Monday, August 30, 2004

Packers 7, Jacksonville 9. Once again, I missed the game, so I have to read the recaps again. The Packers are lucky that RB Ahman Green did not suffer a major injury on Friday, although it sounds like something that might linger for a couple of weeks. Hopefully Green sits out the last preseason game because he has nothing to prove. Overall, the game resembled the first two preseason games for the Packers: not much offense without QB Brett Favre playing, good defense, and a lot of penalties.

QB Brett Favre. The 2nd Quarter was typical Favre. Two interceptions, the first when Favre tried to zip it into WR Donald Driver and franchise SS Donovan Darius jumped the route, and the other on a fluke bounce off TE Bubba Franks. Although both interceptions led to field goals, the quarter was a net gain when Favre threw a perfect deep pass to WR Robert Ferguson. It was the typical high risk-high reward you expect as a Packer fan while watching Favre play.

Backup quarterbacks. Does anybody really expect the Packers to play well without Favre? QB Craig Nall and QB Scott McBrien did not look good, but that is not really surprising. Hopefully QB Tim Couch continues to heal and learn the offense, and he can be expected to perform well if needed.

Penalties. They do not mean anything, yet. It is hard to tell if it is a problem with so many players on the field who will not remain on the roster for the start of the season or rookie players receiving so much additional playing time.

Injuries. The injuries to Green and LB Na'il Diggs do not sound serious, but this is the danger of the preseason. So far, knock on wood, the Packers have not any signifcant injuries.
CB Michael Hawthorne. Although offenses do not show their regular offense during the preseason, all three opponents the Packers have faced this preseason have shown one thing in common; attack Hawthorne. He does not have the speed to start at cornerback in the NFL, he is likely to be attacked in the passing game by every opponent this season, and he does not have the speed to win every battle with every wide receiver in the NFL. Hopefully CB Mike McKenzie returns and Hawthorne can settle in as the 3rd or 4th cornerback, otherwise Hawthorne will start and be abused by starting wide receivers until the Packers feel CB Ahmad Carroll can start.

Special Teams. It did not read like either P B.J. Sander or P Bryan Barker looked very good. It is a concern and a problem that needs to be resolved and corrected by the start of the season. had an article that the Packers were reluctantly awarding the starting punt return job to WR Antonio Chatman. Chatman looked ok last season as the punt returner. If Chatman is good enough to win the 4th wide receiver spot on the roster, then he should be given another chance this season at punt returning.

Wide receivers. It looks like WR Scottie Vines and Chatman will be the 4th and 5th wide receivers this season. This can be important for the Packers. Last season, the Packers depth at wide receiver was tested early with injuries to Ferguson and Driver. Some seasons, the Packers 5th wide receiver never saw the playing field, except on special teams. In 2003, the Packers promoted a former 5th wide receiver, Driver, to the starting lineup and he turned in a 1000 yard season. These players might be very important or an afterthought to a great season.

There are many things I would like to address, such as how the offensive and defensive lines are playing, how many of the backups are playing, but those things don't show up well on a game recap. Hopefully I can watch the last preseason game.

The Packers released 15 players on Monday. None of them are a surprise, although it is likely that RB Dahrran Diedrick finds himself back on the practice squad. All the players were undrafted free agents.


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