Packers Prove That Winning Isn't Everything

Encouraging signs despite a drubbing from the Texans.

The Green Bay coaches had a long list of things they wanted to accomplish in their preseason opener against the Houston Texans Saturday night.  Clearly, winning the game was at or near the bottom.  Shortly before kick-off, the Packers released a list of thirty players, fully one-third of their roster, who would not suit up for the game.  The non-participants included all of the team’s best players.  It didn't take long to realize there was simply not enough talent remaining on the field to be competitive. 

 

What the coaches did get was a useful sixty minute evaluation of their reserve and borderline players.  With such a collection of youth, unfamiliarity and inexperience playing the game, mistakes could be expected.  And there were many.  Coaches had to be a bit disappointed at the lack of execution and physicality, especially in the trenches, on both sides of the ball. 

 

Yet, even in the face of a 26 to 7 drubbing, there were some encouraging signs.  Jordan Love for example.  The offensive line in front of him, missing its three best tackles, gave him no running game.  The Packers had a total of three yards rushing while Love was playing.  The pass protection wasn’t much better.  Predictably, the offense began with two 3 and outs.  The lone drive where things began to click, was the third series.   

 

A quarterback in the NFL makes his living on third down.  If you can’t make big plays on third down, you can’t play in this league.  On third and nine at his own 13 yard line, Love looped a beautiful pass down the deep middle to a wide open Jace Sternberger for 34 yards.  What followed was a glimpse of what Packer fans hope to see for the next decade or so.  Love, dropping back, firing darts on schedule into tight windows, moving the team steadily downfield.  The drive ended with Love deftly executing a screen pass to Kylin Hill who ran 23 yards for the score.   

 

That was pretty much it.  The rest of the night saw drives scuttled by mistakes, turnovers, and mediocre play.  After the touchdown, Love would complete three more passes for 24 yards, one of them a nifty 16 yarder over the middle to Devin Funchess.  Love fumbled the ball away once when left tackle Yosh Nijman was beaten badly, and Love’s arm was hit as he was cocking it back.  Coach Matt LaFleur would later say the turnover was partly Love’s fault for dropping too deep. 

 

Love tweaked his shoulder on the play and did not return in the second half.  He finished 12 of 17 for 122 yards, one score, and a QBR of 117.4.  89 of the yards came on the touchdown drive.  Considering the lack of first team talent around him, it was about as good as you could expect.  I would have liked to see him use his legs to make a few plays.  One instance in particular, on third down, Love stepped up in the pocket and looked as though he could have run for the first, but instead took a checkdown which ended up short.  Most young signal callers trust their legs before their arm.  Love will learn to balance the two. 

 

Other players who helped themselves: 

 

Certainly Devin Funchess,  with six catches for 70 yards, including a spectacular grab on a throw over the middle.  He played like a guy who’s not only going to make the team, but who will challenge for the number two receiver position. 

 

Malik Taylor also showed some dependability with five receptions for fifty.  He served notice he isn’t ready to concede his spot on the roster to the newcomers just yet. 

 

Kylin Hill ran the screen pass beautifully into the end zone.  He also had runs of 8 yards and 5 yards.  Unfortunately, the 8 yarder was called back, and the 5 yarder was neutralized when Hill was tackled for losses three times due to a lack of blocking.  He would seem to be the leader in the clubhouse for the number three running back spot.  

 

Dexter Williams ran well late in the game, albeit against the bottom of the Texans roster.  Patrick Taylor looked a bit slow by comparison, with 22 yards in nine rushes. 

 

Oren Burks wants to play.  He was active and physical.  He had a sack and led the defense by playing a role in six tackles.  He was almost too aggressive, getting penalized for roughing the passer.  He recognizes there is an opportunity at inside linebacker.  He’s also in a contract year. 

 

Rookie defensive back Shemar Jean-Charles had a nice PBU, and Kabian Ento had an interception.  Vernon Scott made a diving knockdown of a pass at the goal line. 

 

Players who didn’t help themselves: 

 

It’s revealing when you’re a cornerback in the first preseason game and the opposing team targets you over and over.  That was the case with Josh Jackson, who struggled to cover and allowed several completions in front of him.  His play opened the door for Jean-Charles and Ento to move past him. 

 

Tackle Yosh Nijman had a rough night.  If Jordan Love’s shoulder injury turns out to be serious, Nijman will likely get the blame.  The Packers can’t rely on potential much longer.  It’s time for Yosh to start performing. 

 

The other tackle, Dennis Kelly, also struggled.  He gets a pass because he is new to the team, but Green Bay needs better if he is to be the third tackle. 

 

New special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton does a great media session, but his units played as dreadful as ever.  They gave up two long punt returns, a fumbled punt reception, and the inability to return a kickoff to the 25 yard line.  Drayton probably also deserves a pass because he was working with the bottom of the roster,  but that's generally who plays on the special team units.

