In Week 1, the Packers hosted the 49ers at home, a team that in its first year under Jim Harbaugh, went 13-3 and made it to the NFC Championship Game. And they showed the Packers why, defeating them 30-22 and holding off a late Packer comeback.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense got nothing going on the ground, and barely got anything through the air, with the 49ers not letting Rodgers or his receiving corps unload any of their deep threat abilities, making them earn every yard they got. And as the Packers go away from this game and look to Chicago, here are some early thoughts on Green Bay's Week One loss:
- The Packers' defense still showed it has plenty of work to do on most levels. While the Packers did get four sacks and pressure later in the game, they failed to shut down the 49ers running game and get their offense back on the field on a consistent basis, missing on tackles and continued to show ineffective communication.
- The safety position did not look good at all. While this could partially be attributed to growing pains with only second year safety M.D. Jennings and rookie Jerron McMillian at one of the positions, the Packers may be forced to possibly address this by signing a veteran or moving Bush to the position. But communication must get better here, especially at safety in the nickel package, where both Jennings and McMillian saw time after Jennings took the wrong angle that allowed the Randy Moss touchdown catch.
- Jarrett Bush got abused again today. While he is a great special teams player, he is not the starting corner on the outside the Packers need. At best, he is the No. 4 corner, and is best served covering the slot receivers in dime and nickel packages. The Packers, as they are young already, need to go ahead and put second-round rookie Casey Hayward opposite Tramon Williams and get him prepared now if they don't trust Sam Shields on the outside and prefer to keep him in the slot. After all, they have little experince at the safety spots already, along with rookies already getting extended time in the front seven in defensive lineman Jerel Worthy and linebacker Nick Perry.
- One of the bright spots was second year receiver Randall Cobb, who became a big target for Rodgers in the game, leading the team in receptions and was second in receiving yards while also scoring on a 75 yard punt return to put the Packers back in the game in the second half. Cobb will defintely see more time on the field, and at the expense of the Packer running backs and longtime veteran Donald Driver, who had no catches and was targeted zero times.
- Aaron Rodgers did not play his best game at all, and was unable to get into any kind of real rhythm with no kind of deep passing game. Rodgers also does not need to be the leading rusher with 27 yards on five carries.
- The running game needs to become a little bit more of a threat, and San Francisco is a tough team to run against, and are balanced on all three levels of defense. That's what happens when you return all 11 starters on offense.
- The San Francisco offense seems to have defintely made that jump, with Alex Smith near perfect, boasting a passer rating of 125.6 and the addition of players like Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in the receiving corps. Tight end Vernon Davis is as dangerous as ever.