If you’re a Packers fan – and most likely you are if you’re reading this – it was a night of some goods, some bads and definitely some uglies. As the start of the 2013 regular season is just a couple of weeks away, we know that the goods will have to start outweighing the bads and uglies pretty quickly – but that’s what preseason is about.
Seattle is a pretty good football team. As much animosity as we have toward the obnoxious Pete Carroll, this is a well-built machine -from top to bottom – one that was a perfect matchup for the Packers at this point in the training season.
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy had a plan last night and he stuck to it. He could have played Aaron Rodgers into the third quarter like Carroll played his starting quarterback, Russell Wilson, but he didn’t. He needed to gauge once more the abilities of his backup quarterbacks. Taking Rodgers out did just that.
Right on down the line, McCarthy could have played to win, but that’s not what the preseason is about. It’s about evaluation of players – finding the top 53 and cutting the rest. It’s a brutal business, but it is a business and it’s about winning. You win with your top players.
So, in an effort to encapsulate just what was good, bad and ugly from last night, we’ve put together a short list of things that will most likely be considered by the coaching staff when they put together their final roster heading into next weekend.
Vince Young: As McCarthy said last night, Young took a step forward and is now the leading candidate for the backup quarterback position. For the most part he threw the ball well, he definitely added a running dimension to the Packers game and he looked more comfortable in the system.
The pass rush: Though the Packers got gashed for way too many big plays last night, the pass rush looked good. Against Russell Wilson, one of the premier quarterbacks in the league, the Packers got four sacks and two interceptions. Not bad for a preseason game. It also gives the team some hope for the regular season when they will be facing Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III in the first two games.
Injuries: Again, the Packers were nipped by the injury bug as Morgan Burnett, DuJuan Harris, Brad Jones and Casey Hayward were all sidelined with injuries. Hayward had just come off the PUP list and was playing in his first game when he appeared to have reinjured the hamstring that had kept him out. It was the same situation for Harris, who was kept out for precautionary reasons after hurting his knee once again. The injuries to Burnett and Jones were unknown last night, but we should know more about them today.
Graham Harrell: Despite playing with the first team, Harrell just doesn’t seem comfortable as a quarterback in the Green Bay system. Many are saying that it’s time to end the Harrell experiment and move on. Vince Young clearly outplayed Harrell and now has the upper hand in the race to be backup QB. Though Harrell led the team down the field to a fourth and goal and appeared to have thrown a TD pass to Jermichael Finley, replay overturned the score. My guess is that Harrell is cut by week’s end … unless something extreme happens in the Packers final preseason game at Kansas City.
The second half run defense: Giving up 166 yards to the Seahawks wasn’t pretty. Though the first team did give up some big gainers, it was in the second half when most of the damage was done. The Packers have to clean up that part of their game in order to compete for a championship.
Loyce Means: He took bad angles on tackle attempts, his play on special teams was bad and while his coverage on the Seahawks’ final touchdown pass was OK, he looked really bad when the Seahawks receiver simply reached over the top of him and snatched the ball away. Don’t expect Means to be anywhere near the 53-man roster.
So, in a nutshell, these are my takes from last night game. There are many other points to consider, and many of those will be made in future posts. So keep it here, Packers fans.
Stay tuned …