Green Bay: Rodgers' Era Begins
Posted on: September 9, 2008 9:37 pm
It's still odd to think of a Packers team without Brett Favre, but reality finally set in last night. The Packers, under the new leadership of Aaron Rodgers, survived a late push by the Vikings, to win 24-19 at Lambeau Field. Rodgers was impressive in his debut, completing 82% (18 of 22) of his passes while throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown. He also scored a touchdown on a QB sneak in the 4th Quarter. The Packers had no problem using a more balanced offense (27 rushing attempts, 22 pass attempts) than the pass-heavy offense we saw with last year's 13-3 squad. Will it be more effective? I'm not sure they are capable of 13-3, but with the way Rodgers ran the offense against a tough Minnesota defense, I'd say if they don't make they playoffs, it will be a disappointment. Rodgers showed an impressive command of the play action, which they were able to use more effectively because of their aforementioned more balanced offense. Ryan Grant was able to rush for 92 yards on only 12 carries, including a 57 yard 4th quarter scamper that fell 2 yards shy of the endzone. The Packers, as a whole, rushed for 139 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The Packers have much room to improve under Rodgers, and they are still one of the youngest teams in the NFL, overall. Their youth showed in their first game without Favre, as they drew 12 penalties for 118 yards.. Ouch. In comparison, the Vikings had 9 penalties for 42 yards. I truly believe the Packers have a good squad this year, and their defense is still intact, and was impressive in stopping the pass (Jackson completed only 16 of 35 passes, with an interception), but a bit lethargic against the run.. Of course, they were trying to stop Adrian Peterson, whom they managed to somewhat contain, as he rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown (5.4 Avg). Overall, the Packers will need to reduce their penalties if they hope to play well consistently, because 118 yards(in penalties), is a very costly number. Next up, The Packers take on Detroit, and look to contain promising rookie Kevin Smith, and also Jon Kitna and his talented pool of Wide Receivers.