The Packers kicked off their 100th season Sunday at Lambeau Field against the Chicago Bears. It was probably one of the most anticipated kick offs in recent memory due to the slew of coaching changes over the off-season, roster improvements and Rodgers returning to regular season action after missing the majority of last season.
The game was a tale of two halves. The first half was as bad as Packers fans could remember in recent seasons. Packer fans nightmare of losing Rodgers for an extended period of time and the season being over before it really even began flashed before their eyes. The Bears defense returned to their ‘Monsters of the Midway’ form and took at 17-0 halftime lead and added a field goal just shortly after the second half begun.
The second half was one for the ages. Rodgers returned and the offense begun moving the football, and the defense only surrendered a field goal the rest of the way. Setting up a comeback that movies are made of.
Here a couple of takeaways from week 1.
Mike Pettine’s Defense is not Dom Capers Defense
In the first half, it appeared there was no difference in the defense from last year. Guys were running wide open all over the field, there was a lack of tackling, blown coverages, and no pressure on the quarterback.
The Bears were throwing everything they had at the Packers and the defense had no answers.
After giving up 10 points on the opening possession, Mike Pettine made some adjustments and his defense responded by giving up only 6 points on the next 8 possessions. Making defensive adjustments in game and during halftime is something we did not Capers do.
The revamped young secondary was a big reason for the turn around, as they were locked down in coverage. Pettine sacrificed the run game to stop their passing attack and dared Matt Nagy to beat him throwing the ball with Mitch Trubisky. Nagy played right into and Trubisky couldn’t do it.
After Rodgers connected with Randall Cobb for the game winning score, the defense came through and closed it down. Now, it was not perfect and this defense has a lot of improve upon still, but it was start.
The Offensive Line isn’t as strong as they used to be.
The Packers must be able to protect the franchise. In the first half, they were not able to and Rodgers was getting hit almost every time he dropped back. Khalil Mack just man handled whoever was trying to block him. In the second half, the offensive line looked a lot better but it was due to the fact that the Packers went to the pistol formation to help Rodgers knee injury and quick passes.
Bryan Bulaga was rusty and didn’t appear to former self. Of course he his returning from an ACL injury, so let’s hope he is shaking the rust off. He will improve and will be reliable the rest of the season.
Now the guard position is another question. Justin McCray was a spinning doorway and couldn’t stop anyone, just getting manhandled the whole game. While on the other side, Lane Taylor seemed absolutely lost and want is was suppose to be doing, which is blocking the defender.
With Rodgers already having an injury, offensive line play becomes that much more critical the rest of the season.
Geronimo Allison looks to be third receiver
Heading into the season, one question that the Packers had to answer was, who would replace Jordy Nelson. After week 1, the answer to that question seems to be Geronimo Allison.
He demonstrated the ability to get open and make tough catches. He won’t be targeted as much as Adams and Cobb, and Jimmy Graham will get his opportunities, but Allison has earned the trust of Rodgers and should blossom.
On the 39-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers, he was able to separate, and then go up and make the catch. Allison is a tall receiver and as the season goes on, the chemistry between him and Rodgers should continue to grow. Making the offense even more dangerous.
Time will tell how this season will play out, but there were plenty of positives and opportunities for the team to grow on as the season moves along.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag