Bears scouting report: What to expect from the Packers in week two

As we turn the page from Weeks 1-2 in the NFL, it’s time to start looking at the bears next opponent, Green Bay Packers. The Bears obviously know a lot about the Packers, so it’s a very familiar game. However, there have been enough changes to Team Up North to add new wrinkles to Sunday’s game. Here’s an initial look at what to expect from the Packers, on offense and defense.

PACKER OFFENSE

Any discussion of the Packers offense has to start with Aaron Rodgers. There were questions about how Rodgers would perform this season without Davante Adams and several new wide receivers around him. In Week 1, Rodgers struggled. The Vikings were able to get consistent pressure on Rodgers, and he didn’t seem to have the rapport with his targets that we’ve come to see over the years. Still, it’s too early to say that Rodgers is washed up. He’s still a future Hall of Fame QB, and he still gets the benefit of the doubt against the Bears.

Rodgers isn’t the only problem though. The Packers also boast two incredibly talented running backs in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, and the pair represent thunder and lightning. Jones is quick and agile. Dillon, a bruising bruiser, would be defenders for extra yards. Each man has proven to be a capable pass catcher. Suppressing the Packers’ rushing attack will be a handful.

Still, there are some weaknesses in Green Bay’s offense. With the help of David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins out in Week 1, the Packers overhauled their offensive line and the Vikings were able to match Rodgers early and often. The Bears were able to create pressure against much stronger competition in Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey. Bakhtiari and Jenkins returned to practice on Wednesday as they recovered from ACL injuries. If either can’t go this week, or if they’re not 100% in their returns, the Bears should be able to generate pressure on Rodgers again.

Finally, there are pass catchers. With Adams gone, the Packers are relying on both new and old faces. Allen Lazard missed Week 1 with an ankle injury but returned to practice Wednesday. Rodgers’ old friend Randall Cobb returned to Green Bay last season, but didn’t make much of an impact in his second stint with the team. Neither did newcomer Sammy Watkins. Then there are a couple of rookies, Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson. Doubs led all Packers receivers with four catches for 37 yards and appeared to have Rodgers’ most confidence. Watson, meanwhile, has tantalizing size and unteachable speed, but he couldn’t pull off a deep pass on Green Bay’s first offensive play of the game that would have gone for an easy 75-yard score. Rodgers didn’t look back until just 3:57 remained in the game. A big asset with Watson coming out of the draft was his propensity to drop the ball. He had 16 drops during his college career, according to PFF. That was significantly more than his peers. Watson will have to work hard to shake off that reputation.

PACKER DEFENSE

For all the talk of Green Bay having one of the best secondaries in the NFL, Justin Jefferson torched them to the tune of nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Jefferson is one of the most dangerous players in the NFL, so no defense will be able to completely stop him, but the Packers didn’t do themselves any favors either. On one particularly explosive play, there was a huge miscommunication in the backfield, allowing Jefferson to dance into the endzone. After the game, Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander expressed his displeasure to reporters after the game that he didn’t get a chance to follow Jefferson, so he might follow Darnell Mooney around the field in Week 2. There’s a good chance the Packers can clean up their mistakes in the secondary with experienced players like Alexander, Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, as well as rising star Eric Stokes. Regardless, the Bears’ passing attack faces a major challenge in the Packers’ secondary, despite what last week’s result in Minnesota suggests.

Things don’t get any easier for the Bears on offense. Kenny Clark anchors the middle of their defensive line as a tackler who disrupts the interior of any offensive line. Last season, Clark had two sacks, six hurries and five QB hits in his two games against the Bears. He presents a big test for players like Sam Mustipher and Teven Jenkins. Preston Smith and Rashan Gary are also dangerous in the outfield. The pair combined for 18.5 sacks last season. Both Larry Borom and Braxton Jones have struggled at times with the 49ers’ talented pass rush and will not have relief this week.

In the middle, the Packers have two talented inside linebackers. De’Vondre Campbell joined the team last year and made an immediate impact, leading the defense with 145 tackles and just four missed tackles. In addition, he had two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. For his efforts, Campbell was named first-team All-Pro. Alongside him is 2022 first-round pick Quay Walker. The rookie made an immediate impact in Week 1, ranking second on the team with eight tackles, despite leaving the game early with a shoulder injury. Walker participated fully in Wednesday’s practice, so it appears he is on track to return against the Bears.

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