Packers v. Texans: Behind The Numbers

In a new series, here are some of the key numbers and stats from the Green Bay Packers' first preseason game against Houston.

Beginning this season, I'll have my new By the Numbers series here at Cheesehead TV, which will follow each Green Bay Packers game. 

My goal with these articles is to highlight the numbers, or stats, that defined the game. This could include third-down percentage -- good or bad -- red zone success -- again, good or bad -- or maybe there's a particular player who has a big game. It will all vary week to week, just depending on what takes place.

The big difference between the preseason version of these articles and the regular season is that you won't see many team stats this time of the year. The reason being, we don't care if the Green Bay Packers win or lose in the preseason. So the preseason will largely be focused on individual performances. 

Now that we have that out of the way, let's take a look back at some key statistics from the Green Bay Packers matchup with Houston.

7 completions on 10 targets for 91 yards

No, unfortunately, this is not one of the Green Bay Packers receivers, but rather Josh Jackson's stat line. From the very start of the game, it was clear that the Houston Texans were going to target him heavily, regardless of who was at quarterback or who the receiver was.

It's a crucial summer for Jackson, who is a cut candidate, but he hasn't had the best training camp up to this point, and his performance on Saturday night was rough, to say the least. The same issues that have plagued him during his first three years are still there, and it could all stem from his below-average speed. 

The defensive holding penalties that have been abundant, the extra cushion he provides receivers, and against Houston, we really saw the Texans take advantage of Jackson with comeback routes that he was unable to get to. It's now or never for Jackson. 

2.3 yards per rush

No, the Green Bay Packers didn't have David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, or Billy Turner, but as offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said, the offensive line play, particularly against the run, was "very bad."

As the headline indicates, the Packers would rush for only 2.3 yards per carry, and really that figure is inflated by Dexter Williams picking up 32 yards in the fourth quarter. Kylin Hill finished with -2 yards, and Patrick Taylor averaged only 2.4 yards per rush. According to PFF, the Packers' offensive line would also allow five pressures, a sack, and a forced fumble. 

The big battle taking place upfront is for the two guard positions while Bakhtiari is sidelined. During practice, we've seen Ben Braden, Lucas Patrick, and Jon Runyan rotating at those two spots with the starting offense. However, those jobs appear to be wide open yet, especially after Saturday's performance, with Adam Stenavich saying, "nobody has really stepped up and risen above the rest." 

110.4

That is Jordan Love's passer rating from his first career NFL game--not bad. And I think most would agree that this was a solid debut for him. Love finished the game going 12/17 for 122 yards with one touchdown. 

As I discussed in Friday's article, it's all about the process and less about the results for Love at this point in his career, but the results were decent because Love was solid with his footwork and going through his progressions. 

QB coach Luke Getsy would mention on Sunday that Love's footwork and tempo have been up and down during training camp, but he would describe those two aspects of Love's game solid in his preseason debut. He was very balanced on many of his pass attempts, found his rhythm on that scoring drive, attacked the middle of the field, and went through his reads.

If there's one area for Love to improve upon in the coming weeks, it would be that he "let that sucker rip," as Hackett told reporters, and Matt LaFleur echoed similar sentiments. "As he gets that trust aspect, he'll be able to pull the trigger more and more. That just comes with time," said Hackett. 

120 yards

With the sixth receiver spot up for grabs, we saw Devin Funchess and Malik Taylor both have some excellent performances against the Texans. Funchess stole the show, hauling in six receptions on eight targets for 70 yards, but let's not forget about Taylor, who caught all five of his targets for 50 yards.

We also saw Taylor make two key blocks on wide receiver screens, and he was with the starting special teams unit as a gunner as well. 

Receivers coach Jason Vrable would say that Funchess "did a great job," and that "it's been there all throughout training camp. I think he's been winning his one-on-ones."

11 tackles 

There is a lot of inexperience on the depth chart behind Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage at the safety position, but Vernon Scott and Henry Black sure impressed, as they were all over the field on Saturday night. The duo totaled 11 tackles, six for Scott and 5 for Black, and made several of those tackles near the line of scrimmage. Scott would also add a pass breakup as well. 

