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Grading the Packers: Offense, defense, coaching get failing marks after loss to the Saints

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Saints running back Alvin Kamara makes a catch and is stopped by Packers outside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell during the first half of Green Bay's 38-3 season-opening loss to New Orleans on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. Kamara led the Saints in rushing with 83 yards on 20 carries. 

Jim Polzin grades the Green Bay Packers’ performance Sunday afternoon in their 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

Offense: F

Aaron Rodgers registered a 36.8 passer rating, his fourth-lowest in a game he started during his long career. After a promising start to the Packers’ second series of the game, Rodgers took a sack for an 11-yard loss on first down. Defensive end Marcus Davenport closed quickly, but Rodgers needs to throw the ball away in that situation. He made an even worse decision on the opening drive of the second half, throwing a pick in the red zone to end a promising drive with the Packers down by two touchdowns. Rodgers didn’t throw an interception until Week 6 in 2020. Rodgers was under heavy pressure at times but said after the game that he thought the offensive line played fine.

Defense: F

Joe Barry’s debut as the team’s defensive coordinator was a disaster. New Orleans lined up and ran straight at the Packers, whose defensive front got pushed back over and over. New Orleans’ first three drives of the game included a combined 39 plays for 208 yards and took nearly 22 minutes off the clock. It was men-against-boys stuff and set the tone for the entire game. More importantly, it kept Rodgers and Co. off the field and never let the Packers build a rhythm.

Special teams: C

Corey Bojorquez was OK with a net average of 40.8 yards on four punts in his Green Bay debut. Mason Crosby provided the Packers’ only scoring with a 39-yard field goal leading into halftime.

Coaching: F

Packers coach Matt LaFleur chose to rest almost all of his starters for the three preseason games. Whether or not that led to his team coming out flat on both sides of the ball can be debated, but even he said afterward that it’s something that is fair to question based on how his team played in the opener. Actually, LaFleur took blame for a lot of things in his postgame news conference. That accountability is good to hear but doesn’t change the fact that he failed in his job Sunday. So did Barry, whose defense was rotten.

Overall: F

There are poor performances in which one side of the ball doesn’t carry its weight and it leads to a blowout defeat. But this ugly across the board for the Packers, who should be humiliated after entering the season with enormous expectations.

Contact Jim Polzin at


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