Bears

Chicago Bears aren’t reading too much into Green Bay Packers’ Week 1 struggles

Velus Jones Jr. sits out practice Thursday

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers passes during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Minneapolis.

LAKE FOREST – The Packers scored seven points in their season debut Sunday. After the 23-7 season-opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings, quarterback Aaron Rodgers joked that his team scored four more points than it did in its season opener a year ago.

Last year, the Packers lost their opener, 38-3, against the New Orleans Saints. It was not, however, a sign of things to come. They went on to finish 13-4 and earn the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.

Week 1 of the NFL season creates more overreactions than any other week. The sample size for all 32 teams remains small. That’s why Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams is not falling for anything.

“Don’t buy into that,” Williams said. “I remember last year watching TV, the media was crucifying [Rodgers]. They were crucifying the team. They were saying they were done.”

Rodgers was, notably, not done. He won his second consecutive MVP award.

Last week’s struggles happened for a variety of reasons. The Packers are banged up on the offensive line. Tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, plus guard Jon Runyan, have been limited by injuries. Top receiver Allen Lazard did not play in Week 1 because of an injury.

Combine that with several drops and miscommunications between the QB and his receivers, plus a goal-line stand by the Vikings’ defense that easily could’ve gone the other way, and it all adds up to an offense that has some potential but has to execute better.

That’s why Williams is paying so little attention to the struggles up north.

“Our job is to not worry about what’s going on with them,” Williams said. “Our job is to make sure that we’re improving each week and worry more about ourselves than what may be happening in Green Bay.”

What’s happening in Chicago is that the Bears are heading into Lambeau Field on Sunday night with two rookie defensive backs in the starting lineup. In the past, that’s the type of situation that a quarterback such as Rodgers likes to exploit.

Safety Jaquan Brisker impressed during his debut last week. He had a fumble recovery in the first quarter. Cornerback Kyler Gordon had one miscue in coverage but otherwise had a solid game. They both played 100% of defensive snaps for the Bears.

Good NFL quarterbacks pick on a secondary’s weakest link. In this case, that’s the relatively untested rookies and third-year corner Kindle Vildor, who serves as the fifth defensive back in sub-packages.

“I’ve been watching him for a while, just watching football growing up and stuff like that,” Gordon said of Rodgers. “Just kind of game planning and getting into the film to be able to know who I’m going against. I’m excited.”

Additionally, the game will be under the bright lights of “Sunday Night Football.” The entire NFL world will be watching.

“It’s different in the way that it’s Sunday night – lots of media, lots of attention – but it’s still football,” Williams said. “So our job is to really stay the course, stay focused, execute, alignment, assignment, key and technique, and focus more about that than what the surrounding atmosphere is during the ballgame.”

Injury report: Rookie receiver Velus Jones Jr. appears to be dealing with a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. Jones had returned to practice Wednesday after sitting out last week. On Thursday, however, he again was sidelined.

Jones, speaking with members of the media Wednesday, had been hopeful that he might be trending toward playing this week.

Fullback Khari Blasingame missed practice because of a personal reason Thursday. Tackle Riley Reiff (shoulder) returned to full participation in practice.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.