Like many Green Bay Packers fans, I was very excited for the upcoming season and the week one game against the New Orleans Saints. This was going to be the season where we finally got over that NFC Championship hump. This was going to be the swan song for our quarterback Aaron Rodgers. One final chance, a last dance per se, for him to win a Super Bowl as a Packer. I personally am convinced he’ll move on next year. However, all of my wishful thinking went down the drain when we got blown out by the Jameis-Winston-led Saints.
There’s no way to say it other than this: we got absolutely crushed by the Saints, putting up a measly three points to their 38. Our offense could barely move down the field with Rodgers finishing with zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 36.8, his fourth worst in his career.
The defense where I was hoping we’d finally make that leap from middle-to-above-average, to a more consistent and dominating presence with a new defensive coordinator, Joe Barry, was pretty abysmal.
Our offensive line was surprisingly pretty good with two rookies, Josh Myers and Royce Newman, and a shuffling of the line trying to fill the place of All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and All-Pro center Corey Linsley, who left in the offseason.
As expected after this type of game, social media, fans and media pundits ragged on the team and lambasted them for not being more prepared. A majority of the team’s starters did not play during the preseason. Although head coach Matt LaFleur said it did not impact the team’s performance, not having time to work on team chemistry did not help us out against the Saints.
Analysts hypothesized that Rodger’s offseason “drama,” when many thought he’d leave Green Bay, distracted him and the team from playing up to the level that they should have. Yes, in the offseason it was clear Rodgers wasn’t happy with the team and the way it has historically been managed. However, he is a professional, and I highly doubt his teammates let anything that happens in the offseason distract themselves so much that they played that badly. Their bad play comes down to preparation, coaching and underestimating a Saints squad that is still quite good even with injuries and a change in QB.
As bad as the Packers played last weekend, the first game of a season does not define a team. There are still 16 weeks for us to develop and continue to improve in order to make a playoff push. There is no need to panic and catastrophize based on our performance in week one. Should we be a little worried about our inside linebacker core or our wide receivers ability to get open or a myriad of other things? Yes, we should. But, that doesn’t mean we should hit the panic button.
Year after year, we see good teams start slow and play pretty badly early in the season. The most important thing is that we need to see the team bounce back, and in a big way, against a mediocre Detroit Lions team to tie the Bears as leaders of the NFC North.