It’s easy to forget, given how good they’ve looked for most of the first two games of the NFL season, just how young the Packers are, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Consider that three of the team’s four leading receivers against Atlanta in Week 2—Dontayvion Wicks, Jaylen Reed and Luke Musgrave—were all collegians at this time last year, in just their second career NFL games.
The inexperience is made worse by the absence of veteran left tackle David Bakhtiari, who was out on Sunday with his persistent knee injury, and Elgton Jenkins, who left the game with what is believed to be a sprained MCL.
Most of the offensive players on the Packers have not experienced the disappointment of a loss like the 25-24 defeat suffered at the hands of Atlanta on Sunday, a game that Green Bay led, 24-12, heading into the fourth quarter before allowing 13 unanswered points.
Packers Rashan Gary has a bit of a warning for the youngsters on the team, ones who have not experienced this kind of L: Get ready, because next week at practice will not be fun.
“The message for the young guys is to watch how the vets work and watch how they attack this week. They gonna find out,” Gary said in the postgame locker room on Sunday.
Gary Not Panicking Over Week 2 Loss
Still, Gary was hardly panicking over the faulty execution that cost the Packers time and again in Atlanta. There’s 16 weeks ahead of us and the Packers’ division, the NFC North, appears to be a wide-open affair in which 10-7 might be good enough to win it.
The Packers and Lions are both 1-1, while the Bears and Vikings are now 0-2.
“What week is this?” Gary saked. “Week 2? We got so much football to be played. At the end of the day, we have got to be critical of ourselves in all three phases and come back next week, at home and show out. That’s it. Put together what we know, and play good, that’s it.”
Quarterback Jordan Love was visibly ticked off in the interview room after the game, knowing his team had let one slip away. But Love has been around for three years, so he knows that players will be expected to push a bit harder coming off a loss. He was unhappy with his team’s execution.
“It’s definitely something we expect to get right. We had a chance to win that game and I think we hurt ourselves more than anything, we lost it for ourselves. But it’s definitely something, we expect to execute in those situations, we are up by 12 points. We just gotta find a way to get that win.
‘We Can All Learn From This’
Another veteran, running back A.J. Dillon, echoed what Gary said—that LaFleur expects players, young and old alike, to be their own harshest critic.
“Being as close as we were, we can all learn from this,” Dillon said. “Coach LaFleur was saying if everybody goes back and is critical of themselves, everybody gets that one play better, we come back and we win these games. It’s a good learning experience, myself included. Gonna go, get back tomorrow, watch the tape, figure out how we can improve, how I can improve and go forward.”