Thanks to Acme Packing Company for the time.
1.) The Packers are starting 4th round draft pick, David Bakhtiari, at LT. How did he do vs the 49ers and did SF use any techniques like overloading to test him out further? (fun fact: Redskins were the first team to have an Iranian player, Shar Pourdanesh, who struggled mightily at Tackle).
Jason: Considering that his first regular season assignment as a professional was blocking Justin Smith and Aldon Smith, I think it's fair to say he handled himself quite well. Officially, he gave up two sacks (though one involved Aaron Rodgers slipped and covering up the ball), but most of the time he kept the pocket clean and gave his quarterback plenty of time to make a throw. San Francisco threw plenty of Aldon/Justin stunts at him, but it didn't lead to a bunch of blown up plays.
Bakhtiari isn't the kind of blocker a team can just trust to neutralize blindside pressure -- at least not yet -- but neither is he a tackle that requires regular help from a tight end or running back. The experience should help improve his performance, not to mention he doesn't have to play the 49ers again during the regular season.
2.) APC gave really poor grades for the secondary vs. Niners...was that consistent with pre-season and what do you expect for week 2? The Redskins have a lot of speed at WR.
For several years now, the Packers' secondary has been one of better units in the league. That obviously didn't hold true last Sunday, but that may not be the case going forward. The main issue for the Packers' secondary was the combined effect of the injuries to Casey Hayward and Morgan Burnett. As a rookie in 2012, Hayward took up Charles Woodson's old role as the ball hawking slot corner in nickel and sub packages while Burnett has steadily improved in his three seasons to become the team's most valuable defensive back. The team knew it was going to be without Hayward for the 49ers game, but Burnett was a surprise last minute scratch. Some of those big plays to Anquan Boldin would have been prevented if either or both players were active.
Hayward isn't going to play against Washington, but Burnett is expected to go. His return not only means there will be smaller passing windows for Robert Griffin III, but it also means less playing time for either Jerron McMillian or M.D. Jennings, two defensive backs who were regularly burnt in week 1.
3.) The Packers run D had a great game only allowing 2.6 yards a rush. What changed which made it so much better this time around?
The change is rooted in improved personnel and play call adjustments. After being gashed on the ground in their final game last season, the Packers spent a sizeable portion of the offseason trying to find a way to slow down not only running quarterbacks, but entire ground games. That self-scouting led to defensive lineman Datone Jones being selected in the first round and the contain schemes you saw in week 1. While it's unlikely that the Packers' run defense performs that well all season, there's reason to believe it'll be hard sledding for RGIII and Alfred Morris this weekend.
4.) The Packers only had 63 rushing yards vs. SF. Granted, that's a great run D, but is that a unit McCarthy plans to fix or is Aaron Rodgers all day every day?
It's hard to say at this point. Mike McCarthy has been criticized in the past for not calling a more balanced game, but the reality is that 42% of the plays last year were runs. When your team has a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, a 58-42 split is the correct balance.
The issue is how effective those running plays will be. Eddie Lacy was drafted to give the offense a power running threat, but he can't be expected to have good runs when he's being contacted in the backfield. The Packers' offensive line has struggled to open holes for a few years now, and that may still be the case in 2013. That said, they should play better than they did against San Francisco. Unless the Packers find themselves down by two scores early, expect more rushes from them.
5.) What's your score prediction for the game and why?
I'm never comfortable predicting scores, but I think the Packers take this one by over a touchdown. Even if RGIII plays better than he did week one, which I expect, Green Bay proved their ability to contain running quarterbacks and force them to throw. Griffin should have some production through the air, but I don't anticipate it being enough to catch a Packers offense which put up 28 points on the road in San Francisco.