 

No one would blame Matt LaFleur if he chooses to withhold all of his good players throughout the preseason.  After all, the main goals in August are to get a good read on your new talent, and to get to week one as healthy as possible.  Winning games?  He'll worry about that in September.

 

 

     

 

-----------------------------------

Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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10 points

Comments (78)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 16, 2021 at 06:50 am

The game was about player evaluation! Making a decision on all these young players is tough and now they have tape. Keep playing these young men and help Gutey and LF make the right decisions. I cannot imagine how tough so many of these calls are going to be this year.

Think the most interesting thing Saturday night was the Runyan experiment at center. Hanson should be concerned. Means the Packers want to free up a spot for another player/position.

11 points
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Guam's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:35 am

Agreed Knock. Runyan at center was a surprise. I think Hanson and Nijman will not make the cut. Patrick also played some center last year, so between Myers, Patrick and Runyan, the Packers should have plenty of depth at the center position.

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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 09:56 am

Agreed. The writing was on the wall for Hanson on night two of the draft when the Packers selected Myers.

"... between Myers, Patrick and Runyan, the Packers should have plenty of depth at the center position."

...don't forget that Jenkins is a pretty serviceable center himself.

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Guam's picture

August 16, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Yeah, but Jenkins is a much better guard and tackle!!!!

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:01 pm

Jenkins will never be playing center. LG and a threat to unseat Bhak at the LT. The guy is an ALLPRO

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Turophile's picture

August 16, 2021 at 01:20 pm

Agreed KTSOOY.
Pleased to hear Oren Burks stood out. He was dismissed (in my mind) as much as Josh Jackson was, before a game was played..............but just maybe he has found something in year 4 (it is surely the last chance he gets to show he has advanced enough to make the final 53).

Love sounded better than I had hoped for - he must have been very nervous in his first start.

As for the rest, time will tell.

In an earlier post I stated that I thought Hill was the most likely RB3 - for where he was taken, he was my favourite pick on draft day (WR Amari Rodgers coming in second).

I would have liked to have DL Barmore or Onwuzurike with the first pick, but it was not to be - the Packers have coveted DBs with high picks much more than any other position for more than half a decade, so no real surprise there.

I have nothing against Myers (round 2). It says a lot about how well the Packers viewed Myers (given how much the Packers love high RAS scores), that they picked Myers over Creed Humphrey (who had a perfect 10 RAS and went the following pick).

I still believe the Packers keep only 5 WRS (Adams Lazard, MVS, Cobb and Rodgers) because of the attractiveness of extra TE and OL prospects this year, but if they DO keep six I expected Malik Taylor (who had a nice night) to be that guy, mainly because of how many ST units he plays on. For Funchess to make it, it might require him to outplay Lazard to get on the final 53 (I am assuming Cobb is un-cuttable, to keep AR happy). At least he is doing what he can to make it as difficult as possible to cut him.

Of course any position might afford opportunities if there is injury, which is likely to happen somewhere before the regular season. Then it is down to the next guy to rise up.

PS I also think Runyan is a front runner for a starting guard position, maybe even over Lucas Patrick (but both should make the team fairly easily).

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Minniman's picture

August 16, 2021 at 02:22 pm

Re your point about only keeping 5 WR’s:

If I read your post correctly T (and excuse me if I didn’t), you intimated that you didn’t see the game. If you have the opportunity, go and have a look at it. Sure, it was just one game, and against another team exploring its depth chart, however Funchess did some really good things and played like he wanted it.He also looks like a TE with his size and catch radius. With his size and tendencies you may see him retained as as “tweener” type who can do some TE and WR work.

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:03 pm

They didn't sign him to sit. NFL veteran vs some scrubs, you make the call.

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Minniman's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:44 pm

yes that hard catch in traffic and taking the hit was NOT one that a rookie was going to make.

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Turophile's picture

August 17, 2021 at 06:01 am

You are right Minniman, I haven't seen the game yet. Have a hospital op getting in the way of seeing it now, but should get to watch it next week.

From what I've read Funchess was good, that size really helps him. Runyan however, seems to have been a disappointment - he was better than this last year. Lucas Patrick was also said to be less than what I hoped for

Still time for bottom of roster guys to shine, but the sun is setting on Josh Jackson and ESB.

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Oppy's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:40 pm

Was Hill the guy I was defiantly sleeping on / ruling out a few weeks ago?

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Bearmeat's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:04 am

I was encouraged by Love. Hill is going to be a player. Myers is already a good starter. Funchess had a good start, but needs to find a way to contribute on teams more. 90 and 93 showed something on D without Clark or any of the other front line starters. Burks showed up, but we'll see. He's been a bust for awhile.

I hope Love is able to practice this week. This is a huge week for him and for Gute to evaluate him.

