Wednesday, August 21, 2013

After Two Preseason Games, The Packers Look All Right

Before the Green Bay Packers next preseason game, when they host the Seahawks on Friday night, I thought I'd take another look back at their win over the Rams.

The starters are playing all right. In two games, the defense hasn't forced any turnovers and the offense hasn't scored a touchdown, but they haven't been outplayed either. The offensive line seems set with Bakhtiari at LT though the coaches are giving Barclay a chance to unseat Newhouse (it hasn't happened yet). S Jerron McMillian has had some trouble with deep coverage, but it must be a little confusing in the secondary when rookie CB Micah Hyde is playing so much alongside inexperience CB Davon House.

The backup offensive and defensive lines dominated the Rams' backups. The backups weren't great when run blocking, which might have been a sign that the backup wide receivers weren't blocking well, but the Rams' pass rush didn't get anywhere near QB B.J. Coleman, which led to his best preseason performance (though too many of his passes were still thrown too high). The only backup lineman without a shot is undrafted rookie Lane Taylor, who picked up two penalties in the second half, including a personal foul for an illegal block.

On the defensive side, it's all about Johnny Jolly, who's making all the plays this preseason like he did in 2009 (hustle plays, tipping passes at the line of scrimmage). I can't make a case that he doesn't deserve to start, considering we haven't seen anything from rookie DE Datone Jones, who's battling an ankle injury, and DE C.J. Wilson hasn't done much.

Who will start at running back against the Seahawks? Despite the strong performance by Eddie Lacy against the Rams, he's still fourth on the official depth chart, and the Packers have started two different backs in two preseason games (Starks and Lacy). With DuJuan Harris back at practice this week, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him get the start. The Seahawks have a great defense, and probably some extra motivation to look good against a possible playoff opponent, so no back might stand out on Friday.

The backup wide receivers are getting a lot of work. With Jordy Nelson out and Randall Cobb out, a lot of passes have been targeted at undrafted rookies Myles White and Tyrone Walker. Walker had made the most of it, until a couple of drops against the Rams, and White seems to be a favorite target for Vince Young and Coleman. However, Jeremy Ross and Jarrett Boykin haven't fallen behind either of them, so White and Walker might only be playing for a spot on the practice squad.

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