Let’s get right into this week’s Packers positives.
- Elgton Jenkins is rounding into form. The oft-injured left guard seems to be close to full health after sustaining a knee injury and having a few down games. Jenkins was the offense’s highest graded player and Zach Tom was the second. With the potential that Yosh Nijman will settle into full time left tackle duty, we could see a turnaround from the offensive line, which will hopefully help a turnaround in the offense.
- Speaking of oft-injured players, Aaron Jones had his best game since getting hurt and looks to be at full health for the Rams game this weekend. AJ Dillon had a bad rush stat line, but he looked strong again on runs and receptions where he wasn’t immediately hit in the backfield. A lot of words have been written about how poorly the Packers’ young receivers have been and how often they’re doing the wrong thing and killing a play, but having the ability to give Love a clean pocket and get ahead of the chains with the run game will go a long way toward fixing the offense on its own.
- On the defensive side, TJ Slaton probably had the nest game of his career and almost single handedly shut down the Vikings rush attack. Preston Smith, Colby Wooden, and Devonte Wyatt all had strong grades to go along with Slaton, which was good because Rahsan Gary had a rare down game. We need one or two of these guys to keep it up to take the pressure off a now very young secondary.
- The defense did surprisingly well in the game. Obviously not well enough to win the game, but they gave up just 346 yards to a top offense and just about everyone in the front 7 played well. Jaire Alexander will play better once his back heals and the young guys in the secondary will get the opportunity to prove themselves with a complimentary middle of the defense.
- Probably the biggest positive of the week is that the team didn’t waste a high draft pick on a middle of the road running back or an aging receiver in a last grasp attempt to make it work this season. I’d be all for adding veterans to the offense, even now, it’s beyond obvious that they are needed. But it would’ve been detrimental to waste future draft capital on a rebuilding team on someone who likely would’ve immediately needed a new contract.
- One thing to keep in mind as the season goes on (and at this point it’s good to keep in mind for the Bucks, too), adjustments take time. The Lions started last season 1-6 last year with a better roster than the Packers have right now. Aaron Rodgers’ Packers went 6-10 (with a lot better roster) in his first season as starter. Sure, there aren’t as many flashes as those teams right now, but the flashes will come. The coaching staff has to simultaneously figure out what type of offense will work with young players and teach them that offense. It takes time.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.