Packers: Positives, negatives from win vs. Vikings in Week 2

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

After their important Week 2 win, here are the positives and negatives for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers are 2-0 after back-to-back important divisional wins.

How did they look?

Here are the positives and negatives from Week 2:

Positive: Aaron Jones

If someone told you that the Packers might actually have a good running game, it would be nearly impossible to believe. But, Aaron Jones might just have given the Packers exactly that. Against the Vikings, Jones rushed for 116 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown. Throw in some complementary help from Jamaal Williams, and the running game finally balanced out an otherwise inept offense.

While Aaron Rodgers‘ once stunning athleticism appears to be diminishing somewhat, Jones’ effectiveness is a bit more important than it may have been in past years. His slippery running style has given the Packers an ample option in the backfield that they haven’t had in far too long. Against the ferocious pass rush of the Denver Broncos, Jones will again be heavily relied upon to help out his offense.

Negative: Kevin King

Sure, he had the game-clinching interception. But Kevin King’s performance against the Vikings was far from good. He was completely beaten multiple times by Stefon Diggs, and twice got away with it because of a drop by the receiver or an airmail from Kirk Cousins. Time is beginning to run out on the former Washington cornerback.

The Packers have invested an almost disorienting amount of resources into their defensive backfield. But time and time again, King simply can’t establish himself. His inability to stay healthy has certainly been a factor, but there is no doubt that the Packers simply cannot rely on him at the moment to be a consistent coverage man. With Jaire Alexander becoming a superstar, one wonders whether or not King will earn a second contract with the team.

Positive: Dean Lowry

The Packers annoyed quite a few fans when they released Mike Daniels before the season began. But after the draft, the move made too much sense to not make. The Packers added a good amount of rollover cap space into next year, and also cleared the way for Dean Lowry to have a more prominent role in the middle of the defense. That, combined with the emergence of Tyler Lancaster and the drafting of Kingsley Keke, made the release a no-brainer.

The extension Lowry signed before the season did appear to be a bit high in dollars (three-years, $20 million), but he was all over the field against the Vikings on Sunday. Play after play, Lowry was in the backfield disrupting the offensive flow of the opponent. He may never be the most talented player in the world, but he is unquestionably an underrated player who the Packers were smart to extend. Kenny Clark‘s job does appear to be a bit easier with Lowry in the fold next to him.

Negative: Josh Jackson

The Packers appear to have next to no confidence in Josh Jackson. Not only has the former second-round pick barely played in two games, the Packers didn’t even put him in after the injury to Raven Greene. Instead, Will Redmond, who almost exclusively plays on special teams, was brought off the bench. Jackson’s standing with the team appears to be shaky at best.

Jackson had a great preseason last year right out of college, but just hasn’t been able to follow that up with consistent play in the regular season. But what is more concerning is the coaching staff’s complete lack of confidence in the former Iowa star. Now that Greene will be out for a huge chunk of the season, the team’s true opinion of Jackson will be revealed.

Positive: Matt LaFleur

Things haven’t been completely smooth so far for the rookie head coach, but you can’t ask for better results than what Matt LaFleur has had so far. In his first two games in charge of the Packers, LaFleur has beaten two tough divisional opponents in unusual games. Both were defensive battles that forced both sidelines out of their comfort zones. While LaFleur and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have a lot to work on, there are some positive signs being shown.

For one thing, LaFleur doesn’t seem completely overwhelmed by the nature of the job, as some first-time head coaches are known to be. Instead, he’s remained poised and controlled and has stuck to his guns. The Packers have faced two defenses that are very hard to crack, and got strong performances out of their own defense both times to bring them over the finish line. While there is still a lot to be proven, the Packers should be excited by LaFleur’s start in Green Bay.

Negative: Rashan Gary

There is no reason for the Packers to panic when it comes to Rashan Gary, but there does have to be at least a slight bit of concern surrounding the No. 12 overall pick. So far, Gary has barely seen the field, and has done next to nothing when on it. He did create one pressure of Mitchell Trubisky against the Bears, but he has largely been completely quiet, much as he was during the preseason.

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While he was always going to be a project, it is unusual for a draft pick that high to be as pedestrian as he’s been. Mike Pettine and the defensive coaching staff are clearly trying to ease him in, but his reportedly stunning training camp just hasn’t translated to the field yet. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith still have huge responsibilities on the edge due to Gary’s raw skill set.