Green Bay Keeps On Rolling
Just as it went down many years ago in Super Bowl 1, the Green Bay Packers came out victorious against the Kansas City Chiefs. While the score may have differed (35-10 in 1967, 38-28 in 2015) and and a different name for the title game, the end result remained in a Packer victory. Of course week three has little meaning compared to the championship game but it certainly is a step in the right direction.
While I could go on and on about the similarities and differences between now and 1967, I'll get back to the story line at hand which is the true grit of the modern day Packers team as they stay resilient in the face of injuries. Injuries are a part of the game and the teams who can over come them without hesitation or complaints are the teams that will continue to succeed. The Green Bay Packers exemplify just that as they have continued to show over the last few years.
Take a look at just this season so far for the Packers and you'll see just what I mean. Right out of the gate before the season even started the Packers lost top receiver Jordy Nelson to an ACL injury leaving the NFL world doubting Green Bay's chances. Not too long after Nelson's injury packers middle linebacker Sam Barrington injured his ankle leaving a significant void in the Green Bay defense. To add insult to injury, Davante Adams and Eddie Lacey have been battling the injury bug off and on not to mention the absence of Morgan Burnett and Letroy Guion.
In true Packer fashion, Green Bay has overcome all those odds with the next man up mentality. A large part of that may have to do with the fact that there are only three players on Green Bay's current roster that have played for other teams. The other 50 players have been with the Packers their entire career which amounts to wonderful chemistry. The Packers have carefully cultivated not only a competitive team but a perennial powerhouse who's depth can put them in the playoffs for years to come.
A large part of the success through the injuries on the offensive side undoubtedly comes from Aaron Rodgers. His accuracy and precision will make any receiver look like a perennial all-star. He utilizes the strengths of the personnel on the field on the current play. We've seen a lot of slants, wide receiver screens, and quick receiver drags with the absence of Nelson, yet production hasn't dwindled too considerably. In fact, Rodger's average yards per game has increased from the first three games last year to the first three games this year. Last season Rodger's average went 5.7, 8.2. 6.0 but this season with multiple injuries to the receiving core Rodgers has averaged 8.2, 7.5, and 9.5 yards through three games respectively. If that's not the work of an excellent quarterback then call me Santa Clause and I'll go hide Easter eggs. Rodgers still looks to continue his 100+ passer rating for the sixth consecutive year and will continue to keep the high octane Green Bay offense running smoothly.
Of course there has to be some credit given to the receiving core as well. With the injuries that have occurred receivers such as Jeff Janis and Ty Montgomery have had to step up and connect with Rodgers on more than just a physical level but on a mental level as well. The chemistry and trust between Rodgers and the Packers receiving core is better than the most experienced set of receivers out there in the NFL. The offense is still efficient running eight fewer plays yet almost doubling (6.1 avg yards compared to opponents 5.5 avg yards) their opponents in average yards per game!
On the defensive side the vast majority of the credit has to go to the mastermind behind the Green Bay defense in Don Kapers. Along with coach Mike Mccarthy the Packers have utilized that cultivated talent and substituted rookies into the lineup when needed. Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have been outstanding, never missing a beat in the absences of Burnett and other Packers secondary. Utilizing the raw skill of Clay Matthews in the middle linebacker position, as well as the outside spots, has in a sense revitalized the Green Bay linebackers core. When rookie linebackers such as Jake Ryan can step up and take the pressure off of Matthews, it just adds even more fuel to the fire. All that trust and intense communication allows the Packer defense to expand their packages including their "psycho" package with many moving parts. With 8 more sacks than their opponents, the Packers have been as dominant on defense as they have on offense.
The Green Bay Packers have built their reputation on making the draft work for them and cultivating their newly acquired draft talent. Keeping the talent within the organization has been the staple that has kept the camel's back strong and in tact. The chemistry that normally takes years to master only takes the Packers a preseason to master. Success is in the air in Green Bay, after all they don't call it Title Town for nothing.
The Pack will look to attack once more next Sunday as the take on the 49ers from Levi Stadium.