The headlines coming out of a snoozer of a preseason opener: Desmond Bishop was carted off with a knee injury (he couldn’t put any weight on his right knee); Graham Harrell got more comfortable as the game went on and made a solid initial showing as Rodgers’ backup; RB Marc Tyler had a strong debut, playing with and against backups.
As I write this, there’s no word on the severity of Bishop’s injury. Packer Nation is holding its breath, with youngster DJ Smith waiting in the wings. Some believe he could displace AJ Hawk, but for the near future he’ll be filling in for Bishop.
After a very slow start, Harrell heated up in the two minute drill leading the Pack on its first TD drive of the season, hooking up with Randall Cobb. He seemed to get more comfortable as the game went on and he played deep into the fourth quarter, finishing 15-27 for 135 yards and a TD.
As for the first string offense, they never got in synch, thanks in part to two early turnovers and the very shaky performance by third string left tackle Herb Taylor, who probably needn’t look for a residence in the Fox Valley area. The Pack was without Marshall Newhouse, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley. James Starks played, but would have been better served sitting this one out. He had a bad drop and a fumble in the first quarter, before taking a seat on the bench.
Defensively, cornerback Davon House showed his physical presence with some nice tackles and looked very Al Harris-like manning an outside cornerback spot. He was shaken up later in the game on a special teams play–hopefully it was nothing serious.
First rounder Nick Perry got a sack on the defense’s second play of the game. Then he was flagged for excessive celebration (he flexed)–a ridiculous call by the replacement officials, who all in all did an okay job. But it would be really nice to see the league find a way to make a deal with its officials sooner rather than later.
The other rookies of note, Worthy, Hayward and McMillian all had their moments, good and bad. What stood out to me was the safety play, clearly the weakest link for the defense on this night. Woodson didn’t play, but Burnett and Jennings looked a little slow to react and had problems in coverage. It was the Chargers’ rookie, Melvin Ingram who stole the night, though again, he faced off against Herb Taylor. Ingram looks like he will add a lot of bite to the Chargers pass rush.
An ugly start: four turnovers and a potentially serious injury to Desmond Bishop. Expect the first string offense to look a lot different next Thursday when the Browns come to town. Newhouse, Jennings and Finley should all be back and the first unit will probably look a lot more in tune.