Three under-the-radar observations from the Packers’ Week 1 win.
The Green Bay Packers kicked off the 2020 NFL season with a resounding victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Though they only won by nine points (43-34), the outcome wasn’t in much doubt in the second half.
The top takeaways have been clear—Aaron Rodgers was as accurate, on time, and in control as he’s been in the past three seasons. Matt LaFleur’s gameplan was masterful. Davante Adams remains elite. The offensive line weathered injuries to log an impressive performance.
The defense didn’t inspire quite as much confidence, but a solid performance overall and a couple of huge plays from Jaire Alexander were enough to notch a comfortable win.
How about some less obvious observations?
1. Tyler Ervin is a weapon
Brian Gutekunst’s relative lack of activity at offensive skill positions this offseason was a major (and warranted) point of concern for Packers fans. It seems that the emergence of Tyler Ervin might help lay some of those worries to rest.
Ervin began getting worked into gameplans more and more as last season wore on. On Sunday, he gave a great preview of the impact he can have on the offense this year.
Ervin played only 12 offensive snaps. But on each of those snaps, he made an impact. He touched the ball on four of those snaps, logging three carries for 38 yards and one reception (on a push pass behind the line of scrimmage) for six yards.
On nearly every snap he played, including each of his touches, Ervin was in motion as the ball was snapped. Though Marquez Valdes-Scantling has comparable speed, no offensive Packers player can match his quickness and change-of-direction ability. That made him dangerous when he got the ball. But even when he didn’t, the Vikings linebackers were forced to pay attention to him in motion, which helped open up holes on rushes to the more traditional running backs.
Look for LaFleur to continue utilizing Ervin this way in future games, and to potentially even involve him more in the passing game.