Green Bay – Justin Jefferson had eight receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Adam Thielen had eight receptions for 82 yards and touchdowns. Packers Green Bay? They had a game tape to learn from next time.
When the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Packers 34-31 in their first two games last season, it was with a solid offensive tackle. The Packers won Game Two in December, but the November loss was a lesson 10 months later as Green Bay prepares to open its season against its division rival on Sunday.
On Monday, Messenger Douglas said of the November 2021 game: “We had so many chances to win the match. I had one on the way back, Savage (Darnell Savage) made two choices.”
Douglas said both Jefferson and Tillen secondarily burned the Lakers in that game, in large part due to poor communication.
He said, “We weren’t defensive, we didn’t communicate. There were a few plays where Justin Jefferson ran a path and the safety and corner were on Tylen and Justin Jefferson was wide open. They didn’t communicate and tell each other who was guarding who. It’s little things like you can’t do.”
“Another goal, Tylen scored. It was supposed to be a certain coverage where we were supposed to be outside and he got caught how (Kevin King) is inside and (Tylenn) executed it and scored. Very small things, we didn’t communicate well on our calls and how we’re going to play things out. .
“We all watched (the tape), like, we can’t make those mistakes again.”
Some of these bugs will work normally, thanks to the corner unit having the time, experience, and chemistry together.
“We’ve all been playing with each other now, so we’re kind of starting to see things as we’re supposed to see them,” Douglas said.
However, Jefferson and Tillene are just two parts of a three-headed monster. The front seven was tasked with closing the dash unit commanded by Dalvin Cook. The defense was able to stifle Cook in the rematch of the 2021 season, helped in part by quarterback Kirk Cousins’ exit with COVID-19 and the Packers’ willingness to allow backup, Sean Manion, to attempt a passing attack.
But Cook had 22 holders for 86 touchdown yards and 115 total yards, which is a reminder of the danger he can pose on an ill-equipped defense. So, as the Packers begin their prep work for the Vikings this week, they’ll be highlighting the parts of Cook that could spoil the game’s plan.
Quarterback De’Vondre Campbell said: “He’s a full back run. There aren’t a lot of weaknesses in his game and that always makes it kinda tough, you know some guys, you know their speed, their strength etc. It’s like he has a full kit. It’s one of the things he can do. And that makes it more difficult for us as a defense to prepare for him, especially with his new attack.
“He has elite speed, elite strength, change of direction. There’s not much he can’t do…it just comes down to who he wants the most when you’re dealing with a player like that. He can do everything so you just have to read your keys and play the ball.”
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Packers will use Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays to plan a game for their familiar enemy. With the division game kicking off early in the season, a vaunted Green Bay defense will get an early test of their talent (Kevin O’Connell) and a new offensive coordinator (Wes Phillips) in Minneapolis.
With November 2021 errors still being logged, one of only three losses in the Packers’ regular season, a plan for what to do right seems clear.
“They’ve got some really talented players, you know, even as a quarterback,” Campbell said. “Kirk Cousins is a good midfielder and knows how to get the ball out of his hands quickly, so it’s going to be a tough challenge. Like I said, especially with the new attack, we don’t really know.” What to expect. So we just have to go out and read our keys and play ball.”
“It’s definitely going to be a good start,” Douglas said. “I’ll be really good at it.”