Friday, August 30, 2013

The Waiting Game is in Full Swing

I know that teams have until 5PM on August 31st but I just can't stand the wait to find out who makes the week one 53. Especially when depth seems to be such a concern this year after watching the 2nd and 3rd units struggle so much in the preseason. I'm starting to think that the Packers are looking over the early cuts for guys that they want to lay a claim on.

We already know that they brought in "Kickalicious" for a try out. My opinion on that is that it was a look see in case Mason Crosby struggles an any point in the season. With Crosby taking a pay cut I just can't see him not being the opening day kicker.

The Packers are also reportedly bringing Joe McKnight in for a try out. It's definitely a sign that the team is not sold on who they have to return kicks. McKnight is also a very versatile player which is something the team seems to be lacking right now in their depth.

One thing I'd like to see the team look for is another safety. With all the injuries they are really thin at the position. The DBs in general have struggled this preseason, but with Tramon back I'm not sure things won't start to clear up on the corners.

As far as the guys I'm rooting for to see on the final 53? I'd love to see Alex Green stay on the team. I think he's looked much more decisive when he's had his chances to run the ball. I'd also love to see Johnny Jolly complete his comeback and land in the D Line rotation. He's just so disruptive and his hands are always active, looking to swat passes (or pick them off) when he doesn't get penetration.

How do you think the cookie will crumble this year?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Takeaways from Preseason Game Three

Well the Packers lost another preseason game. Their record is now 0-0. See it's funny because wins and losses in preseason don't matter! What matters are the positives and negatives you can take away from the game.  And I honestly think there were positives in all three phases of the game. Of course there were negatives too.

On special teams the main positive is Tim Masthay. He can boom punts and he showed it to us last night. He had several punts that were of 50 yards with great hang time. It was pretty to watch. He also boomed the opening kickoff out of the endzone. The negative is the other side of the kicking game. Masthay kicking off to open the game tells me the Packers still don't know who their kicker will be to start the season. Tavecchio doesn't have the leg that Crosby does. So if they keep him to kick FGs, Masthay could end up being the guy to kick off. Personally I'm still not sold that either of them should be the guy. I just don't know who out there would be better.

Offensively the Packers flashed early. Aaron Rodgers led them right down the field for a FG on the first series of the game. He came out after that series (earlier than you'd expect in the 3rd preseason game) and things went downhill from there. The rookie backs struggled but it's hard to equate that to the regular season because the Seahawks were really stacking the line against the run with Harrell in the game. When Vince Young came in there were more lanes as evidenced by Alex Green's 30 yard run. Jarrett Boykin had a great play to get a 1st down, but that was negated by his fumble a few plays earlier. Jermichael Finley only caught 2 of the 6 passes targeting him and was credited with a drop. Basically what I learned from the game was that as long as Rodgers is healthy the Packers will be in every game. The instant he goes down they are in real trouble. Word has just come down that Harrell has been released so Young has won the backup job at least for now. I'm still not sold on him long term but even with him not being in town for training camp, he really outplayed Harrell.

Defensively we say a lot of good things. The pass rush was able to get a lot of pressure last night. Johnny Jolly was disruptive in the middle, Micah Hyde got good pressure rushing from outside and the Clay Matthews Band netted a sack of Russell Wilson. The run defense is still concerting though. The bruising backs of Seattle had a lot of success running inside against the Packers. The wide receivers also had success outside a few times as well. Hyde is always around the ball, but he got burned on a long pass to Doug Baldwin in the first quarter that got the Hawks into field goal position. I'm not all that concerned about this though. As long as Tramon Williams is ready to go wot the opener I think the DBs be ok.

 Having been laid off in my life, I just want to tell Graham Harrell thank you for your time and good luck in your future. It's not easy to hear the words "Thank you for your time, but your services won't be required any longer" and get led out of the building. I hope you come back from it quickly and find something new and fulfilling.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

See, I Told You the Sky Wasn't Falling!

