Green Bay Survives the Heat: Five Takeaways from Week 1

Green Bay Survives the Heat: Five Takeaways from Week 1

Brandon Carwile is the Lead Contributor at PackersBarroom.com. He recently appeared on our new podcast Barroom Blitz to discuss the Green Bay Packers performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here he provides more texture to what he learned about the Packers.

It was a barn burner in both temperature and competiveness in Jacksonville for the Green Bay Packers. They survived the 90-degree heat and heavy humidity to edge the Jaguars 27-23 to start the 2016 season 1-0. “To play down here in this heat was challenging for both teams,” Coach McCarthy said following the game. “I am very proud of the way our guys kept fighting and the game really came down to that last play.”

The game did indeed come down to the Jaguars final drive which stalled at Green Bay’s 14 yard line thanks to a stop by corner Damarious Randall and linebacker Joe Thomas on 4th and 1. In every aspect except the most crucial one, the score, the Jaguars got the better of the Packers. They had more first downs, total yards, and time of possession. A divine recipe that usually leads to a victory. However, the Packers made the most of their opportunities scoring on five of their nine drives allowing them to escape the Jacksonville heat unburned.

McCarthy also gloated that not a single Packers required an IV despite the heat. Thankfully, the Packers should avoid 90-degree heat the rest of the year. You can leave the IV’s in the med kit, Mike. Hopefully they will also avoid close games against team’s subject to failing under pressure.

Road games in the NFL are never easy, and the Jaguars are not the same punching bag they were a few years ago. No game in this league is given. Any given Sunday. The Packers have some work to do to prove they are ready to contest for another Super Bowl. Here are five takeaways from week 1.

1. The Offensive Line Holds Up

A cloud of doubt settled over this unit upon the release of Josh Sitton. Lane Taylor made his third start Sunday facing a lot of pressure to live up to the former All-Pro left guard. All things considered, Taylor and the rest of the gang held up their end of the bargain. Rodgers was sacked once on a scramble, but never took a shot that would make a Packer backer’s heart stop. Rodgers was hurried 6 times and three of those were surrendered by Taylor. The Jags sent a lot of blitzes his way to make him uncomfortable and test his readiness. Despite the extra attention, Pro Football Focus rated Taylor as the second best Packers guard in the NFL (TJ Lang ranked 13th) at 15th overall.

We need to keep an eye of left tackle David Bakhitiari who listed as questionable with a back injury. He did play.And he played well.

2. Jordy Nelson is not 100%

Just seeing Jordy Nelson take the field was sure to make Packers fans and players flash a nostalgic smile. If it hadn’t been for Nelson’s six-yard touchdown in the second quarter he may have caught more flack. He finished with six catches for 32 yards on nine targets, but was very limited with his routes. His longest catch was for eight yards. We saw no double moves or back shoulder go-routes that proved Nelson was a top receiver in the NFL a couple years ago. He mostly stayed near the sideline catching passes in the flat and on quick hit curls. Nelson is going to need more time to get back to his usual speed and on the field comfort after not playing in over a year. Former Packers corner Davon House who practiced against Nelson for four years said, “I think he’s probably 80%. They are being smart with him.”

3. Inexperienced Inside Linebackers Showed They Belong

Rookie Blake Martinez was asked to wear the headset helmet forcing him to call defensive formations and make last minute adjustments in his first NFL start. Martinez proved he earned it making six total tackles. Second year man Jake Ryan who started alongside Martinez was second on the team with seven tackles. Both Martinez and Ryan were active in the box sniffing out holes limiting Jaguar running backs to only 48 yards rushing. The Packers’ lonesome inside linebacker backup, Joe Thomas, made the most of his limited reps getting an interception and finishing off Randall’s 4th and 1 stuff to seal the win. Thomas even got carried off the field Rudy style by defensive tackle Letroy Guion. Dom Capers saluted Thomas’ play on Monday stating, “I thought he got off to an excellent start yesterday. You saw his blitz tempo. He made a real nice play on the interception. I think it was a good start for Joe.”

4. Tight Ends Fail to Get Involved

Both Richard Rodgers and Jared Cook failed to leave a significant mark in the passing game after combining for two catches for 29 yards. In their defense, they were not given a lot of opportunities (five total targets), however a slippery tight end could have opened things up over the middle. Aaron Rodgers only threw for 199 yards without taking many chances over the middle of the field. If it weren’t for a miraculous touchdown toss to Davante Adams, Rodgers may have faced more scrutiny for his lack of production. Anticipate McCarthy and Offensive Coordinator Edgar Bennett to game plan in getting Rodgers and Cook more looks.

5. Defensive Backs Show Inconsistency

Sam Shields had an outstanding game against arguably a top 10 receiver in Allen Robinson. Robinson was targeted 15 times, but limited to six catches. Shields missed the final nine plays after leaving the game with a concussion. This is Shields second concussion in nine months therefore the Packers may be without their number one corner next week. Once Shields left the game, Randall and Quinten Rollins were asked to cover Robinson and both were able to contain him when it mattered most. Rollins high pointed a pass from Blake Bortles to Robinson on the final drive that could have gotten Jacksonville inside Green Bay’s 10-yard line. Despite these clutch moments, the Packers secondary had an uninspired game collectively allowing Bortles to carve them up for 320 yards. Both Rollins and safety Morgan Burnett were responsible for blown coverages that extended drives and lead to huge plays. Rollins in particular had trouble covering tight end Julius Thomas when he blew his coverage allowing a 22-yard touchdown. Jacksonville finished with SIX passing plays that went for 20 or more yards.This may be a harsh critique of the secondary’s play, but too many pivotal passing plays were allowed against a one dimensional team.

The Packers are now 7-4 in season openers under McCarthy and will face the Vikings in their new stadium next week. The Vikings also battled through an ugly game against the Titans for a win so two ugly games should generate an elegant one, right?

CHECK OUT THE GREAT PACKERS ATTIRE AT AMAZON!

CLICK A TAB

Print this entry



Related Articles

Good or Bad? Lions Cheerleaders

The NFL is facing a controversy they’d much rather handle then head injuries, domestic abuse and DeflateGate…  cheerleaders. The Detroit

Matthew “Two Face” Stafford: 2015 Edition

Matthew Stafford is, as polarizing a player as any in the NFL. The 2015 season just added to the polarization.

Packers Barroom Podcast – Week 5 – The Cowboys

Packers Barroom with Robert Trader is a few days late this week because of a family illness. But, better late

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*