Packers 2019 First Quarter Progress Report

There’s four games in the books and the Packers are 3-1, all alone in first place with a 2-0 division record. That might have sounded like a nice thing a month ago, but fans are now disappointed after a 3-0 start.

Let’s look at some of the biggest themes throughout the first four games.

Rookies
Darnell Savage has been a very good addition to the secondary. He’s been assignment sure, made big plays, and his speed is apparent in coverage and run support. Rashan Gary had a sack and a fumble recovery in garbage time relief duty against Denver, otherwise hasn’t done much and is still behind Kyler Fackrell in the backup depth chart. Elgton Jenkins flashed potential, but couldn’t crack the starting lineup until Lane Taylor got hurt. No one else has done anything. For a team with so much draft capital, it’s a pretty sad return on investment after four games.

Free Agents
Smith and Smith have far exceeded expectations. Not only have they been wreaking absolute havoc on opposing quarterbacks (except for Wentz), they have spearheaded a movements to completely change the culture and attitude of the defense. Amos has exceeded expectations, as well. He’s been everything we hoped in run support and came up with a huge play Week 1 against his former team. Billy Turner has been average to mediocre, but that’s still an improvement over the dumpster fire from last year. It’s hard not to look at 2019 free agency as a slam dunk through 4 games.

Matt LaFleur
He’s a first time head coach who has instilled a new culture in the team in the team and in the fanbase. For that alone, we should be happy. The offense (which was expected to be the next iteration of a new age attack that would steamroll the league with Aaron Rodgers at the helm) has looked anemic when facing a bunch of top 5 defenses to start, but they’re starting to come together.

Mike Pettine
Looked like the greatest thing such Buddy Ryan through the first couple games, then the defense showed some weakness against the run. His season may hinge on how he gameplans for Ezekiel Elliott this week.

JK Scott
The second year punter has really shown growth after a rookie year that left many wondering why he was worth a draft pick. He’s been flipping the field every week and is the unsung hero of the defense.

Health
The Packers avoided major injuries in the preseason by playing starters sparingly (or not at all). The Packers were very healthy in the first quarter of the season, but saw a lot of guys go down in week 4. Maybe it has something to do with playing 2 games only 4 days apart? Not if you ask the NFL – and they care about player safety! 

Overall
The Packers have played well as a whole. Given that they have a new coach, a new offense, a lot of new faces, and didn’t play together much in the preseason, some bumps are expected. Coming out of a bumpy stretch with a 3-1 record is a very good sign. Now, the Packers have a tough stretch in the second quarter where they will need to start expanding the offense, adjusting the defense, and dealing with the inevitable injuries.

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