Can Packers’ Offense be Ready For Week 1?

Regular season football for the Green Bay Packers is just 18 days away as the team enters into the final week of the preseason. Going into the final game against the Kansas City Chiefs, head coach Matt LaFleur has again made the decision to hold out his veteran starters until they face off against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1. The Packers look to be a force in the NFC conference yet again even with questions continuing to rise regarding the team’s offense. As we look ahead to Week 1, will the Packers’ offense truly be ready to kick off the season?

Quarterback

First and foremost, let’s begin by discussing the most prominent figure of the Packers offense: quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The back-to-back league MVP will have plenty of eyes on him this season after losing his star wideout and most recently criticizing the play of his new group of pass catchers. As it pertains to Week 1’s match-up against their NFC North rival, not many Packers fans appear worried about how their signal caller will fare.

However, we all remember the 2021-22 season opener against the New Orleans Saints that ended in a 38-3 blowout loss. Rodgers struggled mightily early in the game tossing two interceptions and didn’t quite look prepared for action. After again appearing in zero preseason games this season, Packers fans should be hoping that Rodgers can learn from his mistake and be ready for action once September 11 rolls around.

Running Backs

Next up, let’s discuss the running back position, which could easily become the most important position of the Packers’ offense. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will enter the season as potentially the best two-back tandem in the entire league. All offseason long, LaFleur has expressed his fascination with using both backs within the offense this season and even hinted at using both backs at the same time.

When speaking with reporters on Monday, LaFleur referred to Jones and Dillon as “1A and 1A” while saying that they are “two of the premier backs in our league.” Personally, I’m super intrigued with how LaFleur plans to use both backs in this offense this season and how many times we see a two-back set out of the backfield against the Vikings. Jones has shown he’s an elite back in Green Bay, while Dillon’s best days of football appear to be ahead of him.

Wide Receivers

Now, it’s time to focus on the wide receiver room. This is still a position group that will be a focal point during the final game of the preseason this evening to determine how the 53-man roster will shake out. However, for the sake of Week 1, it appears we know for certain who the Packers’ starters will be.  The question then becomes: how long until we see Amari Rodgers, Romeo Doubs, and Christian Watson take the field on offense?

Earlier I discussed Rodgers challenging his group of wide receivers last week and it appears they got the message. Rookie receivers Doubs and Watson put up solid weeks of practice working within the offense, and it was fantastic to see Watson hit the ground running after returning to practice. The starting trio in Green Bay seems to have the most trust from Rodgers to show out in Week 1. I’m more interested in seeing if one of these young players can make an impact against the Vikings.

Tight Ends

As for the tight end room, it’s still not a guarantee that we will see Robert Tonyan take the field in Week 1. Last week, Tonyan was activated off of the PUP list and was able to return to practice. Tonyan is easily the biggest playmaker at the position after recording 11 touchdowns during the 2020-21 season. Getting him back on the field in Week 1 will certainly be a boost for the offense. However, let’s not overlook Marcedes Lewis. Even at 38 years old “Big Dog” is still a crucial part of this Packers offense as a run blocker and an overall leader. Don’t sleep on his receiving ability if his number is called. Outside of those two, also keep an eye on Josiah Deguara potentially having an impact in Week 1.

Offensive Line

Finally, let’s take a look at the guys up-front. In terms of the Packers’ offense being at their full strength in Week 1, it really comes down to two players: David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. Both tackles were activated off of the PUP last week and returned to practice for the first time this offseason. Bakhtiari and Jenkins can easily be considered two of the top three players on the Packers’ offense and getting them back in the starting line-up can really put the unit at another level.

The Packers’ offensive line has dealt with a lot of shuffling after losing both of their top tackles during the past two seasons. Getting them back will allow the Packers to put out their best group of five up-front in Bakhtiari, Royce Newman, Josh Meyers, Jon Runyan, and Jenkins. It’s still unknown if that will be the group to start the season, but if so, the Packers’ offense will certainly be at full strength for Week 1.

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Kole Noble is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in North Carolina and is a huge NFL Draft nut. You can follow him on twitter at @SlawSportsShow.

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