Getting the offense going will be the top priority heading into Week 2. Soldier Field was raucous and the Bears continue to sport one of the league’s top defenses, but LaFleur continues to say the standards and expectations “don’t change,” and the offensive performance didn’t meet them in the opener.
A greater commitment to the run game, which started to find some creases later in the evening, and harping on the urgency to get in and out of the huddle are two starting points for LaFleur. Too often the play clock was running down, resulting in a last-second snap, timeout or delay-of-game penalty.
“It speaks to the fact that we want to be able to operate at the line of scrimmage, and that’s why it’s important to get out of the huddle,” he said.
The Packers’ other two phases were on point pretty much the entire game. After reviewing the film, LaFleur felt the defense was “fast and aggressive,” with sound tackling and players “flying around.”
Navigating the game with Blake Martinez as the lone inside linebacker worked with the Packers playing a five-man front much of the game. Rather than categorize Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith as outside linebackers, LaFleur considers them pass rushers and therefore “bigs” in the defensive front, mitigating the need for another traditional linebacker next to Martinez.
The special teams star was punter JK Scott, whose game was labeled both outstanding and consistent. Scott put five of nine punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged a robust 43.6-yard net, topping Chicago veteran Pat O’Donnell’s strong night of his own (3-of-8 inside the 20, 42.5 net).