Packers Offense able to turn ‘Rust’ into ‘Trust’
Everyone can release that breath they have been holding since Sunday last week.. The Packers are not dead. After another lackluster effort in Week 1, the Packers bounced back in a major way to completely own (wink wink) the Bears. The defense was AWESOME but the Packers Offense is truly the unit that made the necessary leap. The key? Knocking off the rust and instilling some trust.
First and foremost in that trust, is that in the running game. Last week Green Bay only ran the ball 15 times for 94 yards. This is even more shocking when you consider that Aaron Jones was averaging 9.8 yards per carry.
All week long we heard from Matt LaFleur, Aaron Rodgers, and almost every single analyst that the key to getting back to winning was on the ground. In fact, the Bears even knew it as they continuously stacked the box. It just didn’t matter.
The Green Bay running backs punished Chicago. AJ Dillon wasn’t flashy, but he gave Jones some breaks and still delivered some hard-earned yards finishing with 61 yards on 18 carries. On the other hand, Aaron Jones ran like a man possessed. He was unbelievable. His final stat line reflected that finishing with an astonishing 132 yards on 18 carries with 13 recorded broken tackles.
The Packers don’t win this game without Aaron Jones. They also don’t win it without the offensive line owning the line of scrimmage.
Trusting your offensive line is a lot easier when you get one of the premier Tackles in the league back, and that is exactly what the Packers did. With Elgton Jenkins making his return to the field for the first time since November 21st, 2021, the Packers were able to slide Royce Newman from RT back to RG and become infinitely stronger at both positions.
This was showcased in the run game as the Green Bay ran behind the right side of the line early and often with a lot of success, but also in the passing game.
Jenkins was not perfect, allowing two sacks as he himself shook off some rust, but it was very obvious that Rodgers felt way more comfortable in the pocket. If you watched the game, you can see Rodgers get more and more relaxed as he starts to realize the right side of the line is not going to collapse in under two seconds.
Last week Rodgers looked antsy and unsure in the pocket. This week, he leaned on the run game and utilized the strong right side of the line to get into a rhythm. The last peace of the puzzle? Trusting those receivers.
The Packers spread the ball out perfectly. They targeted veterans early with first down strikes to Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb on the first drive. Then after some momentum, they got the ball in the hands of their explosive rookies on easy pitch, catch, and run plays. Later on when the Packers needed to put the game away, it was once again the vets that saw the targets as Watkins flipped the field on a 55 yard pass.
The coaching staff put the receivers in easy positions to be trusted and Rodgers did just that. He challenged the vets to make difficult, clutch plays and let the rookies use their speed as they get more and more comfortable. Their time for the big plays will come as that trust is getting stronger and stronger.
This team will only get better on both sides of the ball. Players are coming back from injury. Rookies are going to make more and more of an impact. And as long as this team trusts each other, they will be dangerous.
Then we win.
PJ is an Ohio native who was fortunate enough to be born into the green and gold family through his father who grew up in Green Bay. He now resides in NYC where he is an avid fan and fantasy football player. You can follow him on twitter at @PJsPack_.