We would also see their versatility on display as both players spent time at free safety, in the box, and even in the slot. Scott and Black have been the primary third safeties on the field during training camp practices.

7 tackles, 2 pressures, 1 sack

I mean, who saw this coming? What a night for Oren Burks. Like Jackson, it's really now or never for him, but Burks' first preseason game of the year went in a completely different direction. When it was all said and done, he made seven tackles, forced two pressures, and came away with a sack, along with another tackle on special teams.

Joe Barry utilized Burks often as a blitzer, which allowed him to show off that speed and quickness of his--and he sure did look like he was playing much faster than what we've seen in the past. Burks chalked that up to simply trusting what he sees:

"(I'm) feeling extremely confident in this camp," Burks said via Packers.com. "Focus for me this offseason has been trusting my training and believing what I see and playing fast. I felt like that came to fruition in this game."

"It's definitely slowing down," Burks said. "I feel my playing outside last year helped a little bit becoming a better football player in terms of knowledge and what to anticipate in the run fits and things like that."

17 special teams snaps

Ray Wilborn and Innis Gaines led the team with 17 special teams snaps each. The reason that this is noteworthy is that many of the final roster spots are going to be determined by special teams contributions rather than what that player can bring to the offensive or defensive side of the ball. If you're one of the last players on the depth chart, you likely aren't going to see many snaps on offense or defense, meaning, you better be able to help on special teams. 

So after each preseason game, take note of who saw their fair share of special teams snaps, but also those who didn't. It could provide us with a sneak peek at where certain players stand on the depth chart. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (15)

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

August 16, 2021 at 10:15 am

One preseason game down. A joint practice with the Jets and two more preseason games to go. I’m reserving judgement until we’ve seen more from these guys. It will take some a game or two before it slows down for them. Excited to see who makes that transition.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:25 am

Jackson gave up completions on 70% of the targets, and NFL QBs usually only complete 67% of their throws. So clearly he’s terrible. Not as terrible as the guys covering Funchess, but still terrible.

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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:27 am

Does anyone know of a site that tabulates snap counts for preseason games?

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mitchtheilig's picture

August 16, 2021 at 12:28 pm

acmepackingcompany.com does a good job

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dobber's picture

August 16, 2021 at 12:57 pm

Shhh...we don't name that "other" Packers site here...

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Johnblood27's picture

August 16, 2021 at 05:36 pm

But we can certainly pimp work-from-home scams here!

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19kurt's picture

August 16, 2021 at 10:52 am

In a preseason game like this I wonder if coaches don't ask for specific plays from the other team...such as did Lafleur ask if the Texans could target Jackson a bit to see how he would react / perform....I know if I was a coach I'd want to find out.

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Slim11's picture

August 16, 2021 at 01:31 pm

Anything is possible but I suspect that's more appropriate in a joint practice/controlled scrimmage scenario such as what's coming up this week with the Jets.

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Coldworld's picture

August 16, 2021 at 11:13 am

My concern about Burks is that I think he overshoots and was out of position on key plays. Yes, he did well just putting his head down and charging, as he does on STs, but can he how any other instincts at all? I’m still dubious.

Overall, the biggest worries for me aren’t Jackson or depth linemen. Jackson simply isn’t going to cut it. I’d let him go. As for the linemen, Kelly was awful in both pass and rush games and Runyon was manhandled consistently as a G. Those performances aren’t close to starter caliber and maybe not roster level. Braden wasn’t a lot better. Make it clear, I expect imperfections in depth players getting their feet wet for the first time, not from Kelly or Runyon.

While not perfect, PFF supports my impressions on rewatching Nijman. He rated 4th on the team with a 72. The best rating was Royce Newman, at 83. Though he was playing later, that also kind of fits with impressions on rewatching. That only supports the blame properly falling on Runyon, Kelly and Braden. The rest of the top 5 were on offense, Malik Taylor, 81: Funchess, 77 and Love, 72.