8 points
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Guam's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:28 am

Wisconsin State Journal just published an article saying Love would miss at least two days of practice this week and could be out all week including the Jets game depending on how he progresses.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:21 am

We all knows how "conservative" are Packers medical staff. But this caution has it reason. If there was pain, no matter how short it was, it is normal to presume something happend. Despite medical examination did not show changes in any tissue (what is reported) because small wounds in tissues may be micrscopical or even smaller, it is decided to rest Jordan Love for few days. Remember that, smaller is the wound, it will heal faster. So it is much better choice to rest him than assuming there were no injury and let small wounds become larger and longer to heal by insisting on practicing.

1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

August 16, 2021 at 01:25 pm

His MRI was clean so just soreness.

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Minniman's picture

August 16, 2021 at 02:41 pm

….. and somewhere in Mississippi Favre probably kicked an inanimate object in disgust!

“That’s no reason to leave the field…..”

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:45 am

Great to see that you finally took off the tin foil hat (for now) Bearmeat. ;)

The one thing about Burks, is I don't really want to say that he has been a bust so far. He just got injured at the wrong times his first 2 season, and last year they tried switching him to OLB. So I don't think it was as much of being a bust as it is about getting hurt, and playing out of position.

3 points
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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 09:59 am

They had Burks playing downhill most of the night...and against an OL as bad as Houston's, that means a lot of play in their backfield. He was around the ball all night.

I give him credit for showing up and doing his job, but every other ILB in that role on Saturday-- De'Jon Harris, especially--looked just as good.

8 points
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Bearmeat's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:21 am

It's realism, RC. Say it with me: realism. ;)

If Burks was really that misused by Pettine, then he deserved to be fired years ago. But for now, I'm going to hold off on that train of thought. As Dobber says below, all the ILBs looked like that, and Burks does have a track record of playing himself off the field.

6 points
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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:30 am

" As Dobber says below,..."

I'm up there, man. ^^^
Eyes up, dude.

5 points
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Bearmeat's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:46 am

What am I, some kind of piece of meat to you? Keep your eyes on my face when I'm talking! ;)

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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:08 am

"What am I, some kind of piece of meat to you?"

I thought it was explicit in the name...

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:11 am

Honestly I don't really want to say he was misused by Pettine, but I do know he got hurt 2 times in his first 2 years which really did hurt his chances to get on the field. His first year I believe he missed the first 2 games due to injury which put him behind. His 2nd year, some national talkshow host (I can't remember who it was now) said that they had player primed to take off, and that was the reason why he was very high on the defense. Just after that he got hurt and missed however many games and never was the same after that. His 3rd year/Last year they moved him around and was playing him at OLB. Not the place he should be. Now he is back at ILB, and in a scheme that might use his skillset more.

I'm not saying he is going to be Patrick Willis or anything. But perhaps the light has gone on, and the defense he is in now fits what he does better. Burks could be a guy that was really an afterthought for many to be a productive player. We shall see. Someone I think most of us will be watching the next 2 games though.

4 points
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Minniman's picture

August 16, 2021 at 02:36 pm

Sometimes your most powerful weapon is underestimation too!

He may very well end up being only a 1 or 2 trick pony - but if Barry uses him smartly, he could very well be highly effective a few snaps a game (when defenses underestimate him and leave him clean - or only put a small RB on him).

On one play he did shoot a half gap nicely - got small when he needed to and got into the backfield.

1 points
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scullyitsme's picture

August 16, 2021 at 01:18 pm

Fuchness will be the number 2. One preseason game was enough to show he has more talent then mvs or Lazard, those two better work on their special teams.

-3 points
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NickPerry's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:09 am

I don't care who wins the preseason games, it doesn't matter one bit at the end of the day. Getting to week one HEALTHY in priority one.

Sorry but I just haven't seen this "Potential" for Yosh Nijman. That dude looked TERRIBLE Saturday and for a guy who doesn't pay that much attention to the O-Line other than sometimes the tackles, he was downright scary bad and NOT in the way Aaron Rodgers is a "Bad Man". Yosh Nijman is just BAD!

That's a bummer about Dennis Kelly. I guess I didn't notice as much how bad he played. The O-Line had issues but I thought Meyers looked okay, especially on the screen pass for the TD to Hill.

I was TOTALLY bummed about Josh Jackson. I had hoped he might start to show something in Barry's system. He was actually the focal point of the Packers defense the Texans targeted and he sure didn't disappoint the Texans. He gave up EVERYTHING!

Oren Burks!!! He played really well. He played fast (which he is) and made the tackle wrapping up FINISHING the tackle. He also made a nice ST tackle IIRC too.

The Packers medical staff is at times OVERLY cautious. Hopefully that's the case with Love. The kid did pretty dame well all things considered. No O-Line, running game, OR last seasons top 3 WR's, top TE, and #1 blocking TE, no problem. Two thumbs up for Love.

7 points
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jont's picture

August 16, 2021 at 09:17 am

A few comments are up criticizing Yosh Nijman but PFF ranked him the 4th best performer on offense for the game. They say that while he gave up a strip-sack "he was otherwise solid over 54 snaps".

