Biggest improvements (and concerns) for Packers after win over Rams

Green Bay Packers
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The Green Bay Packers finally returned to the win column on Sunday, besting the Los Angeles Rams 20-3 to earn their first victory since September 24.

After recent misfortunes, this was unquestionably a great moment for Green Bay. However, this game didn't solve all of the team's problems.

Here's what worked and what came up short for the Packers during Week 9:


The biggest change Green Bay made against the Rams was cutting Aaron Jones loose once more.

Though No. 33 returned from injury two weeks ago against Denver, Matt LaFleur indicated this contest would be the one where Jones truly got going again. The coach kept his word, as Jones received a season-high 24 touches while generating 99 total yards and a touchdown in the win.

With the running back room at full strength, Jordan Love no longer had to play the hero all game long. The presence of a healthy Jones, coupled with one of AJ Dillon's better outings this year, allowed Love to settle into the flow of the game.

After throwing 30 or more times in each of the last five contests, the quarterback completed 20 of 26 pass attempts on Sunday. Faced with a Rams pass defense that has exceeded expectations, Love responded with one of his most composed efforts to date.

This balanced approach didn't result in an electric showing from Green Bay's offense, but it didn't need to. All the Packers had to do here was find a way to win, and they did so in decisive fashion.

On the defensive end, the clear concern coming into this battle was how Joe Barry's battered secondary would stack up against Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. While Brett Rypien's presence under center certainly made things easier for Green Bay, the Rams' two wideouts still commanded ample attention.

The defensive unit met this challenge head-on, holding the duo to five combined receptions for 80 yards. That effort started with Jaire Alexander, who shook off his recent struggles and made a noticeable impact.

He logged seven tackles and a pair of pass breakups while also tipping a pass into the hands of rookie safety Anthony Johnson Jr. for an interception.

Additionally, rookie Carrington Valentine helped fill the void left by Rasul Douglas by registering three deflections of his own. Together, he and Alexander did well to make up for all of Green Bay's injuries.

With Darnell Savage, Eric Stokes, and Rudy Ford all sidelined, and Alexander previously underperforming during the recent losing streak, things could've gotten grim.

Instead, the unit put forth its best showing of the season.


While the Packers did win in decisive fashion, that doesn't mean everything went according to plan.

The offense remains needlessly sloppy, which prevents it from gaining the momentum it needs. Though Jordan Love didn't turn the ball over, both Aaron Jones and Dontayvion Wicks coughed up fumbles.

Elsewhere, two fourth-and-short conversions were taken back due to offsides penalties on Green Bay offensive linemen. Overall, the team committed eight penalties on the day.

This is a very young offense, so turnovers and penalties may be expected. In fact, many of these errors can be explained away. The Wicks fumble came after he was extending for a first down, and both fourth-and-short calls were questioned by reporters and fans alike.

But making excuses for errors won't get the Packers anywhere. Cracking down on these types of mistakes, which have plagued them all season, will be essential for LaFleur's group down the stretch.

Outside of turnovers, Christian Watson's role is arguably the most pressing topic of discussion coming out of this win.

While he's not the only receiver who's been inconsistent, his struggles are more notable because he was expected to be Love's top weapon.

Before a late-game, 37-yard catch, Watson was targeted just once in the first three quarters. Love launched an end zone shot his way, and he wasn't able to come down with it.

The concern here isn't that he didn't make that difficult play. Rather, it's the fact the speedster has yet to establish himself as a clear-cut No. 1 wideout.

The former North Dakota State star hasn't hauled in more than three catches in any game in 2023, and has only eclipsed 37 yards once all season. It seems Love hasn't established a strong chemistry with him, and usually only looks his way on deep shots.

That has to change. In a rebuilding season, getting Watson the ball in different ways is critical if the Packers want him to keep growing as a playmaker.

The team may also be frustrated with his injury issues. He was routinely dinged up as a rookie and was absent during the first three games this season as well. These issues reemerged on Sunday, as he exited the game with a series of ailments following his lone reception.

The Packers' problems this season don't fall on Watson alone. Far from it.

Yet, after the run game thrived, and other young players like Wicks and Luke Musgrave found success against Los Angeles, Watson's struggles were amplified by comparison.

During the back half of this season, Green Bay must prioritize finding out what they have in Watson.

Maybe he'll never live up to the lofty expectations some have placed on him. However, he deserves the chance to try. Garnering just two targets in a game like this should be considered a failure by the team's play callers.

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