Packers: 4 things to improve on in week two vs. Lions
By Dillon Graff
Four areas the Packers need to improve in Week 2.
After a downright embarrassing showing against the New Orleans Saints in the season opener, the Green Bay Packers will be looking to forget everything that transpired in week one and get things back on track.
The offense looked completely out of whack and the defense couldn’t stop a runny nose, which essentially leaves the team with nowhere to go but up.
Before the Detroit Lions arrive in Green Bay for their Monday night showdown, these are the areas that need to be cleaned up in order for the Packers to regain form.
Establish the run
For a team whose offensive success is predicated on running the football, only attempting 15 rushes was downright irresponsible. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon need to get more involved (only nine carries between the them) and given the opportunity to get into a rhythm. The running game sets up the play-action and gives 12 the time he needs to take a shot downfield or dump the ball off to Robert Tonyan.
The Packers were looking at two deep safeties all afternoon because they failed to establish any kind of run game. The Lions undoubtedly saw just how much the Packers struggled with it in week one, so forcing them out of coverage-heavy packages will be important.
Either way, the Packers can’t be so quick to abandon the run in week two.
Take care of the football
Matt LaFleur preaches two things: control the clock, and take care of the football. The Packers did neither of these things in the season opener.
The Packers only turned the ball over 11 times all of last season. In week one, they managed to turn the ball over three times — two of which were at the hands of Aaron Rodgers, which is uncharacteristic. I expect him and the entire Packers offense to come out with something to prove, and place an added emphasis valuing each possession.
Generate a pass rush
In week one, the Packers weren’t able to get home on the pass rush or generate a takeaway. Joe Barry’s defense wasn’t able to generate a single sack or tackle for loss in the opener.
Understandably, this may be a taller task moving forward with Za’Darius Smith landing on IR. However, the Packers still have Rashan Gary, who will have a chance to prove himself as a difference maker, and Preston Smith, who looked surprisingly good in week one.
Jonathan Garvin and Chauncey Rivers didn’t look like they were capable of playing in the NFL last week, so here’s to hoping they can show something against the Lions.
Generating a pass rush may have been easier if it wasn’t for the wildly mediocre play of everyone on the defensive line not named Kenny Clark.
Front seven needs to win at the point of attack
The Packers defensive line was worse than advertised in week one. Outside of Clark, there wasn’t one player that showed much of anything. Without their push up front, it makes it difficult to free up the linebackers to make plays. Beyond that, the defensive line got pushed around all afternoon and played a significant role in the defense allowing 171 yards rushing.
Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, TJ Slaton, and Kingsley Keke all looked like they were completely outmatched, and I for one am not surprised that a fifth-round pick didn’t fix all of last year’s problems on the defensive line.
The Packers didn’t get much of anything from the inside linebacker position, but they weren’t a complete negative either. I’m not overly high on this group, but there is reason to believe they can be more productive than last year.