Monday, August 15, 2016

Packers Open The 2016 Preseason With A Win Over The Browns

For the Green Bay Packers, a couple players stood out in a good way, and a couple stood out in a bad way. Overall, their first preseason game went largely as expected and I didn't see any big surprises.
QB RGIII. He started the game off with a long pass against CB Damarious Randall, who appeared to be called out by his position coach on Sunday about it, and completed his next two passes. Then he threw an INT on a great diving play by CB Micah Hyde but it didn't look like his receiver had any idea the ball was coming. His last three pass attempts were incompletions against the Packers' second team defense. I thought he'd present more of a challenge to the Packers' defense, but other than that pass to beat Randall, he wasn't a factor.

QB Joe Callahan. He was better than I expected but I had low expectations. He didn't show the physical tools of an NFL starter though he made several good decisions and led the offense on a touchdown drive in the two minute drill. He reminded me of Scott Tolzien.

OLB Datone Jones. He got most of the press from the game and he was probably the best player on the field. But he did it while on the 2nd team defense and against the Browns' backups. He does look good playing at a lighter weight.

DT Kenny Clark. He looked like DT B.J. Raji on a good day at the nose, which is a very good sign.

OT Jason Spriggs. He played almost the entire game and was very good. He did have a couple bad moments learning opportunities: once he was pancaked by the DT to his right on a double-team, and he was flagged for tripping. But most of the time he handled the outside rush on passing plays, and made solid blocks downfield when they ran. Already I'd be confident that he could spot start at either tackle position if needed.

ILB Blake Martinez. It was only one play but I rarely see linebackers get rolled like he did. Neither Jake Ryan or Sam Barrington were active. ILB Carl Bradford looked better than Martinez, though he also had one bad play when he got blocked out on the opposite side of the field vs. a long run. It's only one game, but I have Bradford ahead of Martinez so far.

LB Joe Thomas. I wasn't sure what his role was going to be this season. I thought he could even lose playing time to Morgan Burnett. He might still find his role diminished but he started against the Browns and looked pretty good.

OLB Reggie Gilbert, OLB Kyler Fackrell, DT Christian Ringo. All three players had a sack against the backups on the Browns OL. Gilbert's "sack" happened when Cody Kessler forgot where the back of the end zone was on a safety, but he was still getting after Kessler on the play. The Packers have some depth at OLB this season and it showed. Ringo too was expected to look better after a redshirt rookie season, and so far so good.

CB Demitri Goodson. I wasn't sure they were going to make anything of the former point guard that they selected in the 2014 6th round, and he sure was the weak link against the Browns. He gave up the only TD on defense and picked up a personal foul on the preceding special teams play. Undrafted rookie CB Josh Hawkins (among others) already seem to be ahead of him on the depth chart, and they all clearly outplayed him against the Browns.

OL Don Barclay. He was a disaster last season and he allowed a safety on his first snap as center this preseason. I feel bad for the guy, who was once a pleasant surprise and solid starter at RT in place of Bryan Bulaga, but he hasn't been the same since his ACL injury two years ago.

TE Justin Perillo. One of the secrets to Callahan's success was that he leaned heavily on his TEs (his first two completions were to TE Jared Cook). Perillo ended up leading the team in receptions. He's still behind Cook and TE Richard Rodgers on the depth chart, but he could be more involved as a receiver this season.

WR Jared Abbrederis. It was a ho-hum 2 receptions for 23 yards night, but he looked good as a receiver and also as a return man. He's still behind WR Davante Adams as the No. 3 receiver for some reason but I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do this season.

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