Defense puts up offense
The defense also got offensive. Tramon Williams was not going to let the young guys get all the highlights and returned the first pass of the game for a touchdown. Later in the third quarter, rookie Josh Jackson got in on the act and returned a Joshua Dobbs pass for a second touchdown by the defense.
Jackson’s day was not finished however, as he returned a punt for 41 yards. Making Jackson’s return more intriguing is that he showed he might be able to take the return job from injured Trevor Davis.
Davis has missed a lot of practice time this summer, and his roster spot was in jeopardy prior to this game. If Jackson can show he can handle punt returns, it could allow the Packers to move on from Davis and keep one of the other young receivers.
Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!
Building on a strong performance in game one of the preseason, Reggie Gilbert showed he’s next in line after Clay Matthews and Nick Perry in the pass rush rotation. Gilbert had 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble.
Gilbert’s emergence is a good sign for the defense. After Matthews and Perry, the Packers had nothing but question marks. If Gilbert can “stack success” and carry that into the regular season, the outside rush could be a problem for opposing offenses.
We know the defensive line should be the strength, but if Gilbert continues down this path, the Packers will have a trio of capable rushers to complement what should be a disruptive line.
Tonyan makes his case
The Packers have three legitimate veteran tight ends in Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks. All three showed in the game why they will be on the roster. But Robert Tonyan made a very good case to be the fourth tight end should the Packers keep that many.
Tonyan got open over the middle for a 14-yard gain and went up over a defender to catch a contested touchdown. At six-foot-five, Tonyan is yet another big target and is a player that could benefit learning from Graham, Lewis and Kendricks. Whether he makes it on the opening day 53-man roster or is able to be kept on the practice squad, Tonyan could be one to watch going forward.
There’s still two games to go in preseason. Next up are two road games, starting with the Oakland Raiders. I for one am excited about the development of the young players. Kumerow looks the part and Jackson showed some of the ball-hawk skills that made him a second-round pick. Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Graham and Davante Adams look ready to tear up the league.
The hope for the next two games is the young guys continue to develop while the starters stay healthy and sharp. We are less than a month away from the start of the regular season and the 2018 version of the Packers are giving us a lot to look forward to.