Our 2019 Green Bay Packers, 8-2 record after ten games caught most Packer fans by surprise, including me. Although I predicted a 12-4 finish (11-5, worse case scenario) after 10 games I had them at 6-4. Well, a revamped defense, through both an excellent Draft/Free Agency, coupled with an offense no longer 99.9% dependent on Aaron Rodgers arm has carried them to this point. The much needed Bye Week will provide healing for some, a deep dive into the statistics for others and dissecting the San Francisco 49ers for Matt LaFleur.
One can point to the addition of Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Rashan Gary, Jace Sternberger, and Elgton Jenkins as contributing to this new found success. If not by being an instant starter, adding depth at positions of importance. Who thought Jenkins would be so dominant (besides Brian Gutekunst)? In over 500 snaps he has yet to allow a QB sack or pressure. Darnell Savage has fit in nicely in the secondary, which must tighten up the middle, and soon. At the running back position Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, now being used properly, have become the best tandem in the league. The Smith’s have already paid dividends in the pass rush/sack department over last season. The surprise at wide receiver has to be Jake Kumerow, who can run a precise route, find the opening in a zone, catch almost anything and blow up a LBer in the run game.
Statistically on Offense (17th), the Packers are performing better after 10 games. Aaron Rodgers is 225/347, 2,718 yards, 17 TD, 2 INT, 7.8 YPA, 271.8 YPG, 64.8% with a 102.7 RTG, having Aaron ranked 5th in the NFL. Aaron Jones has 135 rushing attempts for 589 yards, ranking him 13th, but his 11 TDs are tied for 1st, also add 354 yards receiving and 3 additional TDs. While RB Jamaal Williams may only have 169 yards receiving, he has 5 TDs in that category, also tallying 291 yards rushing with another TD. No one can convince me that Jones and Williams haven’t taken the pressure off ARod. Thank goodness LaFleur recognized the talent he had at RB, and how to deploy that talent.
On Defense (28th) the Packers are clearly led by LB Blake Martinez. Not only does he call the defensive plays, he simply leads the league in tackles. Martinez has a nose for the ball, even playing with a club on his hand. Preston Smith (10) and Za’Darius Smith (8.5) are ranked 4th and 6th respectively in Sacks!! Wow, Mike Pettine should be ecstatic with their production. On the back side of the defense, Kevin King is tied for 4th in INTs. The Packers DB’s lead the league in Pass Breakups, but they also lead in Dropped INTs. While the defensive overall ranking of 28 is not impressive they appear to be #7 in Red Zone Defense. I’m not a fan of the Prevent Defense or the “Bend don’t Break,” defense because I believe those aren’t sustainable for a Super Bowl run. They must stiffen against the run, and protect the middle of the field better to advance deep in the playoffs. Finally, the NFL has the Green Bay Packers ranked 6th overall in their Power Rankings.
One week from today, the Packers will be on the road to face the current #4 ranked San Francisco 49ers, who may rise/fall depending on today’s result (a rematch with the Cardinals). The 49ers have a powerfull running game and an All Pro TE in George Kittle. That has been a tough combination for our defense through 10 games. The Packers must make some defensive adjustments in those areas before they face the 49ers. Offensively the Packers will need more consistency from their WR group. My choice for starters at WR would be Davante Adams, Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and when deploying a fourth wide out, Marquez Valdes-Scantling. I don’t believe Geronimo Allison is 100% healed from his 2018 season ending injury. I also like Aaron Jones in the slot, I think he creates a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses. At any rate, On To San Fran!!!!!
As Always, Go Pack Go!
PackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter