It’s still too early to tell … That’s the consensus coming out of Green Bay today after the Packers improved their preseason record to 1-1 with a rather non-descript 28-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
While Packers management isn’t saying much yet, there were some matters that came to the forefront after this “it doesn’t count” game.
Let’s take a look at a few:
The Packers defense mounted little pressure on the quarterback for the second game in a row. Yes, the team was without starters Mike Neal and Clay Matthews, but if you take away the first three-and-out by the Cardinals their first team offense mounted drives that ate 6:29 and 7:34 off the clock, respectively. Those drives led to six points for Arizona.
The Packers gave up too many sacks. The offensive line at times seemed nonexistent and to watch your star QB crumble in a heap of 300-pounders in the first half of the second preseason game is a bit unnerving. Ted Thompson didn’t seem too concerned about it after the game, but one wonders if there’s going to be a “come to Jesus” meeting with the offensive line unit this week. “It looked like a preseason,” Thompson said. “It’s all part of the evaluation process.”
in addition to the absence of Neal, the defensive line took a hit when C.J. Wilson went to the locker room with a concussion and Rookie Lawrence Guy, a defensive end with a good chance to make the team, sat out with concussion-like symptoms.
Special teams were sporadic … A takeaway on a kick-off early in the third quarter led to an Arizona touchdown, but the kicking of Tim Masthay was again exceptional.
On the bright side, the offense was razor sharp when they went to the no-huddle. Rodgers seems very comfortable in it; Donald Driver had some nice catches and certainly isn’t looking 36 years old; Greg Jenning’s back shoulder catch for the first half TD was a thing of beauty; Alex Green’s catch and run on the screen pass that led to his own 2-yard TD plunge in the second half was impressive; and finally, Chastin West’s 97-yard touchdown catch was the best and most memorable preseason highlight in recent memory. Did his performance cement a roster spot on this team? Probably not, but it surely gave him the right to another closer look.
So, what do we take from this second preseason game?
A need for improvement in many areas and a clear signal that this team is again deep with talent.
This coming week is crucial for many of those on the bubble. The countdown to cuts is nearing and like all other 31 teams, the Packers have some tough choices ahead and only a couple more weeks in which to make them.
Let the games continue.