Green Bay Packers: 3 Things We Learned in Week 1

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 12: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field on September 12, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 12: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field on September 12, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Disappointment and frustration; two words that pretty much sum up the Green Bay Packers‘ abysmal performance against the New Orleans Saints in week 1. Sean Payton’s boys from the Bayou dominated the Green and Gold from start to finish and made Aaron Rodgers and Co. look lost.

While the game Sunday offered very little optimism, it is important to remember there are 16 more regular-season games, and there is certainly more talent in the locker room than what was conveyed against the Saints. Adding onto that, we saw the starters go live against another team for the first time all year which provided a view into how good the team truly is.

After digesting the game and analyzing their performance, let’s look at 3 things we have learned about the 2021-2022 Green Bay Packers.

The Packers defense is not as good as we thought

Joe Barry’s defensive unit in Green Bay this season still has high expectations, but in Week 1, we saw many of their flaws exposed. When the switch was made from Mike Pettine to Barry, players and coaches alike raved about the energy he brought and how aggressive the defense will play. Albeit this was only one game, that energy was nowhere to be found, and the star-studded pass rush was non-existent.

Jameis Winston averaged nearly 2 interceptions a game his last year he was a starter in 2019, and yet the Green Bay Packers’ litany of ball-hawks in the secondary could not get one. (A weak roughing the passer call took one away, but the game was out of reach at that point.) The aggressiveness was nowhere to be found, and the front seven got pushed around all game long.

I, like most of you, came into that game expecting at least one forced turnover and a couple of sacks from the Green Bay defense. The defense showed many of the same flaws they have in years past, including inexplicable blown coverages leading to wide-open receivers and an inability to stop the run.

The Packers’ offense did not do any favors for the defense and forced them to be on the field way too often, so the blame goes both ways. I expect this unit to improve and get their feet underneath them. A date with the Lions back home at Lambeau may just be the perfect recipe to right the ship.

Talk is Cheap

After a drama-filled offseason filled with many question marks, the Green Bay Packers’ seemed to be in position for one more run at the Lombardi Trophy—a “Last Dance” before the band gets broken up.

Throughout training camp and the preseason, all the talk amongst the team was how locked in they were and mentally prepared to chase World Championship number 14 in TItletown. However, their Week 1 performance looked far from a Super Bowl contender.

The regular season is young, and I do not want to overreact, but it is much harder to walk the walk than to talk the talk. The Green Bay Packers have the talent to accomplish their goal of winning the Super Bowl, but they have to show it. After their dismal Week 1 performance, we will have a chance to see what this team is made of and how good their leadership truly is. One game does not ruin the regular season, but stewing on a disappointing performance and letting one loss turn into three or four could be detrimental for their campaign.

The team has the experience and veteran leadership within the locker room to bounce back. Now, they just have to go out and do it.

When LaFleur led Packer teams lose, they lose big

The Matt LaFleur era in Green Bay has been off to a phenomenal start. With back-to-back 13-3 seasons and NFC Championship game berths, LaFleur has found success early on in the 920. However, on those rare occasions where the Pack have been bested, it has usually been ugly.

The wins drastically outnumber the ugly losses, but when the Green and Gold get dominated from start to finish, it tends to burn a bit more. Last year it was Tom Brady and the Buccaneers who dominated the Green Bay Packers in Week 6. Two seasons ago, it was Kyle Shannahan and the San Francisco 49ers who showed up the Green Bay defense on multiple occasions, and now this year, the Saints exposed many of the Packers’ flaws.

On the bright side, Matt LaFleur’s squads tend to respond to losses very well. Not only have they never lost back-to-back games, but the average margin of victory is two or more scores.

I expect the Green Bay Packers to get it back on track and find their rhythm against the new-look Detroit Lions in Week 2 Getting some confidence and swagger back will go a long way for their long-term success this season.

Let me know anything you learned about the Green Bay Packers from Week 1 in the comments.