So the Green Bay Packers raked the Minnesota Vikings 44-31 on Sunday. They were supposed to. Done and done.
The Packers are on a roll and here are five more thoughts about the game that we didn’t cover on Sunday.
What is Brad Jones’ role?
Jones has now missed three weeks. Even though he practiced last week, he wasn’t active on Sunday. In the meantime, Jamari Lattimore has been tearing it up. In those three starts, Lattimore has 19 tackles and two sacks. He’s bringing the playmaking ability that Desmond Bishop used to bring to the inside linebacker position. He’s bringing the playmaking ability that Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk don’t bring. Not sure how you take this guy out of the lineup.
We’re not sure what’s going on at cornerback.
Casey Hayward got his first action of the season on Sunday. It wasn’t extensive. Hayward made just one tackle and went pretty much unnoticed. This is a guy who led the Packers with six picks last season. And now it looks like a hamstring injury has killed his season. Bad for Hayward, but good for the Packers. Hayward looks almost expendable now because Sam Shields, Davon House, Micah Hyde and, to a lesser extent, Tramon Williams are playing so well. Good problem to have, I guess.
The Packers have a punt returner, but not a kick returner.
Micah Hyde can ball. You saw that when he returned that punt 93 yards. Johnathan Franklin is still a… uh… work in progress? As impressive as Hyde was, Franklin was just as forgettable as the kick returner. He averaged 17 yards on two returns. That probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering Franklin has never been a kick returner. Way to cram a square peg into a round hole, Mike. Unfortunately, the Packers probably don’t have another option at this point.
Limit Eddie Lacy’s carries? Okay.
The Packers said they were going to limit Eddie Lacy’s carries in order to keep him fresh. Okay. They then proceeded to hand him the ball 29 times. Not that we’re complaining. Lacy is 22 and he can probably get the ball 30-plus times a game. That being said, James Starks carried seven times for 57 yards and a touch. That’s 8.1 per carry. So maybe there’s something to this theory of spelling Lacy with Starks on occasion.
The defensive line is the strength of this team.
Yeah, Aaron Rodgers. Best player in football. However, the Packers are stout this season because they’re winning in the trenches. Crazy, right? The offensive line has been good enough — awesome in the run game, in fact — but the defensive line goes out and proves they’re the strength of the team week after week. If you remember last season, you’ll remember Adrian Peterson punching the Packers in the mouth repeatedly. For a lot of yards. On Sunday, Peterson had 60 yards. The play of guys like Johnny Jolly and Mike Daniels have made this unit. So much so, that first-round pick Datone Jones can’t even get on the field.