Monday, August 29, 2005

Packers 3, New England 27. Just an awful game. Bad 1st quarter special teams contributed to 10 early New England points. Frequent offensive turnovers. Far too many penalties. Poor run defense. Several key injuries during the game including WR Antonio Chatman, WR Javon Walker, DE KGB, and FS Nick Collins. It does not sound like the injuries are a cause for concern.

The major problem on offense was that QB Brett Favre wasn't in any rhythm, and that was as much to do with New England's great defense. Favre had three interceptions, one was called back on a penalty but it lead to the neck injury to Chatman. Was it bad routes by the receivers? Was it bad throws by Favre? It wasn't clear watching the game, but it looked more like poor routes by the receivers.

The run offense didn't have much success, but New England has an interesting 3-4 defense with essentially 3 nose tackles on the defensive line. If one team is built to stop the run in the NFL, it is New England.

QB Aaron Rodgers looked pretty good (for a rookie), once he stopped fumbling the snaps (he fumbled his first two snaps from center). Remember, Rodgers is a rookie quarterback, and most rookie quarterbacks are bad to awful, with only a few exceptions. He shouldn't look very good, yet.

G William Whitticker had won the starting right guard spot, but he might have lost it with his play against New England. His biggest sin was moving too far to his left on a pass play when the defensive lineman to Whitticker's left ran a stunt, ran around Whitticker's right side, and got a clean shot at Favre, leading to a painful grimmace from Favre. Whitticker can probably win the job with a solid last preseason game, otherwise G Grey Ruegamer will start. C Scott Wells had a lot of playing time backing up LG Adrian Klemm at left guard and might convince the Packers to move Klemm to right guard and let Wells start at left guard.

The Packers defense had some bright spots. FS Nick Collins started with the first team, and his biggest mistake was dropping an interception that would have stopped a New England TD drive. CB Ahmad Carroll played very well, although far too much taunting (calm down Ahmad!). CB Mike Hawkins backed up CB Al Harris again, but got burned on the 2nd quarter TD pass. CB Joey Thomas looked better as the 3rd cornerback. There are still a lot of question marks on the Packers overall, but the secondary has made a lot of progress this preseason.

So has P B.J. Sander. He launched some giant punts and has a lot of hang time. He has completely turned his career around, after spending the entire 2004 season inactive. He could be a valuable field position weapon in 2005.

The run defense looked awful. New England ran almost every run play right at Gbaja-Biamila and was most successful when DT Cullen Jenkins played next to him. The Packers are about 30 pounds heavier per player with DT Colin Cole and DE Aaron Kampman to the right side. Gbaja-Biamila had success on run defense when he was able to use his speed to run past the left tackle, but that rarely happened. DT Cletidus Hunt will play next to Gbaja-Biamila when he returns from his injury, so hopefully that will help. Defensive coordinator Jim Bates has to figure out how to stop teams from running right over Gbaja-Biamila.

WR Terrence Murphy (2nd round, 2005) hasn't played yet, and now Chatman and Walker got hurt. Walker's finger injury isn't as serious as Chatman's neck injury, but a finger injury for a wide receiver can't be a good thing. The wide receiver depth is now WR Donald Driver, WR Robert Ferguson, and you don't want to know. In one game, this position just became a problem.

No comments: