Packers: 5 takeaways from the win over Pittsburgh in Week 4

Green Bay Packers, Randall Cobb - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Randall Cobb - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers kept things rolling with a 27-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. With several key members of the team unable to play, the Packers were once again forced to call on some unlikely heros in order to secure the win.

Now sitting at 3-1, the Packers have managed to turn things around after an embarrassing week one and are officially back on track and in the NFC North driver’s seat.

Here are five main takeaways from the week-four win over Pittsburgh.

Randall Cobb turned back the clock

Aaron Rodgers wanted Randall Cobb back in Green Bay because of one thing: Trust. And while the Randall Cobb the Packers have at age 31 is nothing like the one fans remember in 2014, he still knows how to get open in the middle of the field.

Without MVS available to play, Cobb stepped up and caught five passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers is comfortable relying on Cobb in third-down situations and is someone 12 will undoubtedly advocate for moving forward. This performance all but ensures that his role is going to continue to grow in this offense as the season progresses.

It was nice to see a vintage performance from Randall.

AJ Dillon getting involved was a good thing for this offense

Through the first three weeks of the season, AJ Dillon has been far less involved than I would have predicted in the off-season. This all changed in week four when Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon would both receive 15 carries, and Dillon would register his highest snap share of the season (40%).

Due to this young offensive line’s relative ineffectiveness as run blockers, it made sense for Dillon to see more opportunities in the run game.

For Green Bay’s run game to reach its full potential this season the Packers are going to have to incorporate AJ Dillon more, because Jones and Dillon are the perfect complement to each other. Side note: It was nice to see both backs on the field at the same time.

Brian Gutekunst needs to pursue another outside linebacker

Credit to Preston Smith for playing through an injury, however, he failed to record a pressure in 36 snaps. Rashan Gary has been playing hard and is improving as a pass-rusher which will eventually lead to counting stats, but he and Smith need some help.

Jonathan Garvin and Chauncey Rivers are four full weeks into irrelevance on the defensive side of the ball. They need to be relied upon to spare the starters and keep them fresh, but they’ve been a net negative thus far.

Brian Gutekunst is going to need to explore all options and find this team a rotation-level outside linebacker. Even after Za’Darius Smith returns this is still a position of need.

Oren Burks is who we thought he was

With Krys Barnes inactive and unable to play, Oren Burks was thrust into his most prominent role of the young season. Burks showed flashes during the preseason and was by all accounts the next man up on the inside linebacker depth chart.

After playing a season-high 36 snaps on Sunday, I can confidently say that he doesn’t belong on an NFL field as a defensive contributor. He was bullied in the run game, because he just doesn’t have the necessary strength to get off of blocks. Not to mention, he still looked like the undisciplined tackler we’ve grown accustomed to seeing throughout the years (two missed tackles on the day).

Burks can help the Packers’ special teams, but should Barnes miss more time, it may be time to give rookie linebacker Isaiah McDuffie a look.

Tough week for Eric Stokes

Rookie corners traditionally aren’t very good, however, Eric Stokes has been a very pleasant surprise thus far. Against Pittsburgh he looked the part of a rookie boundary corner. Other than an interception during garbage time, Stokes was attacked early and often.

The rookie was targeted 16 times, and allowed 10 catches for 85 yards which isn’t great in and of itself. However, it would have looked much, much worse had Big Ben been able to connect on a few of his deep balls where Stokes had been beaten. His tackling against Pittsburgh was also pretty poor.

I want to make it clear this was just a bad week, and all players, especially rookies are entitled to those. But if the Packers are going to survive the absence of Jaire Alexander, they’re going to need more from Eric Stokes in the secondary.