Green Bay Packers cornerback Demitri Goodson breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Micheal Preston. Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Sloppy conditions, sloppy play highlight Green Bay Packers loss to Titans

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It  was pouring rain at the start of the Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans first preseason game of the 2014 campaign – and it didn’t get much better for the Packers as the Titans held on for a 20-16 victory over Green Bay.

The night started well for the Packers as running back James Starks carried the load and got the touchdown on the team’s first drive, hitting pay dirt from 20 yards. After Mason Crosby converted the experimental extra point from 33 yards, the Packers led 7-0.

Running back James Starks rushes against Tennessee Titans middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard during the first half at LP Field. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

That lead would hold up until Davante Adams muffed his second punt of the first half, this one being recovered by the Titans. On the next play, the Titans would score, but their extra point was missed. The Packers led through the first half and into the second half when the Packers third and fourth string offense and defense made things interesting to say the least.

Despite an interception by Korey Jones that was returned inside the 10, the Packers settled for a Mason Crosby field goal as they took a 16-13 lead.

That was before Titans’ third string QB Zack Mettenberger took the team in for a fourth quarter score to put Tennessee up by four.

Packers’ third string quarterback Chase Rettig played for the bulk of the fourth quarter, but couldn’t lead the team to a win with the clock winding down. His final pass with just seconds on the clock was under thrown and nearly intercepted.

So what, you might ask? It’s just preseason.

Yes, but it’s always nice to come home with a win, whether it counts or not.

Win or lose, the coaches have plenty of tape on a lot of guys as they go about making decisions on roster spots for this team.

Tight end Richard Rodgers is tackled by Tennessee Titans middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard and Titans cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson in the first half at LP Field. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Mike McCarthy wanted players to jump out at him. There were a few who did so, both good and bad.

We know that Davante Adams won’t be returning punts anytime soon, unless they are determined to give him another shot – after all, the weather conditions were not great.

Jarrett Bush made some plays tonight that only improved his stock, while Micah Hyde continued to show that he is simply a great football player (though he, too, muffed a punt that he recovered), and rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was around the ball for much of the night. He showed good closing speed while in coverage and wasn’t afraid to stick his nose in on tackles as well. It was a good start for the first-rounder.

James Starks showed up big tonight, leading the team to a touchdown on the opening drive and picking up where he left off last season; he once again proved that he is a solid running back who could start for many teams in the league.

Fellow running back Raijon Neal was impressive tonight. Like Starks, he carried the ball with authority and scored the Packers second touchdown of the night with an impressive dive into the corner of the end zone. He may be a keeper.

Matt Flynn was mediocre at best, while Scott Tolzien showed much more confidence and better decision-making while he was on the field, which is beginning to raise interesting questions about who will be backup behind Aaron Rodgers.

Here’s what McCarthy said about Flynn and Tolzien … very similar comments:

 

 

Many of the Packers beat writers are already describing how they feel some of the team members performed tonight:

 

 

I’m still impressed with the Packers’ wide receiver lot. They are deep. Even without Jordy Nelson tonight and limited play from Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin, the Packers wide receivers showed a lot of depth. Filling those last three or four positions at wide receiver will be very difficult.

No matter if you agree with Carriveau, McCarthy has some really tough decisions coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Win or lose, this is a positive step for this squad. The defense and offense, as vanilla as they were, seemed ready to hit the field tonight. Clearly, much work has to be done across the entire roster, but thankfully the team has a little more than three weeks to get things righted before they head to Seattle for the season opener Sept. 4.

This was a start.

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