Monday, August 14, 2006

Preseason Packers 3, San Diego 17. It looked really bad. The offense couldn't get anything going, until QB Aaron Rodgers came on to lead the team in rushing and abuse San Diego's 3rd string secondary. The defense allowed big plays early and then the 2nd string defense couldn't stop San Diego on 3rd down (63% converted for the game). There are some positives, but they were overshadowed by how badly the Packers were beaten.

Yes, the offensive line was horrible. C Scott Wells said we can't blame the system, but it is new to everybody at this point and it probably was a big part of the problem. G Daryn Colledge blew an early pass blocking assignment and QB Brett Favre got leveled. G Jason Spitz blew at least two early run blocking assignments. However, the rookies were not the only problem. T Mark Tauscher got fooled on a linebacker stunt and Favre got leveled again. RB Najeh Davenport got the start but he didn't run well and he missed two blitz pickups who went on to hit Favre both times. The blockers couldn't open any rushing lanes or protect Favre. The second unit struggled too. G Junius Coston is now the back up left tackle and allowed at least one sack on Rodgers. Coston deserves some slack since he has been playing left tackle in the NFL for only the last week. Everybody has a lot to learn and everybody played horrible. It will only get better.

Yes, the defense wasn't good either. LB A.J. Hawk got beaten badly on a slant route, but it was by the best tight end in the NFL, TE Antonio Gates. Tight ends feasted on the defense; catching 11 passes for the game, but that has been a problem for this defense for the last couple of seasons. Hawk was much better after the first quarter. The defensive line wasn't great, but QB Phillip Rivers was throwing a lot of quick passes to avoid sacks and San Diego didn't run the ball very well (outside of one 13 yard TD run at the end of a long drive). Overall, the defensive line played well considering new NT Ryan Pickett didn't play. Rivers abused the entire Packer secondary except CB Charles Woodson. CB Al Harris struggled and CB Ahmad Carroll had a bad game too. Carroll could have been called for interference a couple of times, but wasn't. Also, he allowed the TD pass in the 1st quarter, but it was a perfect pass from Rivers and probably couldn't have been defended by anyone in the NFL. The biggest problems were 63% of 3rd downs were converted against them and they forced no turnovers.

There wasn't a lot of place kicking, but K Dave Rayner kicked at least one kickoff in the end zone and K Billy Cundiff made his short field goal attempt. If there was a punting battle on Saturday, then P B.J. Sander lost it bad. Sander's punt all seemed short and low, while P Jon Ryan had all his kicks travel farther than Sander's longest punt and his 55 yard punt sent the punt returner back several yards. Ryan would have to fall apart during the rest of the preseason to lose the job to Sander.

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