I know PFF has it critics, but this is an interesting contrast in assessments.

I am in no position to evaluate any player, but FWIW NickPerry's opinion on this one carries weight with me, and he's saying good bye to the fellow.

2 points
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NickPerry's picture

August 18, 2021 at 05:28 am

Wow...I didn't realize he graded THAT highly but I haven't looked at PFF yet. Then again, the Packers offense didn't look very good at all so 4th overall on offense might not be saying much. That 3rd drive when they scored was pretty much it wasn't it?

0 points
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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:02 am

I'm not a fan of Lucas Patrick, but I thought he played a pretty good game on Saturday--probably more snaps than expected, too--but they had to give Love a little help out there.

Speaking of Love...I still think he plays against the Jets.

4 points
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Oppy's picture

August 17, 2021 at 06:03 pm

Don't shoot the messenger, but I found PFF's grades of the Packers v. Texans to be at odds with a lot of the comments here.

On Yosh Nijman (Who they rated 4th best offensive performance from the pack):

"A surprise here. Nijman gave up a strip-sack in the first half, but he was otherwise solid over 54 snaps. He played the entire game at left tackle

Other surprises in the article. https://packerswire.usatoday.com/lists/packers-pff-grades-best-worst-pla...

0 points
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nostradanus's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:23 am

I understand holding your big stars out, but to put your star future franchise QB behind that collection of OL? We saw the result with an almost devastating injury! At least give the kid a chance to shine for a few series.

Hill, Funchess and Josh Myers were pretty good on offense.

Burks, Heflin, Scott, Black and Rivers made some plays on Defense.

Jackson showed that he just can’t play.

The special teams were again dreadful no matter who is on them.

The backup O Line was also quite pathetic.

The bright spots were Love hanging in there and showing that he has an NFL arm and that that arm was not severely damaged.

ND

12 points
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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:04 am

Started to see some of what people have been liking about Heflin. He played a lot of snaps, was active, and was around the ball a lot. Nice job to catch and trip up a runner in the backfield.

6 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Maybe he replaces Lancaster?

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:27 am

When watching the Preseason games the last thing I look at is the score. Sure it feels great to win. Who doesn't want to win every game they can. But preseason is about the individual players more then the team.

I thought overall Love was good. Not great, but good. In his first game action in a year and a half or so, he played well. Definitely has some skills.

Players that I thought stood out.

Hill - First they had him as the top KR. IMO, if he is healthy he is the 3rd RB. He looked really good I thought.

Funchess - He looked like a guy who is hungry. He looked really good. He just looked like a different WR then anyone else on the field.
Taylor - he did make some nice looking plays.

Slaton - They appear to be getting him ready for a lot of playing time this year. He looked really good in the action i saw of him.

Burks - I thought he was the best defender on the team on Saturday. If he continues to play like he was, he could be looking to earn some playing time. Maybe the light bulb has went off with Burks. Perhaps its the new DC that has made a difference. I just know he was very active.

That interception by Ento was really, really good. I thought he had a good game.

Scott - He is another guy looking to earn playing time. I would much rather see Scott out there then Redmond. Also Black looked good as well.

I didn't get a great look at the OL or DL play. I want to go back and rewatch the entire game to see how some players looked.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Love. If he has to miss some practice time and even the game, that will be a really big blow for him. Huge missed opportunity.

6 points
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stockholder's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:31 am

How many years does Rodgers have to put up with a bad defense? If they can get Myers starting. What the hell is the problem with the rest of them? Be honest. The flash in the pan is obvious. You have a guy 3 years and 1 game says the Light went on.? You win in the trench. It wasn't hard to figure out why the packers lost. I want more Scott. He just might be ready to break out.

-4 points
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Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:58 am

We have to stop making excuses for Rodgers.
There are very few perfect situations in football, or in life. A great quarterback overcomes the deficiencies on his team and maximizes the capabilities.
It's time for Rodgers to consider what he can do better to get back to the Super Bowl after falling short in his last four NFC Championship Games.
***
In the last championship game against the Bucs in January, Rodgers failed to produce in the fourth quarter -- including a late opportunity of first-and-goal at the 8 yard line.
It seems we should be questioning and scrutinizing Rodgers about how well he cooperated with his coach in those critical moments and how well he utilized all of his teammates.
To make excuses for Rodgers is to enable him to continue with any mistakes he may have made in the past, rather than urging him to introspection and self-improvement.
Rodgers has made it clear he is the superstar MVP who deserves to be able to interfere in personnel decisions, and probably coaching decisions.
Despite his striking pronouncement of superiority, I'm not so sure that his record on the field is all that impressive as far as doing what it takes to win.
It seems we could continue to not win Super Bowls with a quarterback at a fraction of the salary of Rodgers.
It's up to Rodgers to realize that quarterback is more than pretty passes and highlight plays. It's up to us to not coddle him, but to help him to focus on the process of self-awareness.

