Packers Dominate Bears in the Trenches as Pre-season Translates to Week 1

Jordan Love had all day to throw versus Chicago while Justin Fields was running for his life.

In the pre-season, it is difficult to know what is real and what is simply a mirage.

Case in point: The Pittsburgh Steelers looked like a fluid and dangerous offense in exhibition games before crumbling versus the San Francisco 49ers in week one.

Both the starting and backup offensive and defensive lines impressed in the pre-season for the Packers, and when the real games started on Sunday, they backed it up.

Jordan Love may have been without one of his top receivers in Christian Watson – who is also the only true deep threat on the team – but the protection afforded to him by a stingy offensive line meant the new starter had all day to go through his reads throughout the game.

This was especially evident on the key downs, where Love did his best work against the Bears.

On 3rd and 4th down, Love was 8 of 10 passing for 141 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was cool as a cucumber in the pocket when it mattered most, thanks in huge part to the big guys up front.

His first touchdown to Romeo Doubs was perhaps the best indicator of this, as Love scanned the field and pump faked before ripping a pass to his receiver in the back of the end zone.

The starting unit of David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan and Zach Tom dominated in pass protection, giving up just two pressures, and the Packers also have depth behind them in Yosh Nijman and Rasheed Walker in particular.

On the other side of the ball, Green Bay’s defensive line and edge group made Justin Fields’ life hell all afternoon, generally doing an excellent job of being disciplined and containing the dangerous running quarterback, while also applying pressure consistently.

In total, the Packers produced a whopping 35 pressures on Sunday, only bettered by the Dallas Cowboys so far this weekend, with contributions coming from everywhere.

Rashan Gary announced his return from injury with authority, playing just 12 snaps but getting a remarkable five pressures on Fields.

The young players who had flashed their ability this summer produced when it mattered. Devonte Wyatt led the Packers with six pressures, including a sack and a half and a forced fumble, teaming with Kenny Clark, who was credited with half a sack and had four pressures himself.

Rookies Lukas Van Ness and Karl Brooks both had sacks among their combined eight pressures, with an additional four pressures coming from another rookie, Colby Wooden.

Van Ness’ sack was especially impressive as he patiently closed on Fields as the Bears QB looked to get to the edge and escape. There aren’t many 272lb defenders who can chase Fields down.

There were also pressures recorded for Preston Smith (3), Justin Hollins (2), Kingsley Enagbare (1), T.J. Slaton (1), and Jaire Alexander (1).

The youth movement in the front seven seems to be producing early dividends on, with the unspectacular old guard replaced by vibrant, athletic, and aggressive edge rushers and defensive linemen.

While there is extreme youth in the pass-catching ranks and questions on the defensive back end, the Packers will stand a chance to win a lot of games in 2023 if they can win up front on both sides of the ball. On Sunday, Green Bay did not just win, they demolished Chicago.

 

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @MarkOldacres

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6 points
 

Comments (29)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
MainePackFan's picture

September 11, 2023 at 06:49 pm

" His first touchdown to Romeo Doubs was perhaps the best indicator of this, as Love scanned the field and pump faked before ripping a pass to his receiver in the back of the end zone."

Very true. Equally impressive is the route Doubs ran. The kid has DA type route running skills. Not saying he's DA, but he's definitely got above average tools to go along with the rapport he has with Jordan Love..

7 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 11, 2023 at 11:23 pm

Yes, Very similar to Davante with strong hands like Sterling Sharpe as young players. The pass route was classic west coast offense. We've Seen Jerry Rice run it and Sharpe for TDs and Moss for Denny Green.

4 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

September 11, 2023 at 06:59 pm

Before the draft I thought Wooden could be a new breed 3-4 DE. 10 years ago you were looking for 6'-5" guys with long arms in the 305-315 lb range. Now most of those guys are under 300lbs. Cameron Heyward has made 4 All-Pro teams and 6 Pro Bowls at 295 lbs.

Brooks and Wooden were the biggest surprises to me., both as far as snaps and impact. If they can continue to take productive snaps and let Wyatt get breathers and play mostly pass rushing downs the defense could be dangerous with all the outside rushers.

*This tempered by the fact the Bears started Patrick at center and were missing their best guard in Jenkins. Atlanta will be a good test, though their QB doesn't seem to want to throw deep. Despite what LH says, stop the run and put the ball in the QBs hand is the name of the game this week. He'll say 6.4 is better than 5.3 but meh. The Falcons had one pass completion over 20 yards and Ridder was sacked 4 times. They will be looking to run. Stop the run, put them in long down and distance and let the D front pin their ears back . 2-0.

10 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 12, 2023 at 07:57 am

Makes sense to me LL.

Dictate on Defense. Force the opponent into their weaknesses by taking away their strengths. The D script this week is very similar the Bears game. Falcons will run to set up the pass. Stop it and they are forced to face the Packers pass rush and DBs.

2 points
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PearlyBakerBest's picture

September 11, 2023 at 07:27 pm

.

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 11, 2023 at 07:57 pm

Wait. I was told that the line sucked because of Josh Myers. It's unpossible that pass protection was good.

0 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 11, 2023 at 07:59 pm

Also too, I tuned into the Jets/Bills out of morbid curiosity. Someone better put Stockholder on suicide watch.

6 points
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Oppy's picture

September 11, 2023 at 08:03 pm

You win the internet tonight, sir

5 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 11, 2023 at 08:23 pm

he's rumored to be out for the indefinitely with a yeast infection? covid toe?

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 11, 2023 at 08:24 pm

Hopefully the Jets fans have all been immunized.

