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I couldn’t narrow the good down to one specific entity, so I went with the two things that have made me most happy so far.
First of all, I love head coach Mike McCarthy’s newfound creativity and guts. He has traditionally been a conservative coach, but somewhere deep inside his brain, a switch has flipped.
Since he became head coach of Green Bay in 2006, I can’t remember off the top of my head any fake field goals or punts. The only major gamble that comes to mind is the Jan. 10, 2010 playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, when he successfully converted a surprise onside kick in the third quarter.
But through four games this year, the Packers already scored a touchdown off a fake field against the Chicago Bears in Week 2 and converted on a fourth-and-one because of a fake punt against the Saints on Sunday.
Both plays resulted in eventual touchdowns, and the Packers won both games.
McCarthy displayed more aggressiveness in the win over the Saints when he decided to put the ball in Aaron Rodgers’ hands to convert the final first down. He could have run the ball one more time, ensuring that, at minimum, New Orleans received the ball with about 1:20 to go with no timeouts.
Instead, McCarthy trusted his best player, and Rodgers converted an amazing pass to Jones, who made an ever better catch and sealed victory for the Packers.
The pass defense also needs to be highly commended.
Last year, Green Bay gave up more passing yards than any other team ever had in the history of the NFL.
It was the one constant thorn in the side of the 2011 Green Bay Packers.
This year, however, the pass defense has turned into a strength.
Before facing the Saints, the Packers ranked first in the league in both passing yards allowed per game and sacks per passing play.
Those rankings are likely to drop, now that New Orleans passed for 429 yards and only surrendered two sacks to Green Bay. But it’s nothing to be ashamed about, considering it happened against one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Drew Brees, and he had to throw 54 passes to obtain his stats.
The Packers don’t face another elite passer until Week 11, when they travel to Detroit to face Matthew Stafford and the Lions. Expect the pass defense numbers to slowly creep back up from now until then.