0 points
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croatpackfan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:40 am

Do you know that Tom Brady played 1st snaps for this preseason game for Bucks. He even suffered the sack to the ground. No crying during or after the game...

Somebody should warn on that our Diva.

0 points
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Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:58 am

Thanks, croat, I didn't know that about the Bucs and Brady. I wish I could talk football with you on the shores of the Adriatic Sea and in the cafes of what is a great country.
I tend to doubt myself in my comments, and it's nice to know that another team with modest success in the recent past backed up my opinion by doing things differently than the Packers.
I wonder if Brady was covered in bubble wrap? Did he receive psychological counseling afterward for any trauma he may have suffered mentally or physically? Will he get a spa day courtesy of team management and have off until Thursday?
I wonder if Devin White on defense was excused from that first preseason game so that he could soak in a hot tub while watching on a big-screen TV and sipping on a strawberry smoothie. After all, he may have had pulled muscle somewhere.
You just can't be too careful with these NFL players ;-).

-2 points
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croatpackfan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 02:21 pm

If you ever come to Croatia, announce to me and I will gladly sat with you to discuss Packers, football or anything else.

But I have to warn you I do not know that much of football. And I am aware of the fact. My criticism of Aaron Rodgers performances come from that ground (not knowing that much of the football), because if I was able to see his failure clearly, how large that failure must be...

1 points
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Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 04:00 pm

Thanks, croatpackfan. It would be a pleasure if it could somehow happen.
I don't claim to be an expert on the Packers, either. On the plus side, this is my 50th year as a fan, so I've have a little experience to work with.
Much of what I know these days comes from the staff and the fans here at CHTV.
Even though my opinions are often expressed strongly, I am glad to hear compelling replies on the other side. I do have doubt.
***
In any case, we could also talk about European history -- of which I am also not an expert, but an enthusiast; and you could be my tutor and perhaps tour guide in learning about Croatia -- which would be a treat for me.
My grandfather immigrated from Slovakia to Milwaukee as a boy in the early 1900s before World War One, when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire -- which also included Croatia, as I understand it.
His family was German and Slavic -- and in general the Croatians are also Slavic, as I understand it.
My grandfather's town was not all that far from Vienna, and my great-grandmother apparently took him and some siblings there on pilgrimage on at least one occasion, to St. Stephen's cathedral. I was named after it.
***
Whatever happens, my best to you. It's good to have a Packers fans in Croatia, perhaps more. God bless you and your country.

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The_Justicar's picture

August 22, 2021 at 07:30 am

Swisch -we actually share some European background. My great grandfather left around WW1 to come to USA and is Croatian descent. Prior to the war he was actually IN the austro-Hungarian army. My great grandmother came from Slovakia as well (while her maiden name is more from prague her family lived in what is now Slovakia and not the Czech Republic.). Both great grandparents relocated to Milwaukee / South Milwaukee around WW1. So, Croatian and Slovakian on one side of my family seems similar to you. Small world.

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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:06 am

The Packers treated Saturday's game like a glorified scrimmage. They got what you'd expect under the circumstances.

You're just ranting at air at this point.

6 points
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Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:43 am

Actually, dobber, your first paragraph seems to cry out for ranting :-).
With the tone set by Aaron Rodgers, it appears the Packers are becoming a pampered group of babies just pushed around by one of the worst teams in the NFL.
I'm not so sure that's going to change dramatically at the beginning of the regular season.
Maybe they'll manage just fine in their softness, though, until they meet a team like the Bucs that smashes them in the mouth.
Then fans will wonder what went wrong, and blame it on deciding to kick a field goal after Rodgers throws three straight incompletions in the red zone.

0 points
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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:09 am

...I only cry out for donuts... ;)

5 points
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Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 03:37 pm

To quote a great American (I don't know if he's real or not), "Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"

2 points
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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 08:41 pm

Confucious say...

1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:35 am

Having had multiple shoulder injuries myself they can linger for a long time even with an MRI does not show anything. Having watched the play and then watching Love till half-time if I was a betting man I'd say he is totally fine, however we will wait and see!

8 points
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Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:37 am

I don't think the preseason is only about player evaluation, but also about preparing the team for the regular season.
It's good to be cautious about injuries, but not afraid. Don't be wimpy. Let's get the starters out there to play some football.
There are only three preseason games nowadays, and it seems they are invaluably important for getting a team ready for playing together in terms of assignments, adjustments, and timing.
So, for example, if Rodgers would play with the first unit for only one quarter of each game -- perhaps 8 minutes on the field, and a dozen or so plays -- then he could get in sync with the starters in game situations so as to hit the regular season running.
This would actually help to keep Rodgers from injury in those first games that count in the standings, because the offense would be more prepared to face the total assault of defenses in their all-out attacks of the regular-season.
Rodgers has been severely injured in recent years in the first one or two games of the regular season. Perhaps that could have been averted if the offense had been fine-tuned in the preseason.
***
P.S. Sad to say, Rodgers has made it clear in public he doesn't want to play in the preseason, which means that Coach LaFleur looks bad if he plays Rodgers. This seems a stunt of Rodgers acting the prima donna in intimidating his head coach.
Without humility, and an appreciation of defined roles on a football team, Rodgers is too smart for his own good -- and the good of the whole team.

