GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Charles Woodson isn't worried, even if Sunday's season-opening loss didn't offer clear-cut evidence that the Green Bay Packers' efforts to beef up their defense made much of a difference.
Woodson says it will take some time for the Packers' new players to make an impact, and the veteran defensive back insists he saw signs of progress in a 30-22 loss to San Francisco.
"We're just getting started here," Woodson said after Sunday's game. "It's been a long training camp, and we're trying to figure out pieces and how we're going to run this defense going forward. I'm going to keep saying, we're going to be a good defense, trust me."
After allowing more yards than any other defense in the league and giving up way too many big plays in 2011, the Packers used their first six draft picks on defensive players and did a little more shopping in the free-agent market than they typically have under general manager Ted Thompson.
But the revamped defense still gave up 377 yards to the 49ers, who looked more explosive on Sunday than they typically did during last season's run to the NFC championship game.
Alex Smith was 20 of 26 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and Frank Gore ran for 112 yards and a touchdown.
"This was a team that went to the (NFC) championship game last year and they have just about everybody back and they've added some pieces, so they're a good team, make no mistake about it," Woodson said. "We're jelling together as a team. This is really, especially defensively, a new team (with) a lot of new players. We're going to get where we need to be. I promise you that."
Things don't necessarily get easier this week, with the Chicago Bears bringing new wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Lambeau Field on Thursday night.
There were some positives. The Packers sacked Smith four times on Sunday, including 2 1/2 credited to Clay Matthews and 1 1/2 credited to Woodson.
They held ground on third down, allowing the 49ers to convert only two of nine times.
And they got by without playmaking linebacker Desmond Bishop, who is out for the season with a torn hamstring.
"I think it's part of the hangover that people keep trying to remind us of last year, but the reality is it's one game," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. "I thought we did some good things in the pass rush. The statistical support of that would be the four sacks, but I thought we had good pressure. I thought (rookie) Nick Perry did some good things, and we'll continue to implement some of our other players, too."