Monday, August 11, 2014

How The Packers Looked As They Lost 20-16 To The Titans In A Downpour

You've probably read elsewhere about QBs Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien (4th stringer Chase Hettig got a long look too) and they were about the same as they were in 2013. After watching the backup preseason QB disaster of 2013 (Graham Harrell! Vince Young!) Flynn and Tolzien are already ahead of where the team was at this time last year. They are both clearly backup caliber QBs, but at least their legitimate backup caliber.

The game's MVP (if that's something that should even be awarded in a preseason game) would go to RB James Starks, who got room to run from his offensive line and made some moves in traffic against the Titans's first string defense.
A lot of playing time went to backup players who are longshots for a roster spot, and I didn't think anyone stood out. Here are some of the bigger name players who I was watching.

LB Julius Peppers. He didn't record a stat and was usually getting single blocked. It was not an encouraging start, but he didn't have a lot to prove in a driving rain and the defense wasn't disguising their pass rush. The Packers overall didn't get after the QB (their only two sacks came on DB blitzes by Jarrett Bush and Jumal Rolle) and I'd like to see more from them in the coming weeks.

LB Nick Perry and DE Datone Jones. Their 2012 and 2013 1st round picks did little. While Jones will be in the DE rotation and have another chance, it's discouraging that Perry is still behind former DE Mike Neal. With Peppers now blocking him too, it's hard to imagine Perry playing a big part in the defense.

FS HaHa Clinton-Dix. He got taken for a ride by RB Dexter McCluster, but he did record a pass defense and made a nice tackle near the line of scrimmage. He should still be behind Micah Hyde and Morgan Burnett, but he outplayed Sean Richardson (who looked late in coverage and drew one flag).

LB Brad Jones. He was drawn inside (along with the rest of defense) while RB Shonn Greene cut back for his touchdown run. It wasn't a strong play for the defense. I'm not sure if he's really going to hold onto his starting job or if Jamari Lattimore can move ahead.

LB Carl Bradford. I was hoping the Packers had found something in their rookie 4th round pick, but he didn't get on the field until very late in the game. I'm not sure whether he might end up a bust or he's still a player who needs to develop.

WR Davante Adams. All the returners on both teams struggled to hang onto the ball, but Adams completely missed the punt that bounced off his chest and was recovered by the Titans deep in Packer territory. I'd be surprised to see him back on punt returns. He did look good as a receiver, but he was mostly running short routes for Matt Flynn.

OL Derek Sherrod. He lined up at both tackle positions and looked as good as any of the backups. It was just nice to see him back on the field after barely playing since he broke his leg in 2011.

TE Richard Rodgers. He had a reception, but he also made a block on Starks's touchdown run. He looked bigger than I expected.

WRs Chris Harper and Kevin Dorsey. They received the most targets, so they seem like the obvious choices for the No. 5 receiver spot. Harper had one huge gain (the Titans blew the coverage) and he dropped a two-point conversion attempt. No one really stood out from this group.

C JC Tretter. He was hustling in his first NFL start, but he did appear to be overpowered on a first quarter rushing play. It was nothing terrible, but it's unsurprising that he still has some room for growth.

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