Green Bay Packers: one up, one down from week 6

This season’s first edition of Bears week ended in a familiar way Sunday afternoon: with a Green Bay Packers win. The Packers knocked off it’s divisional rival 24-14 to improve its win streak to five in a row and its overall record to 5-1 on the year. Let’s discuss one up, one down from the Packers’ week 6 matchup versus the Bears.

Up: D-line overcoming injuries

Terms you often hear coach Matt LaFleur reiterate: resilient, don’t blink, never flinch, next man up. The players have bought into their coach’s message once again, and possibly no group more than the front-four.

When LaFleur and his staff started OTAs in May, it’s tough to imagine they thought guys like Jonathan Garvin and Ladarius Hamilton would be playing big snaps for them.

They also likely didn’t think Rashan Gary would be the team’s number one pass rusher on the depth chart.

But they are and he is, thanks to a slew of injuries that have decimated the defense.

The Packers entered the game still without edge rusher Za’Darius Smith.

Smith’s running mate Preston Smith also went down in Sunday’s game, leaving the team in a less than ideal situation at one of the premier positions on the field.

The group didn’t blink though.

After the defense sacked Joe Burrow three times last week, it got after Justin Fields four times in week 6, bringing the team total to 14 on the season (T-7).

After Garvin and Dean Lowry got home earlier in the game, Kenny Clark continued his dominant season by adding two sacks of his own on the Bears’ final drive, sealing a Packers win.

Winning is fun. Winning while relying on fourth and fifth stringers is really fun, and a sign of a really good football team.

Down: Pass-pro communication

Even with the high standards that have been set by the offensive line rooms over the past few seasons, it’s tough to get mad at this year’s young group.

It has done a good job, considering Billy Turner was the only starting lineman with more than two years of experience at one point.

But the group got an upgrade in week 6 as Elgton Jenkins assumed his not-so-regular role at left tackle.

As well as Yosh Nijman played, Jenkins’ presence opened up more opportunities for the tight-ends because they didn’t have to help block.

Sunday’s “best five” – as LaFleur would put it — had some head-scratching moments though.

Most of the moments came at the hands of miscommunication.

The Bears’ big three — Robert Quinn, Akiem Hicks, and Khalil Mack – all got to Rodgers yesterday.

Quinn’s sack was simply him beating Jenkins – a sight as rare as any for Packers fans.

Hicks’ and Mack’s sacks were a result of the line not sliding though.

Mack had one of the easier sacks of his career after stepping outside before speeding to Turner’s inside shoulder and not being picked up by Royce Newman.

Hicks was able to take advantage of a Lucas Patrick miscue and penetrate from the interior.

It’s worth emphasizing the Packers were playing one of the better front-fours in all of football. Quinn, Hicks, and Mack are far from a cakewalk, but the communication in pass-protection is certainly an area that will be polished in practice this week.

The Packers will head home for a date at high-noon with Chase Young and the Washington Football Team next Sunday.

Another formidable pass rush awaits.

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Joshua Frey-Sam is a journalism student and aspiring sportscaster hailing from Winnipeg, Canada. A Packers fan since 2005, Josh has worked to master the financial and scouting aspect of the NFL over the past few years. Josh remains a firm believer that Dez did not, in fact, catch the ball. You can follow him on twitter at @jfreysam.

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