Turnovers, Injuries, dropped passes, a poor running game and just general inconsistency plagued the Packers in their preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers Thursday night on national television.
It’s not an uncommon scene and certainly not something that should concern Packers fans too much. There is never much one can take away from that first game of the year – other than the fact that, thankfully, it doesn’t count.
But there are some things for certain – the Packers have to get healthy and they have to show vast improvement in consistency next time out.
When Nick Perry opened the game with a sack on Philip Rivers, Packers fans cheered. But when the flag came out for unsportsmanlike conduct because of his post-sack enthusiasm, Packers Nation could only grow. I guess it was the harbinger of the the night.
The Packers gave up a 23-yard touchdown to Antonio Gates after fumbling the ball away on their first drive of the night. Another fumble on the ensuing kickoff only spelled out what type of night it would be. Though the defense held its own throughout the game and Graham Harrell finally led the Packers to a score just before halftime and another touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough.
But Donald Driver said patience is required, especially at this time of year. “That was the whole thing,” Driver said. “You have to get the rust off, and then you start playing ball. You see exactly what he can do. Right before half, he drives the ball right down there and scores. That was big for us. He has the confidence that he can play on this level, and he’s proven it.”
To his credit, Harrell didn’t get down. He kept working and the coaching staff showed their confidence and stuck with him.
“That’s kind of the attitude and mentality I try to bring in every day,” Harrell said. He who finished 15 of 27 passing for 135 yards and a TD. His passer rating was 81.6. “Whatever just happened, whether it was great or whether it was really bad, let’s play the next one and see what happens.”
The game ended after the Chargers had scored a late touchdown to give them a 21-13 lead. Rookie B.J. Coleman was then thrust into the lineup to lead the Packers on a last ditch attempt to try to score. On the last play of the game, Coleman completed a pass to rookie RB Marc Tyler who was stripped of the ball by former Packer Ricky Elmore.
It was a fitting end to a game where inconsistence ruled the day.
Positives that came out of the game? Randall Cobb, Tim Masthay, D.J. Smith, Davon House, Tramon Williams, and even Harrell once he got his legs under him. One could also include the play of Tyler, but his fumble to end the game put a damper on that.
Negatives: Injuries to House and Desmond Bishop. Bishop’s could be serious and would be an extreme blow to the Packers middle defense. House is to have X-rays to see the extent of the damage.
The Packers have a week of practice ahead of them where one hopes the coaching staff stresses ball security. They are in action again Thursday, Aug. 16, when they host the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Antonio Gates B.J. Coleman Cleveland Browns D.J. Smith Davon House Desmond Bishop Donald Driver Graham Harrell Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Marc Tyler Nick Perry Philip Rivers Randall Cobb Ricky Elmore San Diego Chargers Tim Masthay Tramon Williams