Sports

1 standout and 4 underachievers from Packers’ season-opening loss to Saints


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Putrid. Horrid. Use any synonym you want to describe the Green Bay Packers’ opening performance of the 2021 season.

The New Orleans Saints beat the Packers to a pulp on Sunday with a final score of 38-3. How did they do it? Well, it started with dominating time of possession. New Orleans controlled the ball for over 10 minutes more than Green Bay, which is an effective way to neutralize a high-powered offense.

Unfortunately, the defense wasn’t any better. In the first half, the Saints totaled three drives, and all of them ended in points. Two of those drives lasted 30 plays combined and ran nearly 18 minutes off the clock. By the time halftime rolled around, the Packers were already looking toward the bus.

It was impossible to come up with a list of standouts from this game. Some guys played better than others, but no one really deserves the label of a standout. Ok, this is a lie. One guy did stand out, but he is the last guy on the roster you want to have a good game. For the rest of the list, let’s just call them underachievers.

Standout: P Corey Bojorquez

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Bojorquez was the only standout player. Recently acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, the 25-year-old punter had a solid debut with his new team. Bojorquez booted four punts on the day, totaling 176 yards for an average of 44.0 yards per punt. During the third quarter, he recorded a 59-yard punt that pinned New Orleans at the 13-yard line. Overall, it was a good start for Bojorquez, who was called on to replace former fifth-round pick JK Scott. Scott was never consistent in his three seasons with the Packers, so as long as Bojorquez can maintain a certain level of expectations, he should be fine. Ok, let’s move on to the underachievers.

Underachiever No. 1: QB Aaron Rodgers

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

No, the preseason wouldn’t have helped, and the drama-fueled offense had no effect either. The Saints did a good job against Rodgers. As he pointed out in his post-game presser, New Orleans mostly played with two high safeties. Green Bay really needed to run the ball well to have a chance. When they couldn’t do that, the offense fell flat. To make matters worse, Rodgers threw two picks on the day, which was uncharacteristic for a guy who threw just five all of last season. Statistically, he had one of the worst games of his career as he finished with a passer rating of 36.8. Rodgers probably won’t have another game like this all year so let’s be thankful he got it out of the way early.

Underachiever No. 2: Coach Matt LaFleur

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, LaFleur made the list, and he won’t be the only coach before it’s done. Simply put, his team didn’t look ready Sunday – and to his credit, he owned up to it. “It was just an all-around poor performance,” said LaFleur. “That starts with myself…obviously, didn’t get these guys ready to play.” This was not LaFleur’s best game as a play-caller. The Packers’ offense never found their groove, and they abandoned the run very early. Aaron Jones rushed the ball five times for only nine yards, which looks even worse after he signed a four-year, $48 million-dollar deal in the offseason. Honestly, this didn’t look like LaFleur’s offense until Jordan Love took over in the fourth. This week, LaFleur must come up with a better game plan to establish a better rhythm with his play calling.

Underachiever No. 3: Defensive coordinator Joe Barry

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Barry is supposedly a very energetic coach. Perhaps he needs to try injecting some of that injury into his defense before they take the field against the Detroit Lions. It was a flat performance all around for a Green Bay defense that allowed five touchdowns to Jameis Winston. Barry could not dial-up any pressure to try and rattle Winston, and the run defense was almost non-existent. The defensive line was man-handled by the opposing front, which helped paved the way for 171 rushing yards by the Saints’ offense. To put it frankly, this was not a good start to the Barry era. The defense looked eerily similar to what it did under Mike Pettine but in all the worst ways.

Underachiever No. 4: CB Kevin King

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New Orleans Saints wide receiver Deonte Harris (11).

The decision to bring back King will always be perplexing. At this point, it is really hard to pinpoint what he does well. He’s got size, but his 4.4 speed does not translate to the field. This week, he got burned yet again, but this time it was wide receiver Deonte Harris who slipped behind King for a 55-yard touchdown. At this rate, it won’t be long before first-rounder Eric Stokes takes over for King.

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