Packers Win First Preseason Game 28-26 Over Texans

Football is finally back. Yes, it is just pre season, but football is finally back. The Green Bay Packers kicked off their 2019 season campaign with a 28-26 win over the Houston Texans in their first preseason matchup Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

After running several joint practices together this week, the two teams finally faced off to open up the preseason in a uniquely anticipated matchup for Packers fans who were eager to see what new head coach Matt LaFleur could bring to the table.

The Packers scratched 26 different players heading into the game, which included quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams, linebacker Blake Martinez, and cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Kevin King, to name a few.

Overall, it was what one would expect from a preseason game. There were flashes where certain players shined, like wide receiver Jake Kumerow and linebacker Ty Summers, and there were sloppy moments where players, like wide receiver J’Mon Moore, struggled to complete some very easy plays.

 

However, the two areas where the Packers tended to struggle the most last season, defense and special teams, showed much promise early on for the 2019 season.

In just the first quarter, the Packers defense and special teams forced three different turnovers. The first, a diving interception by rookie cornerback Ka’Dar Hollman out of Toledo, and the next, a fumble recovery by wide receiver Equanimeous St Brown in the endzone, after a fantastic punt from JK Scott. The recovery resulted in the first touchdown of the game to put the Packers up 7-0.

In the following series, safety Raven Green poked the ball out of Texans running back Taiwan Jones’ hands and cornerback Will Redmond was there for the recovery.

“I told the guys that no matter if it's preseason or during the regular season it is always a good feeling to win,” LaFleur said at the post-game press conference. “I thought our guys gave great effort.”

 

What we learned: Deshone Kizer still isn’t it

It is news to no one that Deshone Kizer is no Aaron Rodgers, but I think I can speak for most Packers fans when I say that I would be much more comfortable with a more consistent quarterback sitting behind Rodgers.

There were certainly moments where Kizer looked like he may be fit for the backup job. His 14-yard touchdown pass to undrafted free agent Darrius Shepard to put the Packers up 14-7 in the second quarter was surely one of them. Kizer danced around well in the pocket and found Shepard late, who did a fantastic job of holding on to the ball for a score.

But, despite the touchdown, there were still several missed throws to a wide open man and confusion on what looked like routine plays time and time again Thursday night. Kizer finished 8-13 for 102 yards and 1 TD before being replaced by Tim Boyle at halftime. It was not a terrible showing for him, just wildly inconsistent.

 

What went right: Defense and Special Teams

It was absolutely refreshing to see the Packers defense and special teams force turnovers after struggling to do so last season. Last year, the Packers had just seven total interceptions, the second fewest in the NFL, per the broadcast, and they had a total of two just on Thursday night alone with two fumble recoveries to go with it.

It was exciting to see this happen and I really hope that they can make these same plays when the regular season rolls around.

What they can fix: Missed Tackles

Missed tackles were one of the biggest issues I saw from Thursday night’s game. There were so many opportunities that a play could have been stopped, but it continued on for another five, then ten yards, for the Texans. 

According to everyone who has been at training camp, this team has not been practicing tackling and it really showed. If I am Mike Pettine, I think that would be on my to-do list for practice this next week.

 

Who stood out: Jake Kumerow, Dexter Williams, Ty Summers, Kinglsey Keke

A handful of different players stood out to me, but I have to give it to wide receiver Jake Kumerow, running back Dexter Williams, linebacker Ty Summers, and defensive end Kinglsey Keke for their performances Thursday night.

Before the game, I was still unsure about Kumerow, but after his 2 receptions for 27 yards in the first quarter, according to ESPN, it is very clear that he is a guy that is most likely going to make the final roster. Not to mention, he has been receiving quite some praise from QB1 the entire training camp.

I felt good about the running backs this season with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in the backfield, but now being able to throw Dexter Williams into that mix, I feel great. The rookie out of Notre Dame really proved that he can be a weapon for this offense this season with up to 80 yards off 15 touches Thursday, according to ESPN.

Linebacker Ty Summers had a strong showing as well. He did, start to die down a little in the second half of the game, but he started incredibly hot with 10 tackles in the first half alone. For a rookie it was not a perfect first showing, but it was impressive to say the least.

The offseason hype around defensive end Kinglsey Keke has been real, and I absolutely see why after Thursday night’s game. Keke was pressuring the quarterback like crazy and his ability to get off the line as quick as he did could allow him to make a real impact his rookie season.

 

Up next, the Packers travel to Baltimore next Thursday, August 15th, for their second preseason game against the Ravens. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM EST.

 

Like my friend Nagler likes to say though...lotta ball game left.

 

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (14)

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GBPDAN1's picture

August 09, 2019 at 04:14 am

.I believe Houston played O-line starters in the first quarter- against our backups- as I saw Kalil out there playing LT.

. I hope we play our starters for a couple of series next week.