-5 points
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Coldworld's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:42 am

Using the first game to get a ton of film on players in a game context for training purposes as well as shaking up the roster and evaluation. The exception might be the O Line.

I watched it again, that line looked out of sync with itself from the start. Meyers and Patrick were decent, but guards and tackles were out of synch and the guard play was poor after Patrick. That included Runyon, who was worryingly movable and less stout than Braden, who wasn’t great.

Both tackles were under pressure. For the most part Nijman looked the better of the two and perhaps the best run blocker. Kelly looked worse, which is hard to explain away. Nijman got fooled as in the sack, but I really am not sure that’s all that surprising in a player playing for the first time in a long time. I am more worried by Kelly, Runyon and Braden in that order.

I will say that Runyon did not seem to be any worse than Hansen at C. I think though that Patrick is well ahead of him at guard after last Saturday. Kelly is a mystery to me. If I didn’t know what he did last season I’d say he has no ability. Braden might be the next guard up.

All that said, I’m not an expert, and figuring out why outcomes occurred in that mess will undoubtedly require looking at why others were not doing what I’d expect on plays. I am left being a little less down on Nijman and a lot more concerned about Kelly and Runyon.

As far as the offense goes, Hill left plays on the field in the ground game. It’s his first game, but he looked the least aware of the three in terms of running. Something to watch.

Funchess should be a lock after that. His play just stands out still after rewatch. Have to acknowledge Taylor too. He seems to have progressed, finds space and catches everything. Definitely a player we could pull off the PS and hope to contribute.

Jackson had two good plays over the middle when the ball came to him. On the perimeter he played so soft and was so cautious. It’s got to be in his head. I’m not sure that can be fixed at this point. Let Hollman play. If Jackson is still here, just tell him to throw caution to the wind and attack the ball and see what happens. Last chance gambit.

Special teams was every bit as bad as it looked live, if not worse. I’m not sure I can give Drayton a full pass. If it is that disorganized next week, I may be suggesting we sack him before the season. These are players he’s been working with and they nearly all looked lost continually.

4 points
6
2
CheesyTex's picture

August 16, 2021 at 01:40 pm

Thanks, Coldworld, you're right on -- especially your comments on OL. After reading other posts before yours, I was really questioning whether or not I was seeing the game clearly.

Just an exhibition game, but I came away feeling better about Nijman and worse about Runyan for the very reasons you stated.

1 points
2
1
PatB's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:46 pm

Agree with almost all of this. I hope Hollman gets a fair shot.

0 points
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0
Guam's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:51 am

Oren Burks' play surprised me the most on Saturday night. He actually looked good. Unfortunately I am a crusty old cynic and Burks is going to have to show me more than one game to prove he belongs on the roster. He has been such a major disappointment to date that he will have to play well all three preseason games to convince me he is a keeper at this stage.

Jace Sternberger also looked better than expected. He did not flash as much as Burks, but he contributed. Maybe Gute's third round curse is lifting....????

Special teams are a major concern. They just looked disorganized and that shouldn't happen even if it is with bottom of the roster players. I don't think it was so much lack of talent as it was lack of discipline. And that is on the coach. Drayton talks a great game, but he needs to show he can coach special teams and he flunked his first quiz.

6 points
6
0
Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 08:05 am

As the current expression goes, stay in your lane.
It doesn't seem all that hard for the special teams to have some semblance of order and discipline.
The big tackles don't happen if they're not in the right positions.

1 points
2
1
Matt Gonzales's picture

August 16, 2021 at 09:44 am

There were some communication issues that got called out on the TV broadcast for ST, including Drayton possibly not knowing which players were actually available to him. While the sloppiness is concerning, I would give it a week or two. I'm guessing they're evaluating a lot of guys there too. Once roles are a bit more solidified we will have a better sense of how this unit really looks.

Burks - if he makes it to the 53 and can show that same kind of disruption on game day that bodes well for us, as it gives more flexibility on where to deploy our edge rushers. It was great to see a LB penetrate the pocket from inside without having to move Z in to do it. Still not sold on him, but if he can show that same focus throughout the PS and maybe also bring that downhill speed and power gunning punts/kicks that would bode well.

Sternberger is playing for his football life and I think he knows it. He's already behind Tonyan on the depth chart and he needs to show he offers more upside than Ngata.

1 points
2
1
LeotisHarris's picture

August 16, 2021 at 08:27 am

It's possible to experience a good drubbing and still accomplish the goal of seeing how well players play. Keeping our focus on football (and not those individuals who like to be drubbed in their personal lives), I think it's important to remember the wise words of former Vice President, Dan Quayle, who said "...a drubbing in the preseason is sad, but not as sad as a regular season drubbing. How true that is!"

