The Green Bay Packers have fallen to 1-1 after a heartbreaking loss in Atlanta on Sunday. Jordan Love failed to make anything out of his final drive of the game where the Packers found themselves down by one point. However, after securing a 12 point lead heading into the fourth quarter, can this game be blamed on Love and the offense?
The answer you’re looking for probably isn’t “sure it can; kind of,” but that is the answer nonetheless. We’ve heard all offseason about how this Packers team is “playing with house money” and how this season is just about seeing a young team mesh and grow. If we’re being fair, this is all very true. If we’re being entirely fair, this isn’t really true for the defense.
The Packers Have a (Mostly) Veteran Defense
This Packers defense is made up of several notable veteran players. Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage are both in their fifth year in the league. Jaire Alexander is in his sixth year in the league. Kenny Clark and De’Vondre Campbell are both in their eighth year in the league. Preston Smith is in his ninth year in the league. Each of these players are in their third year in Joe Barry’s defensive scheme. The bulk of the starters on this defense are absolutely no less experienced than the vast majority of NFL players.
Dropping interceptions, missing tackles, and giving up 13 points in the fourth quarter are all on the long list of mistakes that this team cannot afford if it is going to end up in the win column on a weekly basis. The excuse of youth certainly applies to the offense — for now — with a first year starter at quarterback and nothing but first and second year players at wide receiver.
While execution is an issue for the defense, there is of course the ever-present concern of coaching. Joe Barry’s scheme seems to be in better shape than prior years, but it still has its issues. Who’s to say whether defensive struggles are on the players or the coaches. You can, however, simply say that the excuse of youth does not apply to this unit.
So What Now?
The expectations going forward for the defensive unit in Green Bay are certainly hefty. Injuries on the offensive side of the ball along with a young cast of weapons surrounding Jordan Love have certainly increased the pressure on the defense. The Packers will most likely need their defense to live up to hefty expectations if they want to remain atop the NFC North.
The Green Bay Packers play the New Orleans Saints this Sunday and it will be the biggest test for their young offense. Meanwhile, the Packers defense will also have to execute against what’s in front of them. What’s in front of them just happens to be a slightly underwhelming offense that’s missing its two preferred running backs.
Dominating against an average offense will be important for a Packers defense that is looking to prove its capability. The 2023 Packers defense is a veteran unit with abundance of untapped potential. Hopefully that potential starts coming to fruition in week 3.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.