Matt LaFleur committed suicide for the Packers’ Week 1 execution, yet Aaron Rodgers taught persistence after the Vikings’ 23-7 win in Minnesota. Lafleur gave a blunt assessment of his own performance as a play-caller in a game in which the Packers averaged 6.7 yards per pass effort and drove a productive unit very early in the game.
Obviously it wasn’t great, LaFleur said. It starts with me. I have to plan better for the team and prepare the people. Lafleur also threw some logs on his fire when it came to the aggressive delivery. Matt LaFleur fell on the sword for a Packers Week 1 performance but Aaron Rodgers preached patience after the Vikings’ 23-7 win in Minnesota.
Any time Aaron Jones comes out of a game with eight touches that’s not enough, Lafleur said. But Rodgers, who was clearly upset on the sideline as the Packers aggressively drove out of the gate, seemed to have softened a bit by the time the postgame rolled around.
Rogers said that we had a lot of opportunities today. The Vikings aren’t taking anything off the defense but we’ve hurt ourselves too many times. There is truth in the words of both men. LaFleur has written more on-point game plans than in his most illustrious Packers career. But he will definitely not prepare this call sheet.
The Packers were passive and reluctant and unwilling to test the Vikings’ secondary depths as they had been some time before. A portion of this may extend largely to the offensive line. Game Jones and AJ. Dillon, ended up backfiring. The actual meaning for a combined 23 touches is that the number should be closer to 40 than 20. Rogers agreed on that point.
But he also noticed that what matters most from the outside is the very slow performance. It’s hard to win in this league and it’s definitely harder to win when you have your say. We’ll probably have to do a few more touches for Jonesy and Dillon. Rodgers made sure to point out that this was far from ideal. We made a lot of mistakes in the perimeter, missed a few throws so he said there was a lot to clean up around.
But he may be onto something in one regard: The Packers struggling in Week 1 is nothing new. He lost 38-3 against the Saints in the first match of that bizarre season a year ago and only 229 yards and 14 first downs were far worse than they are today. For refresher, the Packers would win their next seven games, ending the season 13–4, and Rodgers would win the AP NFL Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season. Sometimes some bad things happen in the first week which gets washed away quickly.
In that team was Davante Adams, something that this club does not do. While Adams was busy catching 10 passes for 141 yards and the Raiders were quick to score, the Packers’ wide receiver collectively took 12 catches for 120 yards, most of which came after falling behind 17 points. An early fall by rookie Christian Watson on a pass that should have been a 75-yard touchdown sets the tone for the day.
There’s going to be a drop. It’s part of the game, Rodgers said. This is mental stuff we can’t have because we’re hurting ourselves. Perhaps Lafleur will reconsider his decision to not play his early players in the preseason, which he has done for two years in a row. It was one thing to do last year that taking that approach with an entity that has clearly changed in makeup is quite another.
It’s been two years in a row that we’ve come out and don’t look ready,” Lafleur said. Of course we’ll all look within ourselves and make the necessary improvements. Those improvements could come as early as September 18 when the Packers host the 1-0 Chicago Bears.
Even after Chicago’s excellent defensive performance in Week 1, it’s worth reminding that Rodgers has owned the Bears in recent matchups. If this trend continues, like Green Bay’s slow start a year ago, the Packers should be as good as Sunday’s result was.