Packers: First impressions from preseason victory over Steelers

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16: Jimmy Graham #80 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 16: Jimmy Graham #80 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

First impressions from the Green Bay Packers’ preseason victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Packers took down the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 51 to 34 on Thursday night, in the second week of the 2018 preseason.

Here are some first impressions:

Oren Burks flashed a few times on kickoff coverage. Young players with great combinations of size and speed (for example, this guy) can often make an immediate impact on special teams, and Burks appears to be following that path.

Tramon Williams is excellent in off coverage.

Davante Adams got several snaps from the slot. Jordy Nelson played a fair amount in the slot in the past two seasons, and many perceived this as a move to prolong his career, following somewhat in the path of Larry Fitzgareld. But it seems that Adams, as the clear top receiver, will still play plenty in the slot this year.

I was surprised that Lance Kendricks received so many snaps tonight ahead of Marcedes Lewis. I thought they may want to keep a young tight end ahead of Kendricks, such as Robert Tonyan, who had a fantastic touchdown catch. But as of now, the Packers seem determined to keep Kendricks on the active roster.

The Aaron Rodgers possession obviously had a happy ending. But I was still a bit concerned that most dropbacks resulted in Rodgers scanning, maneuvering around the pocket, and throwing late in the play rather than at the top of his drop.

The rushing defense was disappointing. Both Kentrell Brice and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had rough missed tackles.

DeAngelo Yancey got plenty of snaps early in the game, but did nothing with them.

Brett Hundley continues to play pretty well. But I still think that he drops his eyes a bit too quickly when pressured.

Ty Montgomery‘s fumble on a kick return was brutal. But with his speed, hands, and rushing ability, I still think he’s the best option to return kicks.

Davon House played very well.

In addition to showing up on special teams, Burks also played very well on defense overall. But he appeared to be responsible in zone coverage for a long catch by Jesse James on a drag route.

The team is giving Quinten Rollins every opportunity to make this roster. In addition to playing at safety, he also returned punts. I thought he was pretty good as far as reading the holes and making decisions, but he doesn’t have the explosiveness of someone like Trevor Davis or Jaire Alexander.

I wish we saw more of Alexander. He looked very quick on one blitz from the slot.

This offensive line is in serious need of some depth.

Overall, I thought DeShone Kizer played a bit better than Hundley. Kizer needs to improve with his accuracy and timing, as well as general football awareness (he nearly let the play clock run out once). But I thought he navigated the pocket better than Hundley, keeping his eyes up and making the right decision when plays broke down.

Play of the game: DeShone Kizer’s touchdown pass to Jake Kumerow. The run after the catch was great to see, but Kizer delivering an intermediate pass in the face of pressure to the sidelines was the most impressive part of the play.

Kumerow was outstanding, especially on slant routes.

Very impressive night from Josh Jackson. I’m curious to see him return more punts. I don’t think he looked very comfortable fielding the punt, but he obviously made a play once he had corralled it.

I’m curious to see whether teams try to force kickoff returns during the regular season with high, short kicks. It seems to be trending that way.

It was a pretty disappointing night for the rookie draft picks at receiver. J’Mon Moore was open several times but couldn’t record any catches. Marques Valdes-Scantling had one big 15-yard catch on a slant from Kizer, but that was it. Equanimeous St. Brown also didn’t produce much and dropped at least one pass, catching one. But I thought he got some good separation on in-breaking routes over the middle of the field.

JK Scott had a pretty mediocre night as a punter, and it’s safe to say that Mason Crosby should handle kickoffs for the time being.

Reggie Gilbert, obviously, was outstanding.

I thought Adam Pankey was a promising player to watch in this game. But he didn’t play very well, giving up pressures at both guard and tackle.

Though physically limited, Greer Martini is almost always in the right place at the right time.

Both Chris Odom and Kendall Donnerson flashed rushing the passer in the fourth quarter.

Vince Biegel was unimpressive for the most part, but began to produce in the fourth quarter. He had great pass rushes both bending around the outside and exploding through the inside shoulder of the offensive tackle.

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Not that it necessarily matters, but a few of Hunter Bradley‘s snaps seemed to be a bit too inside.