Last year, the Detroit Lions successfully neutralized Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 6. Though his final statline reads 442 yard and three touchdowns, Rodgers only completed 63 percent of his passes, was sacked four times, lost two fumbles and was held scoreless in the first half of the game, as Detroit built a 24-0 lead.
But Lions head coach Matt Patricia isn’t using that successful gameplan as a source of confidence this week as the Lions prepare for their first division matchup with the Packers on “Monday Night Football.”
“It probably makes me more nervous if anything, to be honest with you,” Patricia said during his Tuesday teleconference. “Just knowing what a competitor he is. So, from my standpoint, it’s all about preparing to get ready this year and the things they are doing this year.”
One of the things the Packers are doing this year is implementing a new offense. With new head coach Matt LaFleur at the helm, the Packers have focused a little more on the running game. They’re averaging 25.4 rushing attempts per game (17th) as compared to just 20.8 last year (32nd).
LaFleur is using a lot of the same pre-snap motions and run schemes that have helped Kyle Shanahan—one of his former co-workers—build a lethal rushing attack in San Francisco. While the Packers running game is off to a bit of a slower start than that—they’re averaging just 3.7 yards per carry this year—they’ve shown some steady improvement week-to-week, and Aaron Jones is coming off a big game in Dallas. Jones rushed for 107 yards on just 19 carries and found the end zone four times.
“A guy like Aaron Jones just has great, explosive power and burst and balance,” Patricia said.
Still, Patricia knows a guy like Rodgers is one of the biggest headaches for defensive coaches.
“When you’re staring across the line of scrimmage at Aaron Rodgers, you know you’ve got a long day of work in front of you.”