught, we are most likely seeing a different result to this game. The other is on the one-yard line where Packers running back AJ Dillion is stopped at the goal line and the Packers turn it over on downs. Rodgers said it best in his weekly Tuesday interview on the Pat MacAfee Show “that the game was a couple plays away from being tight and that’s the beauty of the NFL.”
Rodgers also talked about making too many mental mistakes including himself that they need to fix. An example that Rodgers brought up included missed blocking assignments. It may have seemed like Rodgers was under a lot of pressure while throwing the ball, which was not the case, but PFF did not love the Packers offensive line either, but Rodgers was only under pressure for 28.9% of his drop backs and in his back-to-back MVP years he was pressured on 26% of his drop backs according to Jacob Morley on Twitter. So not really a drastic change.
Now receivers downfield were open, but Rodgers was not letting the ball rip, instead he was just checking the ball down consistently which is not going to win many games. That may have been because he was keeping his eyes down due to being concerned about the offensive line protecting him or there may be another reason. Who knows? Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur both stated after the game that they need to get the ball to Dillion and other fellow running back Aaron Jones as they both combined to only touch the ball 23 times and Rodgers and LaFleur both felt that was not nearly enough.
Peter Bukowski on Twitter broke down some film, and he noticed things as well such as Packer’s receivers running to the same place or into each other or offensive lineman missing their assignments and blocking each other. All things that are fixable because as Rodgers said the mental mistakes are what killed them. Now onto the defense. It seemed that Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson killed them (which he did) but it’s not due to the fact the Packers had a bad plan for him but more they did not execute the plan.
According to Sam Holman on Twitter the Packers doubled team Jefferson on 70% of the plays and did it in different ways too so he never knew where the double team would be coming from. It was when the Packers secondary did not communicate well enough is when Jefferson burned them and turned the Packers mistakes into big chunk plays. Sure, everyone is going to talk about “Well why didn’t you put Jaire Alexander on him and have him follow him?” It just isn’t that simple as the Packers play more of a zone defense although can throw in man coverage when needed. The bigger issue with playing man against the Vikings was that they would not just motion Jefferson once they would do it twice in the same play so that makes it tough on the corner to follow him and maneuver people at the same time before the play is even snapped as LaFleur talked about this in his press conference on Monday afternoon. Another reason why Alexander was not on Jefferson is because the Vikings did a very good job of motioning Jefferson to keep Alexander from covering him.
Andy Herman on Twitter broke down the drives for the Packers defense and it paints the picture of how good this defense is if they do not have a mental lapse. The Vikings had a total of ten drives on Sunday and five ended up as a scoring drive. On the six drives they did basically nothing, the Vikings had a total of 27 plays, 65 yards, 5 punts and a field goal off a Packers fumble. On the other four drives the Vikings had a 78-yard touchdown drive, 89-yard drive that resulted in a field goal, a 74-yard touchdown drive and a 74-yard field goal drive that all resulted from big plays due to miss communication in the secondary. Once again something that can be fixed.
The Packers also turned the ball over twice while the Vikings had zero. Yet another issue that can be fixed. So, the way this game for the Packers should be viewed is that yes, the Vikings deserved to win as they took advantage of mistakes the Packers made but it seems more like the Packers lost this game more than the Vikings won it. The Packers were a few plays away from making it at the least 23-21, the offense was ok even with mental mistakes as they were still moving the ball as they had more first downs than the Vikings and over 300 yards of offense, the defense did good besides the four drives they gave up big plays, and the special teams did not do anything bad.
All the Packers mistakes are fixable. Looking back at this game the Vikings did not dominate the Packers as it may have seemed they have. So do not worry about the Packers as a year ago they were coming off a loss to the New Orleans Saints 38-3 and everyone was writing them off just like they are now. No need to overreact as Week 1 games usually do not tell the story of how the season is going to go as the Packers still got the overall number one seed in the conference and Rodgers still one MVP a year ago after a horrendous start so everyone just needs to R-E-L-A-X. Relax.