After last week a lot of people were concerned about the Packers and how poor they looked. Tonight things look a little different. Both the offense and defense looked much improved against the Rams. So, is Jekyll or Hyde the true Packers team this year? I also want to talk about a bubble guy who really made an impression on me in tonight's game.

The first team offense didn't score a touchdown but they were able to move the ball up and down the field on the Rams. Aaron Rodgers looked great other than the missed pass to Jermichael Finley. Finley himself looked very good both catching and with a lot of YAC. Jarrett Boykin made a nice play filling in with the first team offense. I can't remember who tweeted it, but someone said that Rodgers just looked very comfortable throwing to Boykin and I agree. He's not a burner but he just seems to make things happen. David Bakhtiari also continued his solid play at LT, even with the one whiff on Quinn.

The best part about watching the first team play tonight was Eddie Lacy. It's nice to watch a guy run through tackles and make the defense pay a price to bring him down. It always makes me wonder why he fell. After watching him play at Alabama and now with Green Bay, how can people think he doesn't have the desire to win? People say he doesn't love the game enough. It sure doesn't look like that when he's mowing linebackers down. The Lacy #27 will definitely be the next Jersey in the Packerken collection.

The defense definitely looked better today too. St. Louis should have scored with their first string in the game, but they chose to practice their forth down offense instead. Still, the Rams runners were unable to get anything done against the first string Packers D. And when you remember that the defensive backfield was minus Tramon Williams and Casey Heyward you might look at the passing numbers for the Rams a little different. Micah Hyde kept flashing tonight as well. He had a nice punt return and looked great blitzing as a corner.

The real pleasure tonight was getting to watch Johnny Jolly be Johnny Jolly tonight. He was so disruptive in the middle. He just knows when to make plays, deflecting a ball that was intercepted. He also made a play on a tipped ball to keep the Rams out of the end zone and made a Madden-esque spin move to get the ball away from the goal line. Jolly was one of my favorites before and I have to admit that I still have a soft spot for him. It's great to see him back on the field and making plays. He's one of those guys that you can see is "just a football player." I'm happier still to see that he really seems to have his life together. I would bet that he made an NFL roster tonight. I'm just hoping that it happens to be the Packers roster.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

So, Is the Sky Really Falling?

Hi guys, it's been a while since I wrote anything so I want to apologize for that. It feels good to have the itch and I'm hopeful that I'll have to scratch it often. Now that's out of the way, let's talk about that horrid game from Friday. Was it really that horrible? I don't think so, here's why.

First off, the first offense moved the ball right down the field. Even though he didn't get credit for it, Starks was in on the 4th down and the Packers should have been up 7-0. That was without Nelson and I'll be even more excited to see the offense with Lacy out there. This tells me as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy this offense will score points. Of course I'm concerned about how the offensive line will keep Rodgers on his feet, but we saw a positive sign on that too. David Bhaktiari was solid at LT. It's been a few years since the Packers had solid at LT. And as much as I like Marshall Newhouse as a person, I'm happy to hear that Don Barclay is getting reps only at RT now and not C and G. I think over time he will prove to be a better T than Newhouse.

Second, I'm not as concerned about the defense (yet) as the rest of the world. I think it's way too early to be that concerned. With the vanilla defense that was saw Friday it's hard to make an accurate assessment. I think the games Saturday against the Rams and in two weeks against the Seahawks will give us a much better idea of where the team sits. These games are designed to look at individual players performances. That means a lot of guys get put on islands that usually wouldn't, especially the cornerbacks. I think training camp is a better barometer this early.

Finally, it's the first preseason game! Need I remind you about the first game of the 2010 preseason? The Packers lost that one too and Jake Delhomme tore the D up. How did that turn out? I'm not trying to claim that the Pack is headed to the Superbowl again, but just the same, you can't predict the season based on one preseason game. Let's all come back off the cliff, there's no need to jump. Now if we haven't seen improvement by the time the last preseason game comes around,then it might be time to get up on a ledge.