The Green Bay Packers had a lot to be excited about following their Week 1 victory over the Chicago Bears. They not only won the game in dominating fashion 38-20 but received contributions from players up and down the roster.
Arguably the most encouraging development was the performance of the Packers’ rookies. Green Bay’s rookie class played a major role in the team’s success on Sunday afternoon in every facet of the game.
“I was really proud of our young guys,” head coach Matt LaFleuer said following the game. “I’m not quite sure how many rookies we had out there today, but there were a lot of them…That rookie class has got just, they love ball.”
There were a number of highlights made, especially on the defensive side of the ball. First-round pick Lukas Van Ness recorded his first career sack, showcasing his elite athleticism with a chasedown of Justin Fields.
Van Ness was active throughout the afternoon, recording four hurries in addition to the sack on 24 pass-rushing snaps. Karl Brooks was on the field for 20 pass rushes and had one sack with two hurries, while Colby Wooden had four hurries, tied for second on the team.
On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Jayden Reed and tight end Luke Musgrave were involved early and often. Some of that was out of necessity with wide receiver Christian Watson out and Romeo Doubs limited, but they are going to be involved heavily throughout the season.
Musgrave had three receptions for 50 yards but could have had an even bigger day. Jordan Love slightly overthrew him once on what would have been a big gain and Musgrave was unable to stay on his feet during a broken play in which he would have waltzed into the endzone.
Arguably the most impressive performance was as a run blocker. He had a key block to keep the Packers’ opening drive alive on a third-down run by Aaron Jones. Musgrave earned a respectable 67.3 run-blocking grade on 19 plays.
Reed caught two passes for 48 yards and had a big 35-yard punt return that set the Packers up on a short field. Love took advantage, throwing a touchdown to Jones.
Speaking of special teams, kicker Anders Carlson deserves a shoutout as well. He had an up-and-down training camp and preseason but was perfect in Week 1.
He nailed a 52-yard attempt and was a perfect 5-for-5 on extra points. That is one way to build confidence as a rookie following a tumultuous at times offseason.