For the second year in a row, the Packers were outclassed in their week 1 matchup. The sheer volume of miscommunications and rust that the starters needed to knock off lead a 23-7 defeat at the hands of the Vikings. While it wasn’t quite the dismantling last years opener was against the Saints, it serves as an early wakeup call for the team and fans. This will be a season where the Packers will look much different on offense and will need their defense to carry the load while Rodgers and company figure it out. If the Packers want to jump into the win column for 2022, they will need bounce back performances from some key players.
Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage
Both starting safeties struggled from the first snap to the last in week one. It would have been on thing if Darnell Savage was a little off; he’s been hurt since family night in early August. It wasn’t surprising that he looked like he was getting his first snaps in over a month. What was much more surprising was Adrian Amos. He was routinely out of position and taking poor angles to the ball. For a player that has shown over the past two seasons he will be exactly where he needs to be. Coverage breakdown after breakdown happened under both of these players watch.
This week again Chicago’s Justin Fields they will need to be better. The Bears took advantage of coverage busts by the 49ers to ink out a 19-10 win and will look to do the same against the Packers. However, Fields has shown a propensity for throwing dangerous passes into coverage. This is the exact ‘get right’ type game for both Amos and Savage.
The second-round rookie is going to be thinking about that first play of the game for a very long time. While clearly not the reason the Packers lost, Christian Watson would have preferred a different result as his introduction to the NFL. After his drop, he saw limited targets and was not a major active part of the game plan. However, he did show repeated ability to get open and the elite athleticism that drew the Packers to him in the draft.
Aaron Rodgers said after the game that drops are going to happen, and the Packers will need to be patient with the rookies. Watson will want to show Rodgers that he can be a reliable target for him this season. Look for the Packers to get him involved early Sunday night. If he can break off one or two big plays and do it in front of a home crowd, his confidence should go through the roof. That will go a long way towards defining his role in the 2022 offense.
Third year guard Jake Hanson was somewhat of a surprise starter on Sunday. In the preseason, he did not show the ability to anchor against backups, and against the Vikings he was consistently giving up quick interior pressure. Understandably, it’s likely that if tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins were starting Hanson wouldn’t be on the field. However, it’s unclear when and if either player will take their first snaps of the season.
If the Packers intend to start Hanson again this week, they will need him to show dramatic improvement. While he was serviceable in the run game, his pass protection was borderline non-existent. Green Bay cannot have such a weak link on the line, and if the Vikings identified it that quickly, it’s obvious that the Bears will target the same point. If Hanson cannot hold up, Lafleur will need to turn to rookie Zach Tom to stabilize the right side of the line.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.