“Hopefully we come out like we were shot out of a cannon Week 1,” Adams said before the opener against the Chicago Bears.
But Aaron Rodgers cautioned last week that it might take the Packers a little longer to find a groove in the new system.
It turns out Rodgers was right.
There was no cannonball — only a thud with minus-12 yards of offense in the first quarter before Green Bay finally salvaged enough for a 10-3 victory over Chicago.
While Rodgers said Wednesday that it wasn’t as bad as it looked, that doesn’t mean he and his offensive teammates were happy about it.
“There’s nowhere [to go] but up,” said Adams when asked where the offense can go after the opening performance that included just 2-of-12 in third-down conversions.
Part of the solution might be to get Adams the ball more, as Rodgers suggested after the game. The Pro Bowl receiver caught just 4 passes for 36 yards and was a focus of the Bears’ defensive game plan.
“I guess I came out and – not jumped the gun – but I was a little optimistic I guess you could say,” Adams said. “I don’t even like to use optimistic because that sounds like there’s a panic of some sort, but I was definitely excited for the offense, thought we were going to move the ball a little better than we did.
“But we’ve got plenty of time. I try not to think about that, like we’ve got time because that tends to make people drag their feet. I’m an urgent guy, I like to get better quick and I like to see results fast. We’re going out there and we’re handling things this week in practice to do it and make sure it looks how it needs to look.”
The Packers managed just 213 yards of offense — fewer than only the Dolphins in Week 1 — and rushed for merely 47 yards on 22 attempts for the second-lowest rushing average (2.2) on opening weekend.
“I think it was a lot of that front,” Rodgers said of the Bears’ defense. “It’s a good front. They hold the point really well. They’ve got two great interior guys. Their ‘backers fly around and make some plays. Their secondary is willing tacklers on the outside, too. They did a good job with their front, kind of boxed us in and stopped some things. We had a couple good runs in the second half, but we’ve got to start a little faster. You’d expect to at home without the crowd noise being an issue, so we’ll look at start fast in the run game this week.”
It might not be any easier even at Lambeau Field against a Minnesota Vikings team that has given Rodgers fits in recent years. Rodgers is just 4-4-1 in nine starts since the defensive-minded Mike Zimmer became the Vikings’ coach in 2014. Rodgers missed the second meeting in 2017 and didn’t make it through the first meeting that year because he broke his collarbone. But including both of those games, the Packers haven’t beaten the Vikings since Week 16 of the 2016 season.
While Zimmer told reporters on Wednesday that “it’s a sleepless week for me” preparing for Rodgers, the Packers have plenty to keep them up at night. Both Rodgers and LaFleur said they need to increase their tempo on offense to keep defenses off balance. For Rodgers, that means getting out of the huddle more quickly.
“We do have some long calls in the plan — that’s just the way the offense is,” Rodgers said. “There’s a number of checks for different plays. It’s getting that call in and repeating it and going out there and trying to execute as quickly as possible. The great thing about this offense and the communication is we had a great debrief Monday and Tuesday about everything. We made some subtle changes to hopefully help with some of that tempo.”