Packers defense showing its mettle, GB prepares for Belichick wrinkles when Pats visit Sunday

Punter Pat O’Donnell named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week
Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) reads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense during a...
Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) reads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense during a NFL football game, Sunday, September 25, 2022 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)(Alex Menendez | AP)
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:03 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers can hang their hat on special teams prowess it seems. For the first time in 10 years, they have the NFC Special Teams Player of Week in punter Pat O’Donnell.

And Green Bay had LT David Bakhtiari on the practice field -- limited Wednesday -- coming off his return to play Sunday. But RT Elgton Jenkins missed what was more of a walkthrough practice.

While the Packers defense had a slow start to the season, giving up 17 points in the first half of the first game, they have given up just 28 points since (the equivalent of just 11.2 points per game).

Leading the way has been Rashan Gary, with one sack in each game so far. At this point it would be more surprising if he went a week without a sack.

“(Rashan) has been lights out,” said coach Matt LaFleur. “He is definitely a disruptive force. And when you combine him with what Kenny and Preston and J Reed have been able to do. It’s best when you have multiple guys who can get to the quarterback, because someone is going to get a 1-on-1.”

Meanwhile this week it goes from a matchup against Tom Brady to a matchup against Bill Belichick. One of the greatest coaches of all time has been known for taking away what an opponent does best. So what does Aaron Rodgers think Belichick will try to take away this week?

“I am not going to give him any ideas,” Aaron Rodgers said. “But I am sure he will look at what he thinks we do best and try to take away first and second options, and then have a Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D. I have a lot of respect for Coach Belichick, best coach in the history of the game, I think.”

It would be easy for Green Bay to overlook New England this week coming off a big win, and with London next week, and with Mac Jones’ injury on the last play of the Pats’ last game.

But bear this in mind: Belichick has had 20 winning seasons in the last 21 years. Matt Cassel won 11 games under Belichick and he coaches Mac Jones to the playoffs as a rookie last year. The only losing record the last 21 years? A 7-9 record under Cam Newton.