Green Bay Packers Fans: Take a Deep Breath


Clay Matthews is one of the reasons the Packers will be OK. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Sunday’s 38-20 Green Bay Packers victory over the Washington Redskins was an exhilarating roller-coaster ride. We saw the offense put on a performance that, at times, just didn’t look fair to the other team.

From Aaron Rodgers’ dropping a mini-bomb for a TD to Randall Cobb on a fourth-and-three to Jermichael Finley not just catching the ball cleanly but then making a slew of defenders look like they may be in the wrong line of work, impressive plays were the order of the day.

And to that I say: Packers fans, take a deep breath.

Take a deep breath; the Green Bay Packers’ defense is going to be OK. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There was no shortage of hand-wringing coming into the season, and it seemed to grow worse after the season-opening 34-28 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but  the fact is, the Packers seem to be a pretty darn good 1-1 team right now as it stares down a trip to Ohio to take on the 1-1 Cincinnati Bengals.

The Packers are a sleeping No. 8 on the NFL power rankings, but they rank second in the league in passing yards, 16th in rushing yards and a not-too-terrible 17th in rushing yards allowed. The No. 30 ranking in passing yards allowed is ugly, but it’s not the end of the world. Or even the season. Let’s take a look at some trouble spots, and why we need to take a deep breath and let it out slowly.

The concern: The Packers’ defensive secondary has allowed an average of 359 yards per game passing and 6 passing touchdowns in the first two games.

Why we should take a deep breath: While the sacks haven’t been there in abundance, there has been pressure at the line of scrimmage, and that should help the secondary going forward. Also, let’s take at least some solace in knowing that Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward will return soon, and that many of those Redskins passing yards on Sunday came in bend-but-don’t-break garbage time.

The concern: Alfred Morris ran all over the defense in the second half, racking up 107 yards on 13 carries.

Why we should take a deep breath: Morris, like Frank Gore in Week 1, was mostly bottled up in the first half, when the game was being won. (See: Time, Garbage.)

The concern: Aaron Rodgers got absolutely crushed in the first two series of the game, getting sacked three times before he could even get his socks sweaty.

Aaron Rodgers reacts to a play during the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Why we should take a deep breath: The offensive line and coaches figured something out. Rodgers had more than enough time to throw after that, and barely even had a chance to get his pants dirty. Yes, it’s clear the Redskins are no defensive juggernaut, but if you shred a team for 480 yards passing and 132 yards rushing, your line is doing something right. This appears to be an offensive line that is improving with every series.

The concern: Eddie Lacy was supposed to be our Beast, our power back of the future, and that Meriweather guy almost broke his head off like a faulty Pez dispenser.

Why we should take a deep breath: Lacy stood up and didn’t even look fazed as he walked off the field; he’s a tough kid. And in his Monday press conference, Coach Mike McCarthy indicated there would be no move to sign another running back. More importantly, James Starks ran with authority and protected the ball, making us all understand why he was kept on the roster at final cuts.

The concern: Jordy Nelson only caught three passes all day.

Why we should take a deep breath: Now you’re just picking nit. Relax. Eat a bratwurst.