6 points
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Guam's picture

September 12, 2023 at 07:09 am

You are on fire Bitternotsour!

2 points
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Guam's picture

September 12, 2023 at 07:14 am

Unfortunately it maybe "out for the season" which will cost the Packers the Jets #1 pick. Morning report said Achilles tendon injury with an MRI scheduled for today.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 12, 2023 at 10:16 am

Torn achilles confirmed by MRI. We get a second round pick.

2 points
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T7Steve's picture

September 12, 2023 at 10:54 am

Guess we got the best of that deal. 2nd round pick for 4 plays.

0 points
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CheesedDeadHead's picture

September 12, 2023 at 11:56 am

Packers get:
1) Out from under ARodgers contract
2) Swap 1st Round picks in 2023
3) 2nd Round picks in 2023, 2024.

Jets get:
1) A reworked ARodgers contract
2) 4 plays.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 11, 2023 at 10:28 pm

Pass pro was very good. It was run blocking where Myers failed, and I'm not sure what else went wrong or what made it work when it did especially on #33's many 8 yard runs.

5 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 11, 2023 at 11:05 pm

Myers was our worst rated offensive player per PFF. His run grades were atrocious.

6 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 12, 2023 at 08:01 am

Myers is solid at pass protection. The book on him is his run blocking. Last year he was by far the worst of the starters. He had competition during camp due to this deficiency, not pass blocking.

That's should be a big deal for a team looking to run more this year. 50-50 run pass on Sunday.

2 points
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splitpea1's picture

September 11, 2023 at 08:06 pm

Okay, I'm as optimistic as the next guy, but I think we'll need a few more games to clarify the reality-to-mirage ratio, especially against quality opponents when they come around. The 49ers and the Bears are two different animals indeed. I have no worries about our ability to pass protect and I love the upside of our pass rush, but is our run blocking good enough when Jones is out of the game? Jones can cut and slice his way through, but Dillon is going to need more help and hopefully the coaching staff can find some ways to make his carries more productive.

7 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 11, 2023 at 10:36 pm

I wondered if Chicago might be about halfway between preseason and regular season in terms of competition. It's good not only for building confidence, but to complete a few plays successfully is great practice.

Fortunately we don't face the 49ers. While we do play the Chiefs there's no other team of that caliber on the schedule.

5 points
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Pierre's picture

September 12, 2023 at 12:05 am

I would rather the Packers have kept RB Goodson on this team rather than Dillion.

-2 points
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LGDaub's picture

September 11, 2023 at 08:55 pm

It's also difficult to predict what a blogger will focus on that misses what I saw. I saw a CHI DL that was shut-down excellent against a Packer OL with only one run-blocker on it. Guess who won that battle of the trenches. I saw a center who could not snap the ball and was a pacifist, therefore a QB running for his life on too many plays and lucky the CHI DBs were as weak as Packer runblockers. Which meant I put down the scramble checkdown completions as a loss by CHI, not a win by GB passblocking. Put this current Packer squad against the DEE that TBay used against Minnesota, and bloggers will be talking differently. By the end of the season we'll all know more about how good GB is in the trenches. But it's too soon to talk smack about it as a trend.

-2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

September 11, 2023 at 09:19 pm

Perhaps a piece of fish with that whine?

5 points
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CheesedDeadHead's picture

September 12, 2023 at 11:58 am

Maybe it's time to get your eyes checked.

0 points
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Guam's picture

September 12, 2023 at 07:07 am

I understand it was the Bears, but it has been a long time since the Packers dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The Packer D-line was relentless in this game against both the run and pass. Wyatt, Wooden and Brooks all impressed. The Edge group has talent and depth which allowed them to play fresh and fast throughout the game. Going five deep with the Edge group will be a huge asset as the season progresses.

One game is not a trend, but I sure am excited to see what happens against Atlanta next week.

2 points
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T7Steve's picture

September 12, 2023 at 07:35 am

Remember, the Bears had only preseason games to scout the Packers. Every game after this the next team will that much more to go on. Let's see if our coach can adjust and keep things from being predictable.

Notice what Hacket (sp?) did last night? Those first four plays allowed the D to T-up on Rodgers. After he was hurt, they started putting Wilson under center and ran the ball. What would have happened if Rodgers had been under center more?

1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 12, 2023 at 08:17 am

I read Saleh said he did not know why Rodgers held onto the ball for so long on that play. It was a designed quick hitter. The Jets RT said as much as he did a cut block just to slow down the rusher.

It was probably Rodgers being Rodgers...seeing something pre snap and a chance for hero ball.

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 12, 2023 at 10:22 am

Staying on the Packers, this season very much depends on MLF's ability to constantly bring out new stuff so opponents don't have us thoroughly scouted. That can happen by some combination of not giving away the whole playbook early, and by continually adding new plays that are designed for specific matchups.

I have no idea how good MLF is at this, but it's different from in game adjustments so it's easier for me to be optimistic.

2 points
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EricTorkelson's picture

September 12, 2023 at 07:51 am

Dear LGDaub, I'm trying to interpret ..... Bloggers ( yourself ) missing what you saw ?
Ch DL that was shut down excellent against Packers OL with only one run blocker on it ( Huh! )
A center pacifist who could not snap the ball and a quarterback running for his life and lucky Chi DBs were as week as GB run blockers were ( Huh! )
The scramble checkdown completions as a Ch loss not a GB pass blocker win ( Huh! )
This Packer squad vs Tampa Bay DEE used against Minn ( what! )
Bloggers talking smack about how GB is playing in the trenches.... really

Two facts.. Your not a Packer fan and you were drinking when you wrote this post........

-1 points
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