Green Bay Packers: Instant Takeaways from Disappointing Week 1 Performance

Sep 12, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) directs teammates during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) directs teammates during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Well, that was something—just an all-around terrible performance from a Green Bay Packers team that is all-in on the 2021 season.

If you’re up for it, here are my instant takeaways from the Green Bay Packers Week 1 matchup with the New Orleans Saints. Buckle up because it was ugly.

– From the very beginning of this game, the offense was not in any sort of rhythm, the defense struggled, there were some questionable play calls, and especially early on, just about everyone looked lethargic.

– The Saints lost their starting center Erik McCoy early on in the game, but even without him, this stout offensive line unit held up incredibly well and dominated this game. Jameis Winston had so much time on passing plays — like all day — and while Green Bay didn’t give up any huge runs, the Saints did average 4.6 yards per carry.

– Speaking of Winston, his decision-making looked much more improved than when we last saw him as a starter in Tampa Bay. We also saw him do some damage on the first few drives as a runner, totaling 38 yards today.

– No, the defense didn’t play well at all, but the Green Bay Packers’ offense gave them no help either. With two minutes left in the second quarter, the Packers had run 12 plays while the Saints ran 36. It’s Week 1 in the Florida heat; this Green Bay defense was gassed.

– Turnovers, total yards, third-down efficiency, time of possession, you name it, and New Orleans likely dominated the category.

– Also, the Green Bay Packers were 1/9 on third downs, and their first conversion came late in the fourth quarter with Jordan Love at quarterback.

– This game was so far out of reach that we saw Jordan Love make his regular-season debut. Green Bay didn’t ask him to do too much, but he did make a nice play on that aforementioned third-down conversion. His initial read wasn’t there, so he surveyed the field as he bought time in the pocket and connected with Amari Rodgers. He also had a nice pass to Randall Cobb.

– I’m not sure that any of us expected this kind of performance from the defense, but there is going to be a learning curve for this unit in this new Joe Barry system. That’s not an excuse; it’s just reality.

– With that said, there were some clear-blown coverages from this secondary, and Kevin King was a part of that, giving up a huge fourth-quarter touchdown. Hopefully, Eric Stokes is ready for that CB2 role sooner than later.

– We will have to see the extent of the injury, but the Green Bay Packers may be without Josiah Deguara after he left the game with what is being called a concussion. Darnell Savage also left the game with a shoulder injury.

– I know the Green Bay Packers were down 14 halfway through the third quarter, but there was still plenty of time to come back. However, it felt like they had abandoned the running game way too early. At that point in the game, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon had six combined carries.

– While I complimented Winston’s decision-making, Rodgers’ decision-making was poor, and it led to both interceptions. There was also way too much of Aaron Rodgers trying to force the ball downfield. This bullet point, coupled with the one above, is when we see this usually potent offense struggle.

– On that red zone interception from Rodgers, I want to give credit to Elgton Jenkins, who hustled downfield to make the tackle. Otherwise, that return likely goes for a touchdown.

– If you’re looking for another positive, Corey Bojorquez was very good in his Packers debut. He totaled 144 punt yards on only three attempts with a long of 59. And, yes, I know, that probably doesn’t help make you feel better.

– I thought coming into this game that with the Saints lacking so much depth at cornerback that this could turn into a big day for Rodgers and his receivers. However, I was very wrong. The Green Bay receivers struggled to separate all day.

– We knew that there would be growing pains, and rookie Royce Newman took some lumps today, especially in pass protection. I’ll really be focusing on Jenkins, Patrick, Myers, Newman and Turner upon rewatch to see how they all looked.

– Something worth monitoring, but there was a particular snap from Hunter Bradley to Bojorquez that was pretty low. Bradley had a rough training camp, and the Packers did sign a long-snapper to the practice squad.

– Za’Darius Smith did suit up, but Green Bay was very conservative with him early on–utilizing him in only obvious passing situations.

– It was a very small sample size, and this game was played differently given how it played out, but during obvious passing situations, we saw Clark move from nose tackle to 3-4 tech. I’ve been very curious all offseason to see if he will have more freedom to move around and find one-on-one matchups.

– There’s no way to ever truly know, but I wonder how much rust played into this game? Each preseason game, the Packers sat 30 or more players.

– And credit to Sean Payton and this Saints team. They were ready to play and the Packers were not.

– That was rough, but it’s a long NFL season. Next week the Green Bay Packers take on the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

All stats courtesy of ESPN