Lot of Packers positives to get into this week!
- A lot of words were written in articles and tweets this week about how this game doesn’t count for Packers positives because the Rams’ back-up QB was bad. Spoiler alert, he doesn’t play defense. The team had a ton of strong performers on offense, including:
- Jordan Love probably had his best game as a pro. He finished 20/26 for 228 yards and a TD for a QB rating of 115.5. Next step is to keep it up for a full four quarters and hit that 300-yard mark.
- Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon both had strong games. Jones had 24 touches and kept the chains moving all day and Dillon average 4.4 yards per carry. These two both need to play and play well for the offense to meet its potential.
- Even Emanuel Wilson got in on the fun late in the game and had a good enough run to allow the team to cut James Robinson.
- Luke Musgrave finally got some downfield targets – this is how he needs to be used. No more flat routes where he needs to break tackles. Get him on the run and lead him away from defenders.
- Dontayvion Wicks also stood out, again, he’s always seems open. It’s time for him to be a full-time player.
- Several players on the o-line stood out. Rasheed Walker had his best game when Yosh got hurt.
- Put it all together and the Packers had their best offensive performance in what seems like months. They scored 20 points and had five drives promising drives end prematurely (two fumbles, two BS offsides penalties, and a missed field goal).
- Onto the defense. Sure the defense mostly played well because of the other team’s QB, but a lot of Packers did their job well regardless of QB – if they’re stopping the run, receivers aren’t getting open, and getting pressure on the passer, a lot of those things aren’t affected by the QB.
- There were three standout players, first, TJ Slaton. In the first half Slaton was a one-man wrecking crew taking care of the Rams run game almost by himself. Slaton is a highly athletic 330-lb pound nose tackle and he’s finally starting to really use that profile well. His grade won’t look as good as you’d expect because he probably played too many snaps once Kenny Clark got hurt. In the future, Slaton could be a game changer playing 15-20 run snaps per game. Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks have both shown plenty of ability to rush the passer from the inside.
- Next, is Isaiah McDuffie who made a ton of plays and was called out for a strong performance by LaFleur multiple times. McDuffie probably doesn’t have a path to a ton of playing time when Campbell and Wilson are healthy, but he makes plays when he’s on the field. As more and more teams use base personnel and try to focus on the power run, I could see the Packers using a 4-3 package with all three off-ball linebackers on the field.
- Finally, Carrington Valentine had an impressive showing in his first start for Rasul Douglas. He didn’t give up a catch on seven targets covering probable offensive rookie of the year Pakua Nacua. Safety Anthony Johnson Jr. also had a strong game in coverage. It would be an extreme coup if the Packers were able to find two starting secondary players in the 7th round of the draft.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.