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Lack of crowd noise helping Packers linebacker Ty Summers relay plays

GREEN BAY - Matt LaFleur jokingly pointed out there were 750 fans in the Superdome on Sunday night for the Green Bay Packers’ 37-30 victory over the New Orleans Saints — so it wasn’t a wholly empty stadium — but the lack of an actual, audible home-field advantage didn’t just help Aaron Rodgers: Ty Summers also benefited.

The second-year middle linebacker played the first defensive snaps of his career in relief of Christian Kirksey (shoulder), and he was tasked with hearing the defensive calls from coordinator Mike Pettine over the headset and then relaying them out.

“It definitely made the communication process significantly easier and if any of y’all ever have a chance to ever hear the speakers, those things are hard to hear if it’s completely quiet or if it’s loud,” Summers said. “It’s crazy static-y and all that. So, it’s definitely a benefit that there isn’t crowds there for that reason. Of course, it would be nice to have people there yelling and screaming and that energy, but one thing I will say is that I feel we as a team have done a great job of bringing that energy, bringing our own juice, as we like to say. And it’s translating into the way we’ve played.”

Summers felt like Pettine was comfortable calling any defense he wanted Sunday night, despite the fact the 24-year-old had not been in that situation in a game setting since the final exhibition game of 2019. But, in practices Summers does have a speaker in his helmet.

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (28) is hit by Green Bay Packers linebacker Ty Summers (44) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020.

“We’ve got them at practice so we can get acclimated to hearing that, what that sounds like and echoing calls and such,” he said. “It’s something that I’m used to hearing every day — coach Pettine in our ears — so it wasn’t anything that I was surprised by or didn’t know what to expect.”

Summers finished Sunday with a team-high nine tackles, but he was also one of five Packers to miss wrapping up Saints running back Alvin Kamara. With Kirksey’s status in doubt for Monday night's game against Atlanta, Summers acknowledged there is more for him to work through this week in order to be in better positions.

“The bottom line is I’m always trying to prepare like I’m going to play regardless of what ends up happening because I know I’m active, and as long as I’m active, there’s always a chance that something happens that I’m in there,” he said. “Obviously now that I got a chance on defense and recognize there were areas I could have been more prepared in, I’m going to recognize that and put a little more emphasis on that this week to make sure I’m more fine-tuned just in case I need to be called upon again.”

Measuring up to McCarthy

The Packers have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL at 40.7 points per game, but when it comes to yards they are second.

Coming in first are Mike McCarthy’s Dallas Cowboys, who are averaging 490.7 yards per game, well ahead of the Packers’ 459.7.

The Packers have been more efficient, however, averaging a league-high 6.86 yards per play compared to Dallas’ 6.4 (sixth overall). They also have not committed a turnover and have allowed just two sacks. The Cowboys have six of each.

Overall, the Packers rank tied for fifth in third-down success (50%), tied for 15th in red-zone touchdown efficiency (62.5%) and tied for 19th in goal-to-go success. They rank No. 1 in average time of possession at 35:54.

Down and out

If you’re the Falcons, there are two times you really want to run the ball against the Packers: on first-and-10 and on third-and-1.

The Packers are allowing a whopping 7.52 yards per carry in the 29 times opponents have rushed the ball on first-and-10. The good news for them is only four of the rushes were for first downs, including Kamara’s 49-yard breakaway on the second drive of the victory over New Orleans on Sunday night.

It would help if the defense tackled better. There were at least a dozen misses and maybe more, five of them on Kamara’s 52-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.

“It starts with going back to the fundamentals and just doing the little things and making that emphasis in practice because a lot of times we’re in the right positions,” Summers said. “It just comes down to just making the play.”

Packers on Monday night schedule

With a late arrival home from New Orleans and with no game Sunday, the Packers' players were off Monday. LaFleur said they were asked to come in for treatments only and the work week was pushed forward a day. Players were back in the building Tuesday and Wednesday will be the team’s off day this week.