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Closing The Book on Green Bay: Seahawks 36 Packers 16

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An auspicious beginning with plenty of room for improvement.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

I feel almost duty bound to say that Aaron Rodgers is totally dat dude. There are not enough superlatives. I'm still a little jaw-dropped about that throw across his body back to the middle of the field that Maxwell defensed.

Anyway, onto the Seahawks...

***

Offensive Line

This offensive line is going to be fast and powerful.

As I re-watched the game, Russell Okung held up fine. James Carpenter was out there beasting people. He has done it for a few plays here and there against stouter defensive linemen in the NFC West. This time he was dominant all night. On the right side, Justin Britt and J.R. Sweezy played well overall. They consistently got to the second level and did damage. They also took advantage of Julius Peppers' inexperience as an OLB at least as much as the other way around.

The line drew few penalty flags, including no false starts. That's with a rookie starter at RT. And speaking of Britt, I'd say he played as well as we could expect Giacomini to have played. That doesn't mean he's as good as Giaco after one game. It just means that Britt cleared a significant early career hurdle.

Now, I don't want to get carried away. Green Bay's defensive front is a pretty low hurdle, even for a rookie RT. The Packers could not force Seattle's offensive line into straight drop backs, which are its Achilles heel. Still, it'd take some pathological pessimism not to be encouraged by the line's performance.

One side note on the "pop pass." Expect the league to more strictly police offensive linemen straying downfield on those kinds of plays. On that play, C Max Unger went to the second level to get the LB--precisely his responsibility--but the NFL only allows for linemen to stray one yard past the LOS (as I understand it). I wonder if NFL teams will ultimately have to remove the "read" element and either throw it to the player or throw it out of bounds.

Special Teams

I'm not entirely down on Earl Thomas returning punts, but his inexperience showed. Thomas is aggressive fielding punts, but I wonder if he thought he should get a "halo" to field the punt he muffed. He emerged from the pile gesturing to the official in a manner that made me think he was asking for a flag. However, Richard Sherman (who deserved a flag for holding) blocked Davon House into the muff.

It was not a good look.

It is worth saying, however, that Pete wants the potential for explosive plays on return units. He has always played starters on return and coverage teams. He doesn't see it as a waste, and for him that's a matter of settled law. I think Pete will give ET some rope, but not if he repeats the same mistake.

Defense

What do you say about that performance? That was an unbelievable performance in the aggregate.

That said, I'm filing a missing person's report for K.J. Wright.

Jeremy Lane's loss is significant. New DB Marcus Burley played well, but Lane is critical to punt coverage too.

Kevin Williams played a decent game, but that's it really. Ditto, Jordan Hill. For all the talk of GB's rookie center, he held up quite well against our interior. Some of that is Rodgers getting the ball out of his hand and sliding.

Bruce Irvin played well at DE and flashed increased strength. He got close on Aaron Rodgers' throw that I referenced earlier. He drew a holding flag too. That was encouraging. The next step for him is to develop hand play to get himself off blocks.