The Good, Bad and Okay from the Packers first four games

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates with fans after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter during their football game Sunday, September 18, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packvsbears 0918220637djpa
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates with fans after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter during their football game Sunday, September 18, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packvsbears 0918220637djpa /
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With the addition of the 17th game to the NFL schedule, we aren’t exactly at the quarter point in the Green Bay Packers season, but we are close enough.

Heading into Week 5, the Packers sit at 3-1 on the season, with a lot of promising moments, but like every other team, areas to improve upon as well. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the okay from Green Bay’s first four games of the season.

The Good from the Packers first four games

3rd down and scoring defense

These two things go hand in hand. The Packers have been very good at getting off the field on third downs, in large part because of early down success that puts the opposing offense behind the chains and allows the Green Bay pass rush to pin their ears back. The end result of this is the Packers’ defense leading the NFL in third down conversion rate, ranking third in red zone trips per game allowed, and seventh in points per game allowed.

Flashes from the rookie receivers

There have been growing pains, as everyone expected, but we’ve seen flashes from Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson as well. Doubs has the ability to win at all three levels of the field and has built a strong rapport with Aaron Rodgers, as evidenced by that back-shoulder throw and third-down target in overtime against New England. Watson, meanwhile, has elite speed, which allows him to create space, and the run game is simply better when he’s on the field and a threat to get the ball on those jet sweeps.


Through four games the Packers offense ranks first in total YAC, which has played a big role in helping them still create explosive plays, despite not pushing the ball downfield nearly as often. The pass catchers’ YAC ability coupled with Aaron Jones has the Green Bay offense tied for the second most big plays this season.

The run-pass mix

It goes without saying, but his is a different Packers offense than in years past, which means they need to operate differently. Aaron Jones is their playmaker and needs to be a focal point of the offense every week. There also needs to be a greater reliance on the run game to help open up the playbook for Matt LaFleur while also not letting the defensive fronts tee off on Aaron Rodgers. I mean, we’ve seen how ugly things can get when this offense becomes one-dimensional. While there have been times where the Packers have gotten away from the run, overall they’ve kept a good run pass mix with 145 drop backs to 114 rushing attempts.

Getting healthy

In the first few games we’ve seen the return of Robert Tonyan, who is still on a pitch count and trying to regain that big play ability, but he brings a needed and missing element to this passing game with his ability down the seam and in the red zone. David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins have also returned to the offensive line, providing a major boost compared to what we saw Week 1.

Quick passing game

In addition to the run game, the quick passing attack has been a catalyst to the Packers’ offensive success. It doesn’t require the offensive line to pass protect as long, it gets the ball into the hands of the pass catchers, who as mentioned above, have been very good at picking up YAC. This approach also creates more third and manageable situations, not to mention that Rodgers has been incredibly efficient when getting the ball out quickly. This reliance on the quick passes has also been a likely contributor to the offense not taking as many deep shots either.

Aaron Jones

As Aaron Jones goes, so does the Packers offense. Jones is averaging an impressive 6.8 yards per carry and has been incredibly difficult to bring down. Among running backs with at least 16 carries, Jones ranks third in yards after contact, fourth in missed tackles forced, and second in runs of 10-plus yards. He also has 81 receiving yards. Regardless of the opponent, Jones should be getting at the bare minimum 15 touches per game.

Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark

As Matt LaFleur said over the summer, Rashan Gary is the tone setter for this defense. Through four games, Gary ranks 10th among all edge rushers in pressures, second in sacks, and third in stops—or plays that result in a loss for the offense. Meanwhile, Kenny Clark has 14 pressures of his own, good for the fifth most among interior defensive lineman, and he’s just shy of being on pace for a career high in this category. Gary and Clark account for over 50% of the Packers total pressures on defense. Overall, the Packers rank ninth in pass-rush win rate, in large part because of these two.

The effectiveness of Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb

Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb don’t have a ton of targets by any means, but both have been incredibly efficient. As Zach Kruse of Packers Wire would write, both Lazard and Cobb are averaging over 10.0 yards per target this season, showcasing their efficiency. Both have also come up big on third downs this season, with Lazard catching four of seven targets at 13.3 yards per catch with all going for first downs. Cobb, meanwhile, has caught all five of his third down targets with all five moving the chains.

Jon Runyan

Perhaps flying under the radar with the return of Bakhtiari and Jenkins, Jon Runyan has been very good this season. In fact, he is the only guard to not surrender a pressure all season.

Rasul Douglas

Rasul Douglas has been very good early on this season. While he has allowed 11 receptions on 15 targets, he has been close by, holding pass-catchers to a measly 6.7 yards per catch. Douglas’ coverage grade from PFF ranks fourth among all cornerbacks, and he has been an active tackler, ranking second in stops at the position.