New-look Packers offense looking to put on a show

Players didn’t get many game reps in preseason
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers are set to battle the Chicago Bears in a NFC North showdown Thursday to open the National Football League’s 100th season.

The green and gold will look a lot different from that last time they played a meaningful game (Week 17 of the 2018 regular season against the Detroit Lions), with new personnel coaching the team and a host of new rookies and free agent pickups on the football field.

The offensive side of the ball will have a new look to it, with new head coach Matt LaFleur calling the plays with help from offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

Like many teams around the league, the Packers rested a majority of their starters during the preseason, so week one will finally allow fans the opportunity to see the team’s best go at it.

Despite the lack of game reps, nobody on the team believes it will impact the offense in any way.

“This is the National Football League, and there’s great players on both sides. We’ll both be ready to play and I expect the product to be good,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who noted not many Bears got much preseason action either.

Rodgers has made his voice heard of what he thinks about the preseason, saying the four games don’t do a whole lot for him at this point of his career.

The quarterback also said the preseason has no impact on him when it comes to the regular season.

“Look, I would say this. If we go out and we struggle, it had nothing to do with playing meaningless reps in the preseason. I really believe that,” said Rodgers. “You’re not facing a ton of game-like situations in the preseason.”

“If we go out and light it up, it’s not because we rested in the preseason. Our performance will be based on our preparation this week, our experience and the way we execute on the field and the same for them (Chicago)…”

The preseason also saw teams employing basic schemes and playcalls, so week one will also introduce fans to what a LaFleur-led offense will actually look like on the field.

While it may seem like that gives the Packers’ offense an advantage going up against the Bears’ strong defense, Green Bay is in the exact same situation, as Chicago’s defense is under new coordinator Chuck Pagano.

Rodgers’ weapons in the passing game were chomping at the bit to show the world what the offense will be like.

“I’m excited. We’ve been working for a long time now, since April with this group, so I’m definitely excited to unleash what we’ve been working on. It’s been kind of rated G a little bit so far throughout preseason just so that we don’t give away all of the goods, but we have a chance to open it up pretty soon, so it’s definitely a good feeling.”

“I’m very confident. I think we got one of the best (receiving corps) in the NFL — I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again,” said receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. “I think just top to bottom we are so talented, so diverse in what we can do. I think it’s just one of those things that once we get the ball rolling, people are gonna see.”

Adams will serve as the leader in the receiving game after a 111-catch, 13-touchdown season in 2018. The Packers will be looking for the likes of receivers Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow, Darrius Shepherd and Trevor Davis and tight ends Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan to serve as other reliable weapons for Rodgers.

Based on LaFleur’s prior job experience, Green Bay’s running game figures to play a bigger role than in past years.

A trio of running backs, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Dexter Williams, will handle a majority of the carries and also be looked to as complementary pieces in the passing game.

Fullback Danny Vitale also had a strong summer for the Packers and could carve out an impact role as a runner and receiver.

Green Bay’s offensive line is almost identical to what it was in 2018. David Bakhtiari will anchor the group from his left tackle position. Bryan Bulaga is back at right tackle, while Corey Linsley will again serve as the center.

Lane Taylor beat out rookie Elgton Jenkins for the left guard position, while free-agent acquisition Billy Turner will be the new right guard after signing a four-year deal.

The o-line will be tasked in slowing down the Bears talented front seven, led by outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who nearly single-handedly ruined the 2018 opener for the Packers.

Should the Packers’ offense consistently move the ball in the opener, it could be a sign of even bigger things to come the rest of the season as players get acclimated with each other. A road win over the reigning division champs would be a cherry on top.