Like any school year, the NFL season is played in four quarters. With the calendar turning to October, the first quarter of the 2019 season is complete and also like in school, it’s time for some evaluation.
Who are the 2019 Green Bay Packers? After four games, we are beginning to get a clearer picture.
The offense, as was expected, is a work in progress and continues to improve each week. Aaron Rodgers looked a lot like his usual self last week against the Philadelphia Eagles despite the loss. The Packers have had to run a gauntlet of tough defenses to start the season and it’s truly been a baptism by fire for Matt LaFleur’s offense. They improved each week however which is a good sign going forward.
The defense has carried the team so far up until the Eagles game. The run defense has been porous all year but it really sunk them last week as Jordan Howard ran all over them. The young secondary has been as advertised with Jaire Alexander morphing into a superstar and Darnell Savage in the conversation for defensive rookie of the year. The pass rush has roared to life behind Za’Darius and Preston Smith and if the Packers can learn to stop the run, they should be fine.
Special teams have also shown noticeable improvement although meltdowns against the Eagles forced the defense onto a short field twice than resulted in points both times. It will be interesting to see if they improve now that they’re facing some adversity for the first time in 2019. Ron Zook’s group would wilt under those circumstances. How will Shawn Mennenga fare?
Overall the Packers are probably better off than most expected record-wise and right where most expected them to be in terms of performance. The key will be handling adversity and continuing to grow, something LaFleur and company are facing for the first time this season as Green Bay prepares for the Dallas Cowboys.
There’s more on Green Bay after 25% of the season plus how the Packers made another mistake at tight end in today’s cheese curds.
LaFleur appears to not be in over his head which was a primary concern with hiring such a young coach. How he handles things with the team’s back against the wall will go a long way to determining how the 2019 Packers finish.
Green Bay will need to figure out their run defense quickly if they don’t want Ezekiel Elliott feasting on them all afternoon.
Brian Gutekunst has been more than solid since taking over as Packers GM, but he has whiffed on Jimmy Graham twice now: first by signing and second by keeping him. Graham showed promise against Philadelphia and still has his quarterback’s trust so maybe his time in Green Bay can be salvaged.
Crosby’s family has been hard hit by cancer and the push the Packers make to support cancer research is a personal mission for the veteran kicker.
Sometimes a wrong (turn) makes a right and in this case, I don’t think his mom would be too upset.