GREEN BAY – It wasn’t a fun day in the offensive film room, but the Packers focused on making it a productive one.
Both Head Coach Mike McCarthy and Offensive Coordinator Edgar Bennett referred to numerous mental mistakes the Packers made on offense in their victory over the Rams on Sunday.
Errors of that nature – involving assignments or adjustments – are never welcome, but they’re even harder to overcome against a top-flight defense, like the one St. Louis brought to Lambeau Field.
“Offensively, we weren’t as sharp mentally as we needed to be,” McCarthy said on Monday. “That was A-number one in the corrections in the offensive room.”
McCarthy referred to it as a “healthy” day to review some of the struggles. The Rams held the Packers offense to 17 points and generated three turnovers. They also limited Green Bay’s running game, which came in ranked third in the league, to 86 yards and 3.2 yards per rush.
“Most of the day they were getting an extra guy down there to help in the run, a lot of times one more than we could block with the personnel groups we had in there,” Associate Head Coach and play-caller Tom Clements said. “They had a good plan for us and they executed it.”
Part of that plan was to throw a hefty dose of press coverage at Green Bay’s receivers. The Rams were physical at the line of scrimmage, and Bennett conceded the receivers needed to do a better job beating that style of play, particularly on the snaps Randall Cobb was getting double-teamed in the slot.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was able to hit two big plays for touchdowns to Ty Montgomery and James Jones, but no other drives on the day netted more than 40 yards.
“We have to win our one-on-one battles,” Bennett said. “If they’re doubling Randall, then obviously someone else is singled up and we need to make the most of that opportunity.”
It would help the receiving corps to get Davante Adams back from his ankle injury, but his return remains uncertain. Other than the first series against the Chiefs in Week 3, Adams has missed the last three games.
“I’m just trying to be smart with it, feel it out, day in and day out, keep treating it and keep getting it right,” Adams said on Monday. “I don’t want to rush like I did coming back for Kansas City and re-aggravate it. Maybe after the bye, maybe this week. We’re just going to see.”
There was no definitive update on right guard T.J. Lang either, though Lang tweeted that his knee injury isn’t serious. What that means for this week isn’t known.
First-year pro Josh Walker took the majority of snaps at right guard after Lang exited, and the reviews of his game were mostly positive.
“I felt good after watching tape,” Walker said. “I thought I came out a little flat that first series, but I came out after halftime and settled down.
“I played a lot of tackle in the preseason, but I’ve been a guard my whole life, so I felt at home out there.”
Special teams had an up-and-down day as well, as Jeff Janis failed to down a punt inside the 5-yard line, the Rams completed a pass on a fake punt for a first down, and Richard Rodgers was flagged for a hands-to-the-face penalty that wiped out a Mason Crosby field goal.
“We had it covered,” Special Teams Coordinator Ron Zook said of the fake punt, which he predicted during the week that the Rams would try. It worked when cornerback Demetri Goodson fell down in coverage and the punter’s desperation pass got through.
“It was a Hail Mary. He slipped. It’s a rub of the green. You just have to keep playing.”
On the flip side, Datone Jones blocked a field goal for his third career blocked kick, and Tim Masthay’s excellent ball placement plus the coverage limited Rams punt returner Tavon Austin to just four yards on two returns.
Zook was proud of the fact that Austin came into the game as the No. 1-ranked punt returner in the league and left as No. 3.
“That’s a guy that anytime he touches the football he can take it to the house,” Zook said. “That’s why he led the National Football League until he played us.”
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