Happy Victory Monday! It was another intense game for the Green Bay Packers, but they were once again able to come away with the win. It was an incredibly fast start for the offense that they unfortunately were unable to sustain but the Packers’ defense was able to secure the win over the course of the second half.
Obviously every team wants to being the year 2-0, but these victories carry just a bit more weight for this Packers team as they are also 2-0 in the division. With the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears both at 0-1 in the NFC North, the Packers already have a big advantage early on in the season.
Having been able to watch this revamped Green Bay Packers team for a second week now, we continue to learn more about them. As always, there are positives and negatives from their performance against Minnesota, but these are my three big takeaways from what we saw on the field.
The offense is headed in the right direction
As we all remember, the Packers’ offensive performance against the Bears left quite a bit to be desired as their lone touchdown drive that week was really the only time they were able to string some positive plays together.
Although with this Vikings’ game it is easy to think about how the game ended for the offense in the second half, we did see them take a step forward early on. For an offense that is in a new system and only in their second week working together, struggles are to be expected. Especially considering the two defenses they’ve had to go up against.
Green Bay was able to jump out to a 21-0 lead after scoring on each of their first three possessions. Within their scripted plays they were up-tempo, spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, and had a great mix of run and pass. During that time, we saw vintage Aaron Rodgers as he was 9/10 passing for 134 yards with two touchdowns on those opening possessions.
It is unfortunate that they eventually hit a wall and reverted back to what we saw in week one, but they are making strides in the right direction. I would anticipate that this next week against Denver, we see even more improvements from this offense.
“We got a defense”
Even after their dominating performance against the Chicago Bears, I tried to temper my expectations by saying “it’s only week one.” However, after watching Sunday’s game, this is a legit, top 10 defense in the NFL.
While they did give up the 75-yard run to Dalvin Cook and the big touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, part of that is just the nature of playing this boom or bust Vikings’ offense. But when it mattered most, they were able to come up with the big stops.
They held Kirk Cousins to just 14/32 passing for only 230 yards and forced four turnovers as well. The Packer defense also didn’t allow the Vikings in the end zone during their two red zone trips and they were able to get off the field on third downs.
For a team that has really struggled to create turnovers in the past, they have five through the first two weeks, including a pair of interceptions in the end zone, to clinch the victory in each game. Without these two strong defensive performances, the Packers would very likely be 0-2 at this point.
Don’t rotate at left guard
Through training camp and the preseason, coach Matt LaFleur made it very clear that veteran Lane Taylor and rookie Elgton Jenkins would be battling for the starting left guard spot. While many thought that it was Jenkins’ job, Taylor was named the starter against the Bears in week one.
It was a rough showing in Chicago for Taylor so apparently the plan to remedy this was for Taylor and Jenkins to platoon at left guard throughout the Vikings game just as they did during the preseason.
After the game, LaFleur was asked about Taylor and Jenkins and had this to say: “Every position is up for competition throughout the entire season. Feel good about both those guys…it’s a competitive situation.”
I’m all for competition but I do not see how platooning the two players during a live game helps the team. It has to be very difficult for both Taylor and Jenkins to find any sort of rhythm when they are sitting on the sidelines every other drive. Also, that lack on continuity has to affect the others along the offensive line as well.
My hope moving forward is that LaFleur picks either Taylor or Jenkins and commits to that player. If that individual is struggling after a few games, then make the switch, but I can’t support doing it multiple times within the same game.