While Levi’s Stadium might not be viewed as the NFL’s most hostile environment for visiting teams, this will mark the first time the Packers have played a true road game with genuine, in-person crowd noise from a stadium full of fans since their victory at Detroit on Dec. 29, 2019, in the regular-season finale of Matt LaFleur’s first year as head coach.
And that’s … a good thing?
“Yeah, it’ll feel good,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said — knowing full well that it’ll make his job harder, potentially requiring him to go to a silent count at the line of scrimmage. “It’ll feel like normal football and being able to have a crowd to deal with and the environment. It makes things tougher communication wise, for sure, but it also makes things tougher on the defense as well to get their calls in because of the crowd noise.
“We’re going to have to do a good job of handling it with our young guys up front, but that’s what we’ve been working on the last, I’d say month of camp and the first two weeks of the season is silent count and being ready to adjust to that noise. And we’ll be ready.”
Those training-camp preparations were with the expectation that the offense would be dealing with a noisy Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, but the aftermath of Hurricane Ida shifted that game against the Saints to Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field, where Packers fans outnumbered Saints fans 10 to 1. (A lot of good it did the Packers, who lost, 38-3.)
Now, the 49ers and their fearsome front four could take advantage of the noise against a Packers’ in-flux offensive line that will likely be missing left tackle Elgton Jenkins.
“When you look at their edge rushers, the way they’re able to get pressure on the quarterback, it’s going to be very important for us on the outside to make sure we’re winning our one-on-one battles and continue to move the sticks and put us in positions to find a way to win a game,” wide receiver Randall Cobb said. “We’re going into a hostile environment, having fans. Obviously playing in Jacksonville is a little different than playing in New Orleans.
“It’s going to be a test for us, being able to understand the importance of communication and making sure we’re in tune with the game plan.”