We all knew that the 2022 NFL season would be filled with growing pains for the Green Bay Packers, and Week 1 certainly did not disappoint. Having come out flat against the Minnesota Vikings, it is obvious that many areas of improvement need to be addressed.
This is the second consecutive season that the Packers came out of the gate and had no sense of continuity and did not look like a team coming off yet another postseason berth. While the Vikings are a good team and they certainly are on the right trajectory, they consistently made Green Bay look ill-prepared and out of position.
Not sure what version of Aaron Rodgers this fan base will be getting this year as a whole, but Sunday’s version was certainly not worth all of the offseason storylines and stress we were put through. Time and time again Rodgers failed to make the right reads, and time and time again drives stalled because there was no fluidity with the offense.
Aaron Jones did not see even remotely close to enough touches, as his eight total touches (five carries, three receptions) pales in comparison to his expected touch total, which should live between 12-20. His backfield counterpart AJ Dillon was the featured back instead, as his 15 touches (10 carries, 5 receptions) led the team in both areas.
Rookie wideouts Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs were thrown right into the fire for the Packers, a testament to their lacking depth at that position. But each experienced their own growing pains, especially Watson.
On the first play from scrimmage, an image that is likely engrained into the minds of Packer fans everywhere, Watson made a nice move on Patrick Peterson and was wide open for a long TD to kick off Green Bay’s scoring. Except Watson had the ball go right through his hands, a ball that was placed perfectly so that he was able to run underneath, but he just didn’t catch it.
After his huge drop, Watson failed to see any regular targets from Rodgers until the second half, and both he and Doubs finished the day with six receptions and 71 yards combined. The only other concern is the health of Jon Runyan Jr., who was replaced by Zach Tom after being ruled out due to a concussion.
For what is the first time in Aaron Rodgers’ career, it was the defense that had more promise entering the year than the offense, and they had moments where they certainly filled the part. But with Justin Jefferson (9/184/2) torching them on what felt like every play, they too have some issues that need to be sewn up.
A curious choice by DC Joe Barry was to not have Jaire Alexander shadow Jefferson, an issue that was exposed quite a few times Sunday. Having put other questionable options like Quay Walker, Preston Smith, and others in coverage on Jefferson, some of the play calling was at fault, not necessarily because of poor execution.
Walker unfortunately was lost for the game after suffering a shoulder injury (severity currently unknown), and then his replacement Krys Barnes had to be carted off the field and his right leg put into an air cast, which left the team quite thin on LB talent.
Rashan Gary was the lone Packer to record a sack on Kirk Cousins, and the Minnesota OL unit is nothing superb by any means, so the pass rush showed some surprising concerns to start the year as well. They were able to rack up eight QB hits however, but only got to Cousins once while he still had the ball in his hands.
Plenty to work on still for the Packers, and a few bills of health need to be checked on for their home opener next week against the Bears. This week’s outcome was far from how this should have looked, especially with reports of a strong offseason.
Were there chemistry issues because the starters saw little to no time together in the preseason? Was there too much pressure being put on the rookies in their first games? Here’s to hoping that any questions that arose from their Week 1 defeat can be confidently addressed in time for Week 2 against Chicago.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23