3 points
4
1
mrtundra's picture

August 16, 2021 at 08:49 am

I'll put the blame for the fumble, between Benkert and Hill, on Hill. He did not give Benkert anywhere to put the ball as he ran past Benkert, or so it appeared to me, after watching the replays. Otherwise, I like Hill's game.

2 points
3
1
dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:10 am

It seemed to me that Benkert couldn't get to the spot, and when the play was getting away from him, he didn't pull the ball back and eat it.

0 points
2
2
Matt Gonzales's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:39 am

I'd chalk the whole thing up to two young and inexperienced players. Benkert had his timing off from the looks of it, but Hill didn't adjust either.

If it happens again in the PS for either of them I'd have more reason to be concerned.

1 points
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Hematite's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:43 am

I agree!
Hill didn't make any pocket whatsoever for Benkert to tuck the ball into.
Hill looked like he didn't expect the ball.

2 points
2
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Vforrest's picture

August 16, 2021 at 08:53 am

30 players didn’t suit up which means the guys you’ll see on Sunday so we see what the evaluators are looking. 60+ guys battling for very few jobs so they put them in situations man to man how do you stack up…love it. This is the first step in finding those diamonds in the rough!

4 points
4
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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:10 am

I think there's a small cutdown on Wednesday this week? 10 players?

1 points
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1
croatpackfan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:38 am

to 80 players I believe...

0 points
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1
packer132's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:02 am

Tuesday Packers need to cut 5 players, and the following Tuesday 5 more (to 80)

4 points
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croatpackfan's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:39 pm

Yea, you are right. My bad...

0 points
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Hematite's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:45 am

They have to cut five by Tuesday afternoon.

3 points
3
0
murf7777's picture

August 16, 2021 at 08:59 am

I agree with your thoughts Ken. I really agree about Funchess possibly working as the 2 or 3 receiver. That was my thoughts this summer. We just don’t have a person with his size and abilities that he has shown in the NFL. Maybe Lazards steps up to another level, but I suspect we’ve seen his full potential, which is pretty good. MVS is a one trick pony, albeit a very good one trick. Funchess is a WR in a TE body and can play outside and inside equally well. He is a bigger mismatch then others, not named Adams.

It will be either Lazards or Funchess and Funchess wins if he catches the ball at a higher percentage then his Carolina days. I think with Rodgers vs Newton throwing the ball he will. The one handed catch over the middle was an amazing play and shows his abilities.

RB position looks to be very competitive and will take another game or two to figure out, but Hill put on a show that puts him into the lead.

ST was ugly and needs vast improvement in game 2.

Ento looked good, very instinctive INT. Shemar is one I want to see more of and see if he continues his strong play. IF so, he could be a steal like I suspect Hill will be. Jackson showed some good plays, but too many where he was faked out to easily.

Slayton needs playing time. Early on before he should’ve been tired he was pushed back two yards. He needs to get his pads lower. This was a problem with his run D in college. The good thing is that it is fixable if he is motivated to put the work in.

I’m cautiously optimistic about Burks, he played lights out blitzing and covering the run. Can he cover pass catches is my concern.

7 points
8
1
Matt Gonzales's picture

August 16, 2021 at 02:54 pm

It's normal to see guys looking gassed after their first extended PS action. Hopefully after a couple weeks Slayton will be in better game shape from a physical and mental endurance standpoint, but with his size conditioning could be a concern.

1 points
2
1
HarryHodag's picture

August 16, 2021 at 09:04 am

Aug. 2, 1963 the annual College All-Star- pro champion game was played. The Packers had just won their second straight NFL title. The All-Stars had several future pro stars including perhaps the last great QB from Wisconsin, Ron VanderKelen, and his top receiving target at Wisconsin Pat Richter. Richter had a good pro career and as we know, later led the Wisconsin athletic department.

The All-Stars beat the Packers 20-17 in a shocking upset. Vince Lombardi apologized for the embarrassing exhibition loss.

I think the Packers recovered nicely from that pre-season loss.

Moral or the story: even the greatest don't care about exhibition games.

4 points
4
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Swisch's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:34 am

On August 3, 1963, quarterback Bart Starr told the public he didn't think preseason games were necessary to his delicate psyche, and that he didn't think it was worth the risk of injury to his delicate physique.
He also said that his leadership of the Packers to two straight championships entitled him to have a say in such coaching matters plus personnel decisions.
Further, he criticized head coach and general manager Vince Lombardi for the ruthlessness and callousness of many his previous decisions about veteran players.
Coach Lombardi responded by giving Starr a big hug the first time the two were seen together. He nodded approvingly when Starr said he'd really like to have Don Hutson back as a reliable veteran wide receiver, and had a few other ideas for immediately improving the team.
Starr was given a parking place to next to that of Lombardi and a cushy office at headquarters, with Lombardi promising profusely that he would be consulted day and night anytime the Packers made even the most minor move.
Due to this enlightened policy of elevating Starr to in effect player-coach-GM, the Pacers went from victory to victory and championship to championship.
All the Packers and their fans lived happily ever after. In retirement, Lombardi and Starr would open a chain of frozen custard shops as co-partners. It was all so beautiful.

