When the opportunity to converse with insightful editors of other team-oriented sites arises, SeahawkFootball.com will take full advantage. As crazy as it might sound, fans of other NFL teams are just as passionate for their club as the 12s are for the Seahawks. In a new feature we'll call Speaking with the Enemy, we'll share five Questions and Answers with the editors from this week's opponent.
This week, we exchanged questions and answers with Bill Huber, editor of PackerReport.com, Green Bay's affiliate on the Scout network.
Here are my questions and his answers:
1. Chicago wasn't able to get much pressure on Aaron Rodgers in Week 1 but was this an example of a toothless Bears pass rush or has Green Bay's offensive line been this dominant throughout the preseason, as well?
They were this dominant during the second half of last season, when only the Broncos allowed fewer sacks than the Packers. It was a strong debut for a line that didn't get much work together during training camp or the preseason. At one point, four of the five starters were sidelined by injuries. Sunday's game was the first time left tackle David Bakhtiari, left guard Josh Sitton, center Corey Linsley, right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Bryan Bulaga played together since the first week of the preseason. But they were able to do more than get by because they started 17 of 18 games last season. There really isn't a weak link in that bunch.
2. Randall Cobb and Davante Adams were the receivers most expected would have to step up given the loss of Jordy Nelson but it was James Jones who dominated Chicago, despite only recently re-joining Green Bay. Was Jones' big game an aberration or do he and Rodgers have the rapport for for him to become the Packers' primary receiver?
Rodgers for years has said that he throws the ball to whoever's got the best matchup. That probably explains why Rodgers almost never threw the ball at Richard Sherman during their two games last season.
On Sunday, Jones dominated veteran cornerback Alan Ball. Rodgers and Jones spent seven years together in Green Bay, so the rapport remained strong. It probably helped Jones that he spent training camp with the Giants, whose offensive coordinator is former Packers assistant Ben McAdoo. Even with a year in the purgatory known as Oakland, Jones probably has a stronger bond with Rodgers than does Adams, who is in his second season. As long as Cobb is nursing a sprained shoulder, look for Jones to be a focal point of the offense.
3. How did Nate Palmer perform at inside linebacker following the injury to Sam Barrington? Is Palmer expected to take over Barrington's role in making the defensive calls?
Yes, it's Palmer's job in the every-down, signal-calling role. Palmer did OK against the Bears. His coverage was shaky at times - though Matt Forte will do that to a lot of linebackers - and some of his run fits needed improvement. Still, it wasn't a bad debut for a guy who played outside linebacker as a rookie in 2013 and spent all of last season on injured reserve with a knee injury.
At 6-foot-2 and 248 pounds, he's got nice size for the position. I'd like him a lot more facing Seattle if he had the full use of two hands. He spent most of training camp with a club cast on a hand. He's shed the cast but he's still wearing a splint. Marshawn Lynch is hard to bring down with two or three able-bodied defenders. I'm not sure how Palmer is going to get by with one healthy hand. But the only other option is rookie fourth-round pick Jake Ryan, so it's sink or swim with Palmer for now.
4. Obviously it is a limited sample set thus far but have there been any noteworthy changes to the Packers' play-calling now that Tom Clements has taken over in that department?
That's a really hard question to answer. The play-calling is going to be different because Jordy Nelson, the team's lone long-ball threat, is on injured reserve with a torn ACL. Besides, Aaron Rodgers directs so much of the offense at the line of scrimmage that there's no way of knowing who deserves the credit (or blame) for the play-calling. For what it's worth, Rodgers seems happy with the operation and the speed with which the plays were coming from Clements. In a no-huddle, up-tempo offense, speed is paramount.
5. Seahawks fans are excited about the explosiveness of first pick Frank Clark and the return ability of Tyler Lockett. It sounds like the Packers are every bit as excited about their top pick Damarious Randall and returner Ty Montgomery. What are the expectations of Green Bay's rookies this season?
Randall had a heck of a debut. He wound up playing 61 of the 77 defensive snaps against the Bears because safety Morgan Burnett missed the game with a calf injury, which necessitated some tinkering in the secondary. Jay Cutler targeted Randall five times and didn't complete any of them, with one of those incompletions being a key third-and-goal pass to Alshon Jeffery. Burnett is back, which means Randall figures to go from the No. 3 cornerback to the No. 4 cornerback and play only in the dime package.
Montgomery had kickoff returns of 41 and 46 yards against the Bears. That's huge news in Green Bay, which had two 40-plus-yard returns combined the past two seasons. In reality, the returns were incredibly well-blocked, so Montgomery probably is getting too much credit around here. On offense, he had a terrific training camp but most of that came with backup quarterback Scott Tolzien. Montgomery played only one offensive snap against the Bears. As he builds chemistry with Rodgers, I'd expect him to see some playing time in special packages.