The 100th season of NFL football got off to a roaring start on Thursday night with the Green Bay Packers visiting the Chicago Bears. That is, if you’re a Packers fan. For Cheeseheads across the globe, Thursday’s game was a wondrous introduction to the new era of Packers football.
This Packers defense is the real deal. Summer signings Preston and Za’Darius Smith were in the backfield on seemingly every play. The defensive line as a whole hounded Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky all night, forcing a number of tough throws as the game progressed. Play-makers are emerging on every level, giving Green Bay one of the fastest, most unpredictable defensive schemes in the National Football League. If the Packers can get this sort of production from the defensive side of the ball, perhaps Aaron Rodgers will no longer have to carry the team on his back. A diverse and balanced Packers football team is a scary thought. After a dream beginning, all of Wisconsin will be brimming with optimism this weekend. Finally.
Defensive co-ordinator Mike Pettine’s gameplan worked to perfection. As corner Tramon Williams stated, the Packers “made Trubisky play quarterback” and didn’t allow him to alter the outcome of the game with his legs. On the surface, the former second overall selection is simply a one-read quarterback. Trubisky looks great when he is calm, cool and collected, in a nice clean pocket. Bear’s coach Matt Nagy’s innovative offensive design created a number of clear and easy reads for Trubisky in 2018. Those looks were shut down last night by a much improved Packers defense.
Aaron Rodgers proudly presented new head coach Matt Lafleur with last night’s game ball in the locker room. That ball probably should’ve gone to defensive co-ordinator Mike Pettine. The experienced defensive czar created a game plan that worked nearly to perfection. Without the offense surrendering outstanding field position to Chicago at the 36 yard line, it’s likely Green Bay would have pitched a shutout. The Packers D harried and harassed Trubisky all night, ultimately sacking him on five occasions. More importantly, the new-look defense forced him into making quick decisions on every possession. A role the former North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback looked completely unsuited for. This 2019 Green Bay Packers defense is, in a word, overwhelming.
This is quite clearly the fastest defense the Packers have fielded in years. The safety duo of former Bear Adrian Amos, and rookie first round pick Darnell Savage were outstanding in their debuts. Savage was all over the field, recording three tackles and a number of key pass defenses. While, Amos sealed the game against his former team with a fourth quarter interception of Trubisky. This duo will give fans flashbacks of the Charles Woodson, Nick Collins era in Green Bay. Fond memories of playoff glory, and perhaps SuperBowls will spring to mind as excitement rings anew in Lambeau.
Mike Pettine’s defense last season in Green Bay was actually a large improvement compared to the previous years’ under Dom Capers. Now that Pettine has the horses to instill the full version of his schemes, the defense is starting to take off. The results of which are already starting to show in week 1. It’s hard to improve upon such a performance. Chicago’s offense finished with just 254 total yards, and were largely forced to play the game from their own end of the field. Green Bay’s defense will, inevitably face tougher tasks down the road this season. Thankfully, Thursday’s game is as great a beginning as any fan could have hoped for.Nick is a lifelong Packers fan. 4th and 26 was on his 13th birthday, unlucky. Follow him @CANDRAFTGEEK647 on Twitter for all your Packers draft needs and questions.