The Green Bay Packers offense is a work in progress, as we expected. The defense carried the day against the Jacksonville Jaguars and managed to close out at the end.
That resulted in a season-opening 27-23 win in Florida. Here’s what else sticks out from the win.
Good and Bad in the Secondary
We all expect the secondary to be the strength of the Packers defense, if not the entire team. We saw some great play and some not so great play on Sunday. Damarious Randall and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fall into the former category. Randall was one of Pro Football Focus’ top-rated cornerbacks on the day. Clinton-Dix was all over the place, delivering big hits and creating havoc. On the flip side were Morgan Burnett, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter. The latter two guys gave up big plays, but Burnett was the worst of the bunch. It seemed like all Jacksonville had to do to gain a big chunk of yardage was find Burnett and then go right at him. Maybe he should have played a little more in the preseason too.
Mike Daniels a Non-Factor
Arguably the Packers best defender, Daniels didn’t make an impact on the stat sheet on Sunday. He finished with just one tackle. That’s probably not entirely his fault, though. When you’re starting Dean Lowry at the other defensive end spot, that means Daniels is going to see more than one blocker. This could be the case all season, but will likely be so at least until Mike Pennel returns from his suspension. The attention being paid to Daniels did free up Letroy Guion to make some plays, but no one else in the defensive line rotation — Lowry, Kenny Clark or Christian Ringo — did anything of note.
Julius Peppers an Even Bigger Non-Factor
I guess this is what we can expect from Julius Peppers this season? We knew he wasn’t going to be a full-time player, but we didn’t know he was hardly going to play at all. Peppers was in for just 29 snaps on Sunday. He didn’t show up on the stat sheet. Are the Packers saving him for the stretch run? We have no idea, but if the Packers wanted to save money by dropping a big contract, maybe they should have gotten rid of the guy who only plays once in a while.
But the Run Defense…
Despite how things played out for the Packers defensive line, their run defense was great on this particular day. Jacksonville finished with just 48 net rushing yards. They averaged just 1.8 yards per rush. Their top back, T.J. Yeldon, ran for just 39 yards on 21 attempts. That’s extremely encouraging for a unit that historically has not been able to stop the run.
The Usual Dose of Buffoonery
I’ve never been a Mike McCarthy fan, so I certainly wasn’t surprised when the old Buffoon showed up on Sunday. We know there were problems with the play calling, with communication, etc. The real question I have is if the Packers offense has gotten too predictable? My concern is it isn’t any different than last year’s offense. McCarthy says the Packers are going to focus on the run, but then he only gives Eddie Lacy the ball 14 times in week 1. The passing game still appears to have limitations and yet you continue to rely on the same old guys. Despite a great touchdown catch, Davante Adams made more bad plays than good. You went and got a real tight end in Jared Cook and then barely utilized him. The receiver who had the best preseason — Jared Abbrederis — got just 11 snaps on offense. I’m not suggesting the offense is going to be bad all season, but Buffoon certainly could be a little more creative and he certainly could utilize more players.