Packers Quarter-Season Report Card

Following the Green Bay Packers overtime win over the New England Patriots, the season has now approached the quarter-season mark, or as close as it can get with 17 games. The Packers improved to 3-1 on the season after Week 4’s win and there’s a lot to be excited about with this team. However, there have been some hiccups along the way that the Packers will need to correct before the brunt of their 2022-23 schedule arrives. Let’s take it to the grade book and see how some Packers’ have fared based on my quarter-season report card.

Aaron Jones (A)

Aaron Jones has easily been the best offensive player for the Packers this season. The explosiveness Jones offers has given the unit multiple sparks throughout the current three-game winning streak. He has recorded 327 yards rushing with two total touchdowns through four games while averaging 6.88 yards per carry, according to Pro Football Reference.

As expected, the running back duo of Jones and AJ Dillon has been the focal point of the Packers offense this season. While the passing game slowing begins to overcome its struggles, the two-headed monster in the backfield has kept the unit as one of the league’s best. With differing play styles, Dillon allows Jones to stay fresh and explosive while keeping opposing defenses on their toes.

As our very own Liam O’Donnell laid out, Jones is on pace for one of the most productive seasons of his career while showing more power and explosiveness than we’ve ever seen out of him. He’s certainly had a special season through four weeks and that’s likely going to continue.

Special Teams (B+)

For years, the Green Bay Packers have been tormented on special teams. This year, the Packers aimed to finally alleviate the issue by heavily pursuing Rich Bisaccia as the new special teams coordinator. So far through four games, the hire has paid off.

Morry Gash, Associated Press

Beyond hiring one of the league’s top coordinators, the Packers also emptied their pockets to bring in punter Pat O’Donnell, long snapper Jack Coco and specialists such as Dallin Leavitt, Keisean Nixon, and Rudy Ford.

Following Week 3’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, O’Donnell was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after booming five of his seven punts inside Tampa Bay’s 20-yard line, bringing his season total to 11. One of those punts was downed at the 2-yard line by Nixon. Bisaccia has been enamored with the play of his new weapons and this week shared high praise for Leavitt by referring to his play-style as the “Tasmanian Devil.”

Packers fans have to be ecstatic about the improvement this unit has shown. Bisaccia still considers the special teams “a process” but there’s mistaking the impact the “We-fense” has had on the entire team.

Aaron Rodgers (C)

This has not been the start the Packers have expected from the reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player. Aaron Rodgers has still shown his brilliance in year 18, but there have been noticeable flaws in his game. In his last two seasons, Rodgers threw for a combined nine interceptions. Through four games, that number currently sits at three, including a rare pick-six against the Patriots on Sunday.

Getty Images

The connection between Rodgers and his young wide receivers has started to seam together as the weeks have progressed which points toward this grade improving as the season moves along. However, from what we’ve seen thus far, the play from #12 has not been up to par.

Understandably, the offense has taken on a new identity utilizing the run game more heavily and in the near future Packers’ fans should expect to see the passing game start to play more efficiently. With the quick passing game getting back into rhythm and an increase in deep shots likely on the way, the Rodgers we all know will return to MVP form sooner than later.

Run Defense (D-)

Is this the defense that was widely acclaimed to be one of this league’s best this season? Thus far, that’s not what’s been shown on the field. Green Bay’s 14-12 victory over the Patriots was the only exception and the only sign of what the Packers’ defense should have looked like this season.

The root of the defense’s struggles have come against the run. According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, the Packers rank 29th in the league allowing 5.26 yards per rush on first and second down and rank 25th in rushing yards after contact allowed. Next up, the defense will have to prepare for another tough opponent in Saquon Barkley.

Matt Ludtke, Associated Press

The struggle in defending the run has come from a variety of issues. There has been no consistency, they’ve failed to set the edge multiple times, defenders have looked lost in the second/third levels and missed tackles has been a common occurrence.

Last season’s All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell has been a great example. Going into Week 5, Campbell has missed a total of six tackles after missing a total of four tackles in 17 games last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Good news and bad news for the Packers, they are currently in the midst of the easiest part of their schedule. The defense will have have three games to rejuvenate themselves before the schedule gets tough once Green Bay travels to Buffalo at the end of the month.

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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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