Friday, September 02, 2016

Packers Preseason Game 4, Packers Lose To Chiefs, 17-7

The last preseason game for the Green Bay Packers is usually a downer, with most all the starters sitting, and this one was no exception. It was also the first preseason game this year against a team that made the playoffs last season, which is currently run by former Packer scouting director John Dorsey, so it also featured the best level of competition they've faced so far.

Packers offense:

The problem was the offensive line, which featured the same five backup players throughout, plus some snaps for undrafted rookie Kyle Steuck at guard. When QB Joe Callahan wasn't running for his life, he was getting sacked. The running backs had no where to go (2.4 ypc). The lineman committed multiple holding and illegal blocking penalties. When you can't protect the QB or run the ball, the offense is going nowhere.

RT Kyle Murphy allowed a couple more sacks and showed he isn't ready to pass protect in the NFL. LG Lane Taylor was all-around terrible. C Don Barclay was floating his long snaps to Callahan and didn't prove that he can play inside this season any better than he played tackle last season. Rookie LT Jason Spriggs was again solid, except for a couple plays when he lost his balance and taken out of the play, which has happened to him in every preseason game. However, undrafted free agent Lucas Patrick was impressive, and his only struggles seem to be related to the giant club he's had to play with on his injured right hand. They better stash him on the practice squad.

WRs Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery are on my bubble, and neither one stood out. Both started out strong, Montgomery even blocked a punt on special teams, and then they both did nothing except drop passes in the second half.
Packers defense:

It looked like they were playing with no inside linebackers. Even ILB Blake Martinez struggled during his brief playing time. This was the first preseason game for ILB Jake Ryan and he looked a step behind on every play. Both Chiefs rushing TDs happened when the ILB failed to make the tackle in the backfield. ILB Carl Bradford didn't show the same rush to the ball that he's had earlier this preseason.

There wasn't much of a pass rush either. OLB Reggie Gilbert did nothing, and OLB Kyler Fackrell only stepped up after the bottom of the Chiefs roster started playing late in the game. All the interior tackles played well, and they probably gave GM Ted Thompson something of a good problem to sort out who to keep.

Backup QB Tyler Bray led both Chiefs' TD drives, and after a slow start for him (this was his first preseason game) he took advantage of soft coverage from the Packer defensive backs. The coverage scheme was easy for a veteran like Bray to read, so was it the DBs fault for behind a step behind or was it the scheme? If it is the fault of the scheme, that's not a problem because they won't be playing that the exact same coverage throughout an entire game during the regular season. They did record two INT (Josh Hawkins seen above plus another from LaDarius Gunter) and only had two pass interference/holding penalties. This is still a deep group of backups, and deciding who to keep won't be easy.

Packers special teams:

With no offense from either team for long stretches of the game, it was a punting clinic, and it provided a good opportunity to watch new Packer punter Jacob Schum. He doesn't have a big leg (his 45.5 yard average was 10 yards less per punt than Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt) but he was more consistent than former P Tim Masthay (almost all of Schum's punts were near the sidelines) and he was better at pinning them inside the 10 yard line. Masthay's best punts are probably better than Schum's best punts, but the Packers will probably know what to expect from Schum on each play compared to Masthay's inconsistent punting.
It's time to shave the mustache, put the jersey back on, and get ready for the regular season starting in 10 days at Jacksonville. This is going to be a great team, no matter how the final roster cuts work out over the weekend, and they're currently favored to win every, single one of them.

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