Green Bay Packers: Positives, negatives from Week 1

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Jordy Nelson
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Jordy Nelson /

The Green Bay Packers took down their arch rival in Week 1 at home. Here are some positives and negatives to take home from a tense victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

The Packers pleased fans around the country Sunday, defeating Seattle in a defensive showdown, 17-9. Head coach Mike McCarthy said the team did not “play our best game”, but his team still got the job done.

The Packers have a long way to go before they are a Super Bowl favorite, but the team is in position to strike fear into opponents coming through Lambeau Field.

Here are some positives and negatives from the game.

Positive: Defensive front

The Packers defensive front was everywhere on Sunday. Mike Daniels, Nick Perry and Kenny Clark dominated from the first snap.

Despite missing two of their defensive tackles and linebacker Ahmad Brooks during the game, the defensive line terrorized Seattle all game. Consistently in Russell Wilson‘s face while also containing Seattle’s versatile running game, the Packers proved too strong for the Seahawks’ shaky offensive line and shut down their offense completely.

There is only room for improvement as well for this group. Next week, the Packers will get Quinton Dial on the field too. This will only make the already-strong defensive line even deeper, and with due time, will also get rookie Montravius Adams on the field as well.

While the Atlanta Falcons will provide a different kind of test for the Packers this week, this front seven clearly has the ability to be a force all season long.

Negative: Offensive balance

The Packers were held without a point at halftime. Despite outplaying their opponents, they had nothing to show for it. Part of the problem was the lack of balance in the offensive play-calling. Including the seven times Aaron Rodgers was forced to scramble, Mike McCarthy called 49 passing plays to just 21 runs.

Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams were solid, but Aaron Ripkowski and Devante Mays never saw the field. The Packers did just enough offensively, but were also the beneficiaries of an incredibly short field thanks to Mike Daniels’ forced fumble and Kyler Fackrell‘s recovery.

McCarthy’s offense will have to be considerably less predictable, and no doubt will have to put up more than 17 to take down Atlanta.

Positive: Justin Vogel

Often overlooked when evaluating a team’s performance, punting the football is an important key to success. Rookie Justin Vogel showed why the Packers passed on signing All-Pro Andy Lee off of waivers and went with the undrafted free agent out of Miami. Vogel looks like he will be the long-term answer.

Vogel also showed strong hands holding the ball on extra points and field goals. Brett Goode and Derek Hart have been snapping the ball to Vogel throughout the preseason and into this game, but Vogel has consistently controlled errant snaps from both snappers.

Negative: Ahmad Brooks injury

This injury is bigger than people think. The Packers are facing an offensive juggernaut next week in Atlanta. Third downs will be crucial, and the pass rushers will have to pressure Matt Ryan consistently.

Brooks is a valuable piece to the pass rush. After sustaining a concussion against the Seahawks, he may be forced to sit against Atlanta, forcing the Packers to go with Kyler Fackrell instead.

Positive: Kyle Murphy

Packers fans had their hearts in their throats all game watching Kyle Murphy try to block Seattle’s pass rushers. To everyone’s surprise, Murphy was solid in his first start. Bryan Bulaga sat out with injury, making the right side of the line especially vulnerable. Jahri Evans and Murphy held up pretty well for most of the game.

While Aaron Rodgers took plenty of hits and was sacked four times in the first half, he was afforded adequate time to throw from the pocket.

Murphy’s solid showing should make the Packers feel better about the state of their backup offensive line, a unit that struggled mightily during the preseason. Jason Spriggs has slid down the depth chart, but Murphy should make the Packers more confident in the depth behind Bulaga and David Bakhtiari.

Negative: Luck

The Packers will take a win no matter how they get it, but this win was among the luckier variety. Nazair Jones‘ pick-six being called back was a terrible break for Seattle, who also lost one of their top cornerbacks Jeremy Lane on the play.

Jimmy Graham was also clearly interfered with in the end zone on a critical third down in the end zone late in the third quarter.

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

Packers fans have no problem getting away with a pass interference call against Seattle of all teams, but Sunday’s non-calls may give the team cause to pause and realize they were on the right side of some fortunate breaks that could have tilted the game one way or another.