.I was hoping that we'd see more out of Gary tonight, but it was his first NFL game action and he looked like he was trying to get his bearings . I hope - and I believe- that we'll see more out of him as each week passes.

. I'm encouraged about Adams, Keke, Summers, Kumerow, Tonyan, Greene (great ball strip turnover) , D. Williams. They all flashed tonight

. Honorable mention; Shepherd , Lazard and Hollman

. Moore's hands are not soft. Looks so unnatural trying to catch a ball.

. Hope Burks is ok

. Go Pack

.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

August 09, 2019 at 03:46 am

I can't.see any reason for keeping J. Moore on the team. It looks like he doesn't know how to catch.
Boyle looks more comfortable in the pocket than Kizer. Perhaps we can flip Kizer for some kind of draft pick next year a la Hundley.
Defense looks improved even without the starters. Summers looked like the only guy who knew how to tackle.
I am rooting for Shepard to be our 6th receiver and return guy.

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packrulz's picture

August 09, 2019 at 05:19 am

I thought Kizer looked ok, it's preseason, give the guy a chance! Summers looked exhausted. Kumerow could start on some teams. Defense and special teams looked good.

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stockholder's picture

August 09, 2019 at 06:16 am

I wanted Summers in the 3rd rd. Now I want him to start.

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Since'61's picture

August 09, 2019 at 08:01 am

Even though it's only preseason it's good to see MLF get his first win as HC. Thanks, Since '61

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greengold's picture

August 09, 2019 at 08:53 am

Right, Since?

Man, I grew weary of McCarthy's teams coming out unprepared to play the game on so many occasions during his tenure.

Matt LaFleur deserves credit for having his guys ready, and beating a team that went 11-5 last season. That alone was great to see. His players clearly respond to his leadership. He's got that.

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Guam's picture

August 09, 2019 at 08:08 am

In the WR group, Kumerow, Shepard and ESB (special teams play) helped themselves. Moore hurt his chances and Davis DNP.

Light looked good at LT and even his one holding call I thought was questionable. We won't miss Spriggs.

Summers and Keke looked good as did M. Adams. Some of the young DBs looked good so we may have more depth than we thought. As a whole, the defense needs to tackle better.

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flackcatcher's picture

August 09, 2019 at 09:05 am

M Adams got blown off the line several times during the game. Purely a technique issue. Basically, his pad level was too high letting the Texans OL get under his pads with their hands. Outside that, A Adams was fine moving forward in all phases of his game. I'm sure he has things to clean up that we haven't seen yet. But in all, a fine start for the young man.

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Spock's picture

August 09, 2019 at 11:45 am

Yeah, I saw D.Adams get blocked to the ground on one play and then get praised by the announcers and highlighted for his work on the very next play (Something Nagler has referred to: going to the ground too often but being really improved overall). I agree he should continue to improve if he works on that issue in particular.

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greengold's picture

August 09, 2019 at 08:51 am

Kingsley Keke reminds me very much of a young Santana Dotson. Has that same body type, with the uncanny ability to bend and play with strength.

I think Keke will become a really special player for the Packers.

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carusotrap's picture

August 09, 2019 at 08:52 am

I think that exploring other options at QB2 seems obvious (although I spent the night arguing with another well-respected Packer journalist who insists Kizer was good, so go figure).

The thing about Kizer is that he's been around long enough that he's shown us what he's got; some of it is good, but some is pretty bad. That he was a high draft pick or is a good athlete is no longer part of the calculus if that's always part of "some day." I think evaluating a player or giving him a pass based only on draft position is myopic; at some point it matters what he can do now, not what he did in college. Kizer's been around too long for us to still be saying, "Oh, but he's got so much potential." (see: Moore, J'Mon)

QB1 is the GOAT but he's a 35 year old GOAT, and our QB2 better be able to win a game or three. I'm not saying cut Kizer yet, but a real competition at QB2 is about to happen, and it needs to.

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greengold's picture

August 09, 2019 at 08:57 am

Kizer had a 111 passer rating. I wasn't sure how, not because I wasn't watching closely, but he does not exude confidence, nor does he instill confidence. Failing on the. perfect screen pass really got me.

I do think is it between Boyle and Wilkins. We will have to see how it plays out. I'm comfortable with either of those two.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 09, 2019 at 09:09 am

I think that Kizers stats are overblown. It was his receivers that helped him with that rating. I agree that Boyle looked like he played the new system better.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

August 09, 2019 at 01:02 pm

You are confusing so much it is tough to know where to start.

1st, Kizer played like a back up. That is better than a number of nfl starters but not on a level that makes a positive difference. If Kizer could play better than that, or starts to then another team will come and get him.

2nd, the special teams were really bad. You are confusing a superb effort and result by one player with team success.

No place to start if you were unsure about Jake and believing Dexter was better than expected shows you need to go back and watch tape.

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