Aug 9, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; General view of Lambeau Field during the third quarter of the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Green Bay Packers took on the Arizona Cardinals in their pre-season opener last night in Green bay at Lambo (the Field … not the car). While my expectations for pre-season games are usually fairly low, this game was a real disappointment, ending Arizona 17 and Green Bay nothing.
I don’t have to be brainwashed to know that’s not a good final score. However, there were some positives and some negatives.
Let’s get to it.
Stat That Sticks
Green Bay’s longest run of the game – 8 yards (twice) by RBs Starks and Green. Then next longest runs – 7 yards (twice) by … wait for it … QBs Harrell and Young. So much for the vaunted new running attack. I get it. RB Lacy didn’t play and the staff wanted to see the veteran holdovers play a bunch. Well that’s what they saw. However, RB Franklin looked quick and RB Starks looked strong, if not a little slow.
Aug 9, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) grabs a pass against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antoine Cason (20)at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
WR James Jones had a nice 50-yard pickup on the first drive. WR Walker had 5 nice catches with some tough YAC and at this point looks like he might be a keeper. TE Finley dropped what probably would have been a TD catch. Yes it was contested. No it wasn’t uncatchable. TE Williams dropped a couple of catchable balls but made a tough catch on a third down play. RB Franklin bobbled a screen pass. Had he caught it cleanly he might have had 6.
Quarterback play was inconsistent. QB Rodgers looked as sharp as ever, and he remains the undisputed king of the pending penalty downfield freebie shot. QB Harrell threw a really bad interception and was strip-sacked too. I guess what concerned me about Harrell more than anything else is how he carries himself on the field. He looks like a deer in the headlights too often. His face always seems to say he doesn’t really know what he’s doing out there. He’s had enough time in the system to be better than he is. QBs Coleman and Young didn’t do much to impress me either. Somebody needs to distance himself from the pack of backup QBs. Sooner would be better than later.
Aug 9, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (69) blocks during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
O line play seemed to deteriorate as the game went on, which while disappointing is predictable in preseason. The starters looked OK but their run blocking didn’t impress. LT Bakhtiari looked good to me. I watched him fairly closely and I saw no obvious whiffs or mistakes. I need to see more of him on tape but right now I think he has a shot to be the guy they need at LT.
D line play was about what I expected. DL Jolly looked like he was out of shape but he mostly got the job done. As a feel-good story and a strong comeback, I like Jolly a bunch. As a regular contributor on the D line I’m still not sure he makes the team. But tuck that jersey in 97.
The defensive secondary gave up some big passes and made some fixable mistakes doing it. CB House got housed and a TD pass was hidden from CB Hyde. House bit hard on a double move and Hyde lost the ball in the air. Correct and repeat. Hyde did make a couple of nice open field tackles.
The Rest of the Rest
Young wearing 13 just looks weird to me…Replay of the Starks TD that wasn’t conclusive enough to overturn the call on the field…Packers O averaged 3.4 yards per play…When Harrell comes in at QB everything seems to slow down- and not in a good way…I still like Ross for P and KO return duty…Jolly could/should have had a sack…Francois could/should have had a couple of them…CB Banjo led the team in tackles with 4…The Lambeau improvements look really nice. The best stadium in the NFL only got better.
So the game was a loss, a shutout, an eye-opener and a start. We’ve got a long way to go. While I’m concerned about the Packers brain trust putting so much faith in Bakhtiara after losing Bulaga for the season, at this point I’m OK with it. There are so many inured players on the team right now that it’s hard to envision what the team starting the regular season opener will look like. We’ll see.