-2 points
4
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jannes bjornson's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:22 pm

Mohawk or Buzz cut?

1 points
1
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Since'61's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:05 am

Harry - Except that the Packers did not reach the NFL championship that season. The Packers went 11-2-1 in 1963 however the Bears went 11-1-2 and won the then NFL Western Conference and the defeated the NY Giants for the NFL title.

The Packers 2 losses came against the Bears. No playoffs back then so the Packers had no chance to win 3 NFL titles in a row after winning in '61 and '62. 1963 was also the season that Paul Hornung was suspended for the season for betting on NFL games. Now players commit domestic violence and commit other crimes and are allowed to play. Maybe with Hornung the Packers beat the Bears at least once and they go on to their first 3 in a row. We'll never know but the fact remains that the preseason was meaningless then and it's meaningless now.

Although in the Lombardi days the preseason was necessary to get the players in shape since most of them had off season jobs in order to survive through the year until the football season. Today's players have no such problem. Thanks, Since '61

6 points
6
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splitpea1's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:04 am

I was only able to watch a condensed version of the game later (I probably missed a lot), but three things:

1) Love looked pretty good to me; the fact that he doesn't take off at the first sign of trouble is encouraging.

2) Jackson gives up too much cushion and doesn't have the speed to make up for it when the ball comes his way; it's past time for Gute to give up here.

3) No one can possibly expect an instant turnaround from this ST unit with a bunch of bubble players at the start; this is going to be a long-term process, so we're going to have to be patient; please don't throw the coach under the bus yet.

10 points
10
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

August 16, 2021 at 02:08 pm

A few scattered thoughts:

What I wanted to see most from Love in his first game was progress - not brilliance - as progress is more sustainable.

Even though the o-line were on their heels for much of the game - I was a little disappointed that K. Hill could not find a way - even a little bit - to find a hole. So still some work on his part.

Caveat emptor - the "new" Oren Burks. It seems that if he is going forward and in a straight line - he may be useful. However if he has to move laterally or backwards - I posit that he remains the "old" Oren Burks (and LB's do spend a good deal of their time moving laterally and backwards).

The first cutdown to 85 players is in a day or two. Please Gutekunst, in all that is kind and merciful, free Josh Jackson from this misguided notion that he is somehow an NFL caliber CB. Do the right thing and un-protect him. If you do not, I can only assume it is due to hubris.

As we continue to be traumatized by the horrors of ST play - I am giving Drayton a pass on the Texans game. He is a new co-ordinator and is just learning about his personnel. How he adjusts and makes changes to the STs for the next game(s) - should be a truer test of his competencies and abilities.

4 points
5
1
jannes bjornson's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:28 pm

Gutedkunst drafted Jackson and Burks and it cost him a NFC CH game @ HOME. Best for him to clear that deck and try to save his job with a new set of cards.

-1 points
0
1
LambeauPlain's picture

August 16, 2021 at 01:44 pm

I believe the Packers got solid information on Saturday. Love can play OK with 3rd and 4th stringers, Jackson can't play, and Runyan auditioned to be Patrick's back up. Runyan was very mediocre.

Got a lot of info on STs, or lack thereof. At the time of Drayton's promotion I failed to see the logic of promoting the top assistant of both Zook and Mennenga. After Saturday, I am still looking for the logic.

Oh, and Funchess showed he can play, especially against backups and backups to backups. How he makes the roster is beyond me. Cobb took his likely spot. I think 6 WRs is a luxury for a team that runs as much it passes and uses the TEs all over the field.

5 points
5
0
packer132's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:19 pm

Good points Plain. I doubt if Jackson is cut on Tuesday, but better be gone by the end of camp. Not hiring a special teams coach seems to have been a big mistake. Drayton has been a coach for several years and new blood is needed. I doubt Packers could get much for Funchess in a trade, and I agree about keeping 5 wide receivers. Still a few weeks for younger players to impress and make the team.

1 points
1
0
CheesyTex's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:43 pm

Thumbs up for your comments. Still think Funchess has a chance to make the roster -- you just can't teach size and experience, and IF he's all in IMO he'll bump one of our favorites. He just seems to fit what MLF likes to do.

1 points
1
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ImaPayne's picture

August 17, 2021 at 08:26 am

Under the former four game scenario, I think most coaches used the first two games to evaluate and ferret out players, by game three your installng the a team, at least a few series and game four, dress rehearsal baby.
Thus I would assume some a teamers take the field the next game and we can see the mix.
Pass d is a huge problem still. Gutt did nothing to really fix this.

-1 points
1
2