Aaron Rodgers was on the sword after the Packers’ Week 1 performance, but Aaron Rodgers was patient enough following the Vikings’ 23-7 victory in Minnesota.
“It wasn’t very good,” LaFleur admitted. “It starts with me; I need to come up with a better plan for the team and get the guys ready.”
“Anytime Aaron Jones leaves a game with only eight touches, that’s not good enough,” LaFleur said.
But when it came time for the postgame press conference, Aaron Rodgers, who had been visibly upset as the Packers struggled offensively to start the game, appeared to have calmed down a little.
“We had a lot of chances today,” said Aaron Rodgers. “Not to take anything away from (the Vikings’) defense, but we hurt ourselves a lot of times, myself included, and I had a lot of chances to score a lot more than seven (points).”
Both men are true in their statements. In his mostly brilliant Packers career, LaFleur has written more on-point game plans than not. But he’s not going to frame this call sheet.
Early on, the Packers were passive and unwilling to test the Vikings’ secondary deep more than a few times. Part of that can understandably be attributed to the offensive line’s bruising.
However, getting away from his two best playmakers, Jones and A.J., Dillon’s plan backfired. They combined for 23 touches, which should be closer to 40 than 20.
Aaron Rodgers concurred on this point. But he saw the bright side of what appeared to be poor performance when it mattered the most.
“Look, it’s tough to win in this league, and it’s even more difficult to win when you get in your own way too often,” he said. “I think we did well, but we need to get some more touches for Jonesy and Dillon.”
Aaron Rodgers was quick to point out that it was far from ideal.
But he may be onto something in one area: the Packers’ struggles in Week 1 are nothing new. They were abysmal in that strange season opener against the Saints a year ago, losing 38-3 and gaining only 229 yards and 14 first downs — far worse than today.
For the record, the Packers won their next seven games to finish the season 13-4, and Aaron Rodgers was named the AP NFL Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year. In Week 1, bad things happen that can be quickly washed away.
But that team had Davante Adams, which this team does not have. While Adams was busy catching ten passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in his Raiders debut, the Packers’ wide receivers combined for 12 catches for 120 yards, the vast majority of which came after the Packers fell behind by 17 points.
“Drops will happen; it’s part of the game,” Aaron Rodgers said. “It’s the mental stuff that we can’t have because it’s causing us harm.”
Perhaps LaFleur will reconsider his decision not to play his starters in the preseason for the second year in a row. Doing it last year was one thing; doing it with a unit whose makeup has changed dramatically is quite another.
“This is the second year in a row that we haven’t appeared prepared,” LaFleur said. “Certainly, we will all look inward and make the necessary corrections.”