Sunday, August 11, 2013

Preseason Recap: Packers Shutout By Cardinals, 17-0

The Green Bay Packers hadn't been shut out in a preseason game since the dark ages (a.k.a. when Forrest Gregg was the head coach in the 1980s) but that really wasn't a big surprise after they needed to add QB Vince Young to the backup quarterback battle. This game was really a sign that they'd be in trouble if anything happened to QB Aaron Rodgers. The good news is that on Rodgers' only series, he drove them 86 yards before they got stuffed at the one-yard line on 4th down.

The only injury was rookie 1st round DE Datone Jones, but it wasn't clear if his ankle injury was serious.

For Arizona, DB Tyrann Mathieu was deemed impressive but he was the highlight maker from a game without many of them. His sack of QB Graham Harrell was Harrell's fault, he completely ignored a blitzing DB which earned Harrell an exasperated stare from Mike McCarthy. Mathieu's other big play was a 24 yard punt return.

So without focusing on what the team did, here's how some individual players performed.

LT David Bakhtiari. Breathe a sigh of relief: he was solid. He looked a little off-balance on the first drive, his momentum carried him too far forward on one early run play, but he looked nearly perfect thereafter. He certainly looked better than Marshall Newhouse, who was beaten on a speed rush by DE John Abraham which led to a sack-fumble of Harrell.

WR Tyrone Walker. After the first drive, when Rodgers and WR James Jones took a seat, the undrafted rookie out of Illinois State was basically their entire offense. The Packers' backups only generated 137 yards of offense and 41 yards was from Walker. He's looked great in practice, in last weekend's scrimmage, and he did it again in his first game.

The defensive backs. Yes, CB Davon House was burnt early and often, but the guys behind him on the depth chart were awful too. Rookie 5th round CB Micah Hyde gave up a touchdown. The worst play was made by CB Brandon Smith, who was completely fooled on a comeback route and ended up running out of bounds. The good news is that none of these guys are expected to start, and since it was only one game, hopefully they bounce back next week.

The running backs. None of them made plays, but rookie RB Johnathan Franklin looked the best to me (Eddie Lacy was held out due to a hamstring injury). I need to see the rest of the preseason games before deciding.

QB Graham Harrell. It would have been a bad game even if he hadn't fumbled (see above) and telegraphed an easy interception (though WR Jeremy Ross seemed lost on the route). The only good news for him is that B.J. Coleman and Vince Young looked worse, though Young only knew about six plays. This isn't something GM Ted Thompson can fix this year, so the coaches will have to make due with the backup quarterbacks they've got.

DE Johnny Jolly. The defense didn't provide much of a pass rush, but Jolly got loose in the backfield on a couple plays. He looked almost as good as ever, despite the nearly four year absence from football. He's still got to prove himself over the remaining preseason games, however, after the first game, he looks like he should be part of the defensive line rotation.

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