ST was awful from the outset in every way. I think I’d be asking myself if Drayton should even make the season if this repeats, were I in LaFleur’s shoes.

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CoachDino's picture

August 16, 2021 at 07:03 pm

IMO, Burks just moved faster than I've ever seen him do before, I didn't recognize him. With his prowess on ST if he can just be decent at ILB it will go a long way. Plus maybe his niche is a blitzing ILB.

Heard the same thing about Yosh, saw the fumble play so I just assumed he was having a rough night. I hope Runyans issues had more to do with playing center than Guard.

I hear ya on the day 1 line. I'm not confident in Runyan, rookie in Myers and weakest link in Patrick. Scary. Plus, I was kinda counting on Kelly being avg at worse,

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ImaPayne's picture

August 16, 2021 at 12:32 pm

To me if I may be blunt: an achiles heel is called such because its the weakness that undoes everything else. Tackles, Passing, receptions, yards per carry, none of that matters when at the end of the day your pass D was horrid, gave up big plays, kept the D on the field and broke down often.
I for one am fed up with the Packers Org matra, defense doesnt have to be good if we can score more then our opponent. Ya that dont work in the playoffs.
I'm done. Hopefully Josh Jackson is but who is his replacement, King?

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Leatherhead's picture

August 16, 2021 at 12:56 pm

We score 7 points and a guy bitches about the defense.

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Packers0808's picture

August 16, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Sounds as if early reports on Loves shoulder were either wrong or premature! Jackson by all accounts should be a cut by tomorrow!

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Since'61's picture

August 16, 2021 at 02:06 pm

I haven’t commented on the game specifically because until this morning I did not have a chance to watch the game.

My comments/observations:
1. Kudos to MLF for protecting his starting players. There is no reason for starters to play during the preseason since the coaches already know that they can play. Imagine what this blog would like if A. Jones or Jenkins, or Adams or Alexander or Clark were lost for the season due to an injury caused by an opposing player who won’t be in the league in 2 weeks. Of course if Rodgers were injured the Rodgers haters would be blaming Rodgers for taking snaps from Love and why is he playing in a preseason game. Veterans don’t get paid for the preseason so why should they be exposed to the additional injury risks.
2. Love was solid if unspectacular. Hopefully he continues to improve.
3. I was disappointed in the overall effort of the team on both sides of the ball.
4. Funchess may have played himself onto the roster. As did K. Hill at RB/STs.
5. Myers is a massive being.
6. Slayton comes to play
7. STs need plenty of work but it’s early.
8. Jackson is probably done. We must have another CB who deserves a shot over him at this point.
9. I’m not sold on Burks. I won’t be until I see him play well in a regular season game(s).
10. Backup OLs need more work (snaps). Which is exactly one of the many reasons for not playing starters. These guys need work and the only way they are going to get it is during the preseason games. Plus coaches need to see who besides our starters can actually play.
11. I turned the game off in the 3rd quarter. It was worse than I expected so I moved on.

I’m hoping that MLF sticks to his guns and leaves out the starters for the entire preseason. Beyond the 30 guys who were out of the game our coaches have plenty to figure out.
Love, Stokes, Funchess, Hill, Slayton, Myers, Black and Scott are probably all keepers. I’m not sure about our punters either way yet.

Basically 3 shots left for the rest, Jets co-practice, Jets game and final preseason game.

I think it’s good that there is a 2 week break between the final preseason game and the start of the regular season. Especially since the league did not add a bye week while adding another week of games. They should added a bye with the 2 week break but as usual greed prevails.

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MarkinMadison's picture

August 16, 2021 at 09:22 pm

Since '61 is right about the bye weeks. Really, since we're adding a team to the playoffs and subtracting a bye week from the playoff bracket, we are talking +2 games to the season for the #2 seed, which the Packers might very well be at the end of this season.

Mr. Jackson, I'm sorry. Good luck getting a shot with another team.

Love looks like a competent back-up right now, but with up-side. It has been a while since we had a competent backup. It has been quite a while since we had one that looked like he could maybe be a legit starter.

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