After two ball games, it’s too early to make any long-term predictions about the Packers, but you know we all love doing it anyway. One thing is for certain: we all feel a little bit better than we did after the debacle in Minnesota. Now, with a big test coming up against a depleted Bucs team, it’s easy to start feeling a little bit optimistic.
With an incredibly low sample size of two games, I thought I’d check back in on my Super Bowl measures to see how the Packers are measuring up.
ELITE (TOP 5) STANDARD
To win the Super Bowl, I said the Packers needed to reach Elite status in three areas: QB, RB, and Defense.
QB At this point, Rodgers is Below Average with an abysmal 34.9 QBR. We all know that is an aberration considering his lifetime QBR of 104.4 and his 128.0 rating versus the Bears. More importantly, I noted he will need to be an elite game manager and leader… and he certainly demonstrated that he was comfortable riding behind Aaron Jones against the Bears (although he had oddly negative body language throughout the game).
RB After his monster game against the Bears, Aaron Jones is Elite (#2 in overall DYAR) through 2 games and Dillon is right behind at #13. In fact, it was one of the most dominating running performances in recent memory. It has even led some to begin forecasting an all-time great Packers season for Jones.
Defense The Packers are currently 23rd in DVOA making them very much Below Average. While their performance against a poor Bears team brought some hope, we have not yet seen a team that is even close to Elite. With a very healthy and experienced squad, we clearly would have expected better and instead, have seen Justin Jefferson and David Montgomery gash them repeatedly. It may be time for the Packers to switch Rasul Douglas to safety and give Darnell Savage an opportunity to salvage a starting job at slot corner. We will continue to learn more in the coming weeks, but without better schemes and cohesion, it is possible that this unit could again hold the Packers back from reaching the ultimate goal.
VERY GOOD (TOP 10) STANDARD
I indicated that the following units would need to be top 10 to win the Super Bowl: Offense, O Line, WR, TE, and D Line.
Surprisingly, the offensive line ranks #3 overall in DVOA despite the fact that Elgton Jenkins has played 1 game, David Bakhtiari 0 games, and the line generally looked terrible the first game. With the offensive line and running backs outperforming, the offense as a whole ranks #6. If Yosh Nijman can continue to improve and Elgton Jenkins, Aaron Jones, and AJ Dillon stay healthy, there is no reason to doubt that the offensive line and overall offense will stay in the top 10.
Through 2 games, Robert Tonyan is ranked #27 in DYAR and no receivers are in the top 32. Neither of these is a particular concern at the moment as we’ve seen plenty of flashes from Doubs and Watson and it feels like only a matter of time before they start contributing in a very meaningful way.
Again, the major disappointment is on the defensive side of the ball with a #26 ranking by defensive line. Rashan Gary had a slow start in week 1 but got more consistent pressure against the Bears. On the other side, Preston Smith had a monster performance against the Bears with 7 tackles and 2 sacks. The Packers do appear to have all of the pieces on the defensive line to reach that top 10 standard.
ABOVE AVERAGE (TOP 15) STANDARD
Only Packers fans could be absolutely ecstatic about a unit which is ranked #14 overall through 2 games. Punter Pat O’Donnell has been playing at a Pro Bowl level to date including a 72-yard punt and 52-yard net average against the Bears. The once maligned kicking game looks like a well oiled machine with Crosby yet to miss and crisp snaps by Jack Coco and flawless holds by O’Donnell. The Packers even have 2 aces in coverage in Dallin Leavitt and Rudy Ford. The area of concern remains Amari Rodgers after he fumbled and recovered a punt. While he had an impressive 20 yard punt return, Packer fans will continue to hold their breath every time he receives the ball.
All in all, the Packers are doing quite well in DVOA even with the debacle in Minnesota. Now, we’ll find out if that can translate into a win in Tampa.