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Packers getting 'locked in' for Week 1

With roster and practice squad settled, the regular season is here


GREEN BAY – It's a quick shift into regular-season mode for the Packers, and Head Coach Matt LaFleur said he could sense it right away Sunday from his players.

"I definitely saw it a little bit this morning in the team meeting. You could tell our team is pretty focused and locked in," LaFleur said prior to Sunday's practice, the first official one of the regular season in preparation for Thursday's opener in Chicago.

"We'll operate as we always do, but I learned from Dan Quinn a couple years ago (in Atlanta), they all count the same. We have to have that championship mindset each and every week, each and every day, and that's the way we're going about our business."

The kickoff game against the Bears represents a role reversal from a year ago, when Chicago's Matt Nagy was making his debut as a head coach and there was a lot of unknown.

As a play-caller, LaFleur doesn't think that gives him much of an advantage, if any, because the Bears have a new defensive coordinator in Chuck Pagano. On the other side, Nagy will be calling plays against Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for the second straight year.

So LaFleur called it "pretty much a wash," and the on-the-fly adjustments to what's new and unexpected are just the name of the game in the early stages of any season.

"There's always unscouted looks, but it comes back to trusting your training, to trusting your rules," LaFleur said. "There's going to be stuff they're going to get us on, and hopefully there's stuff we can get them on. It's how do you handle that adversity."

Neither team played starters much or showed a whole lot schematically in the preseason, which is getting to be the norm around the league.

More important to this matchup, the Bears sported one of the top defenses in the NFL a year ago on their way to an NFC North title, while the Packers will have two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers running a new offensive system for the first time as a starter.

"That is the challenge, we all know it," LaFleur said of Chicago's defense, which took the ball away and scored itself at an alarming rate in 2018. "Everybody on this team knows we have a tremendous challenge in front of us.

"They're led not only by their front, maybe arguably the best in football, but I just feel like they have a complete package on all three levels."