The big lesson from the start of the Green Bay Packers season: have confidence

As the schedule turns to October, we are quickly approaching the quarterback of the NFL season and can begin to assess exactly who the 2021 Green Bay Packers are.

After a tumultuous offseason that culminated with Aaron Rodgers ‘triumphant return to Green Bay on the eve of training camp, it seemed like all was quiet and the Packers’ Super Bowl train was back on track and ready to cross the NFC. The drama was over, the focus was on football again and everything was back to normal.

Then the season started.

The Packers weren’t just beaten by the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, they were humiliated. Joe Barry’s debut as a defensive coordinator was an abject disaster and even Rodgers was angry for appearing disinterested in the game. The overreactions were predictable.

Losing the first game of the season isn’t usually a reason to panic, but when you’re the Green Bay Packers and potentially all-in on Rodgers last season, the panic button is a lot more tempting to hit. . It is also not about criticizing anyone who had concerns after this loss, as critical thoughts are valid and legitimate. No one saw the train wreck coming.

Even though it was after week 1, all was not lost. It was after this loss that the Packers began to teach their fans and outside observers a simple lesson: have faith.

With the supposedly apathetic Detroit Lions on the schedule the following Monday night, the idea was that Green Bay would use it as a “decent” game to knock out the rust since most starters missed the preseason and needed time to get back on track. The Lions represented the perfect opportunity to make this happen.

So we thought, at least at first.

The defense continued to look lost at first, as Jared Goff looked like an All-Pro and took Detroit straight onto the field for a 7-0 lead. Thankfully, Green Bay’s offense was up to the task, tying the game in their first practice. Sadly, the defense didn’t help much in that first half and Detroit had a surprising 17-14 lead at halftime.

With a set and a half of evidence in their memory banks, calls were already coming in for Barry’s work. His background as a coordinator didn’t inspire much confidence when he was hired, and it looked more like the same, even with his time in Green Bay still in its infancy. It looked like the defense was going to be historically bad even if the offense was showing signs of life.

It is then that this lesson in having faith resurfaces.

The defense threw a shutout in the second half as the offense finally started to kick in and the Packers took the lead. They never looked back on their way to a 35-17 victory. The second-half shutout was welcome, but there was already a built-in excuse: “oh, it’s just Detroit. San Francisco will have lunch next week.

Let us say it again: “have faith”.

With a defense no one trusted and an offensive line using their third option on the left tackle, expecting the Packers to leave San Francisco at 1-2 was quite reasonable. Add in their recent history on the West Coast and the stage was set for another Packers loss.

Instead, the Green Bay defense threw in what would have been a first-half shutout had it not been for a massive special teams outage in the dying minutes. It was a statement performance against a brilliant offensive spirit in Kyle Shanahan and could serve as a moment where the unit froze and Barry’s plan finally collapsed.

There were some problems in the second half, but sometimes you have to take the hat off to the opponent instead of unilaterally blaming the defense. You don’t keep Shanahan around for a whole game. There was an air of inevitability in the 49ers’ final training, especially in light of some rather questionable refereeing decisions.

The 49ers scored and took the lead, giving the Packers 37 seconds to enter the shooting range. While we’ve all seen Rodgers pull a rabbit out of his hat on several occasions, against a team like San Francisco a comeback would be a steep mountain to climb.

Once again, the team delivered the “have faith” lesson one last time and the Packers made this craggy mountain look like an anthill.

Two brilliant Rodgers-to-Adams throws (particularly impressive considering Adams was knocked out of the game earlier when 49ers safety Jimmie Ward appeared to lead with the crown of his helmet) allowed the Packers to scotch the ball for a basket of Crosby. The Packers win 30-28 and suddenly everything is fine again at Green Bay.

That’s why “faith” is the keyword for them three weeks after the start of the regular season. In the first week, faith was put to the test when the unexpected happened and the team was humbled. Week 2 saw renewed confidence after another tough start give way to the Packers emerging from the blaze and showing signs of being the team everyone thought they were. Week 3 was rewarded with faith as the Packers stepped out in a game many expected to lose and hit San Francisco in the mouth early and often. The 49ers got their way back and when many thought Green Bay would fold they stood up and found a way to win. It was an iconic victory for the team led by Matt LaFleur and could serve as a springboard for bigger things on the road.

It’s a long season and that faith will no doubt be tested again. The key is, and always will be, to never lose it. The Packers clearly have self-confidence and that will stand them in good stead as adversity arises.

As Cullen Hightower once said, “Faith relies on what you know to be here so that you can achieve what you know to be there. “

The Packers know they have a team capable of winning a Super Bowl. Now they just have to reach out and take what they know they can get.

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About Christopher Taylor

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