With banged up Packers skill group, Matt LaFleur must be the star of Week 2
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Star receiver out? Just build the offense around Aaron Jones. No problem. We saw the Green Bay Packers do it in Week 1 to the tune of 31 points.
What about when Jones can’t go either? Well, just let Aaron Rodgers paper over everything and -- wait, the Pack can’t do that this year?
Jordan Love showed impeccable poise on third and fourth down. But if he’s not ready to carry this team without its two most dynamic playmakers, it’s up to Matt LaFleur to carry this offense to a win in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Week 2.
When Jones rushed for 24 yards on five carries to start the game for the Packers on an opening-drive touchdown, Green Bay’s offense looked to be humming to the predicted tune. Last week, I wrote about LaFleur leaning on his star running back in situations without Davante Adams. With Christian Watson hurt, it followed the Packers would take a similar tact.
Then, of course, LaFleur forgot to get the ball to Jones much prior to halftime before leaning on him for the majority of the second half during Green Bay’s offensive explosion. The 51-yard throwback screen to set up a touchdown for a double-digit lead the Packers never relinquished may have worked with just about any running back, but Jones turned it into an enormous play. Then, on fourth-and-3 in Chicago Bears territory, Jones cooked linebacker T.J. Edwards on an angle route for a touchdown that made it all over save for the Chicago fan crying.
On that play though, Jones grabbed for his hamstring, sending a cold chill through the Cheesehead faithful. Jones didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, leaving his availability very much in doubt for the 1-0 Atlanta Falcons. Even if he can play, expect a pitch count, though LaFleur has been known to ignore those in the past.