Some of your non-Packer fan buddies are probably taking some subtle shots at you today. You got smoked by the Browns? At Lambeau? Better pray Rodgers doesn’t get hurt.
OK, we’ll give you that one. But I recall Rodgers looking awfully shaky the first few times we saw him in the preseason many moons ago. That said, Graham Harrell has done nothing to inspire confidence that he can step in and finish a meaningful game. Against the Browns, he and his fellow second teamers faced the Browns starters in the second quarter and he was unable to move the ball, finishing with a 1.7 passer rating.
It didn’t get much better in the second half. I said it before the game and I’ll say it after. Pluck Colt McCoy from Mike Holmgren for a #7 and cut Harrell loose. Yeah, it’s fun to develop QBs, but Harrell is not far enough along right how to be counted on by a Super Bowl contender. Throw BJ Coleman onto the practice squad, Mike, and make him your next lab experiment.
As for the #1 offense, it controlled things when it was on the field. The Randall Cobb fumble was the most troubling play, killing a strong drive and continuing a new trend of putting the ball on the ground. That’s the third turnover in five possessions for the first string offense. That needs to stop now. Rodgers was sharp and in rhythym. His TD pass to Jordy Nelson was a thing of beauty (and the catch was not too shabby either).
Defensively, not a great night for the starters. It started well, with a Charles Woodson strip that was recovered by rookie Casey Hayward, which led to the Nelson touchdown. Now, Matthews and Woodson were barely out there and the Pack didn’t try anything to make rookie Brandon Weeden uncomfortable because it’s a preseason game. But we saw lots of wide open receivers and some missed tackles–things we are hearing are being cleaned up this preseason.
I noticed rookie safety Jerrion McMillian throughout the game. Looks strong in run support and chased Weeden around once or twice. DJ Smith looks the part of a starter and we know that the rookies that will be asked to make an early impact got lots of reps and should get more and more comfortable.
The highlight coming out of this one: it looks like the team escaped any major injuries–always priority number one in the preseason. After losing Bishop and House last week, the team needed to come out of this one healthy and it looks like they did.
Hopefully by next Thursday’s all-important third game, we’ll have a healthy Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley on offense, to go along with Cedric Benson making his debut against the team that let him walk. Defensively, the starters should play through the first half, so we should get a good sense of where they are and how ready they are for the first game that counts, a little more than three weeks from now.