Wounded Lions brace for revved up Rodgers, Packers
Aaron Rodgers sent a clear message during Green Bay’s season opener: the Packers are going to be just fine, and there is no vacancy at quarterback.
His redemption mission resumes in the Packers’ home opener Sunday against the Detroit Lions, who blew a 23-6 lead and lost at home to the Chicago Bears last week to open the season.
Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, passed for 364 yards and placed Green Bay atop the NFC North standings in Green Bay’s dominant win at Minnesota in Week 1.
This week Rodgers gets a chance to carve up the Lions’ banged up secondary at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
“There’s a lot of things that I’ve tried to do in the offseason, just to have a little extra efficiency,” he said. “When it comes down to quarterback play, it’s all about the rhythm and the timing and the balance. I feel like those three were pretty solid on Sunday and the accuracy followed.”
The Packers surprised plenty when they selected Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with their first-round draft pick in April.
Rodgers has traditionally picked on the Lions’ defense. He’s 15-5 in 20 career starts against them with 41 passing touchdowns, as well as three rushing touchdowns, compared to just eight interceptions.
Perhaps with a little more motivation following the draft, Rodgers was determined to come out strong this season.
Not surprisingly, Davante Adams was Rodgers’ preferred target. The Packers’ No. 1 receiver caught 14 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Rodgers knew Adams would be a special player shortly after the Packers drafted him in the second round in 2014.
“He had confidence – real confidence,” Rodgers said. “Some guys step on the field and believe they’re the best player on the field. A lot of it is bravado and false confidence, kind of a rebuttal to the insecurity they feel about maybe their own abilities to perform at this level. There’s been a few guys over the years who’ve had real confidence. Davante Adams has since he got here.”
Swagger might not be as plentiful in the Lions’ locker room. They squandered a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead to Chicago in their opener, a 27-23 defeat.
After giving up 21 unanswered points, the Lions could have saved face in their final drive but rookie D’Andre Swift dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass.
The secondary is already facing a challenge even before gameday. Multiple cornerbacks are down with hamstring injuries. Justin Coleman was placed on the injured list on Monday with a balky hamstring. Desmond Trufant (hamstring) and Darryl Roberts (calf) sat out Wednesday’s practice.
If they can’t go, rookie Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye and Tony McRae would be the Lions’ top three cornerbacks. Okudah sat out Week 1 with his own hamstring problem, but was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice.
“We try to cross-train a lot of guys on our team and certainly in the secondary,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “Obviously, with corners and safeties, we know that there’s going to be some cross-training packages that we can have with that and have those positions backed up. That’s one way to (deal with injuries), and we obviously have other players on our team that if there’s an emergency situation, we can move over to there.”
One positive from Sunday’s defeat was the Lions’ debut of veteran running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 93 yards. He’s in a three-man committee with Swift and Kerryon Johnson.
“We like all three of those guys, obviously,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “They all bring a little bit different pieces to the puzzle.”
Top wide receiver Kenny Golladay missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and sat out Wednesday’s practice. Green Bay’s main injury concern is nose tackle Kenny Clark (groin). The Packers lost starting right guard Lane Taylor for the season in Week 1 to a season-ending knee injury.
–Field Level Media