Packers XLV

Rushing Rules the Day in Cincinnati

Posted August 24th, 2012 @ 02:08pm

The Packers showed in Cincinnati that their historically good offense is ready for the 2012 season. It also showed that it may have added an important new dimension in Cedric Benson, who has wrapped up the starting job after one limited performance.

But let's start with Aaron Rodgers, who found acres of open real estate when he bootlegged, scoring twice with his legs in the first quarter en route to 52 yards for the half. Now, none of us wants to see Rodgers running in the preseason, but it reminds teams that if they choose to let #12 beat them with his legs, he's eminently capable of doing so.

The passing attack was average, with Rodgers a little better than 50%. But it was great to see Greg Jennings back out there, making some sweet moves as he gets ready for a contract year. Nelson and Cobb also factored in, but there are still chemistry issues between Rodgers and James Jones. The second quarter pick appeared to be a communication error as Rodgers went back shoulder but Jones kept running. A bit later on a short completion to Cobb, Jones was standing all alone in the end zone for what would have been an easy score.

I still find it hard to believe that both Jones and Driver will be on the 53 man roster.

Now, on to Benson, who looked fresh, nimble and motivated as he made his debut against the team that decided to let him walk. First carry: 8 yards, second carry: a broken tackle and nine more. In all he had 38 yards on six carries and caught one pass for ten yards. He clearly outshined Alex Green, who split the first half with him, but appears to be a nice complement to Benson and should improve as the season goes on.

You love having guys who are playing with a chip on their shoulder and that's Benson. He's so motivated to show he's got more to give and he knows the opportunity that awaits with this offense. "I'm like a kid in a candy store," he said after the game, knowing he'll get to run against a nickel defense a lot of the time this season, presenting him with wide open spaces up the middle.

Benson's emergence may cause the Pack to part ways with Starks and begin the season with Benson, Green, Saine and John Kuhn, who will be a third down stalwart, because of his pass protection--something Benson is not known for.

Defensively, the Pack looked strong, holding a playoff team to just two field goals in the first half. The Bengals were without their top two backs, Bernard Scott and Ben Jarvis-Green-Ellis, so it was nice to see the Pack shutting down the backups and forcing Andy Dalton into third and long situations. Clay Matthews was very active while he was out there--I thought the linebacking group played well as a whole. And we didn't hear AJ Green's name mentioned too much. He will be one of the AFC's top receivers this season, but Tramon Williams won the matchup on this night.

Dom Capers has to feel good about this unit right now. They took a nice step forward against a strong team. I thought the safeties stepped up and the corners continue to battle for playing time.

Once Graham Harrell and the second teamers appeared in the second half, things slowed to a crawl. I would have liked to see Harrell enter for the two minute drill in the second quarter to see how he looked with the starters. It's no secret that the backup O line is not strong so it's hard to grade him. When you watch him he does not look the part of a guy who can carry this team in Rodgers' absence. I'm still not sold on him and I don't believe the coaches and front office are, either. He gets one more shot, next Thursday night.

The takeaway from this one: the offense is ready for the 49ers and maybe a bit more potent with the addition of Benson. One more practice game and then we can dial this thing up for real.

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Comments (8):

I know it was only preseason, but that beer I cracked open at 11pm to watch the game on NFL Network sure tasted better with the Pack looking good! How fun was it watching a GB running back run like Ced did? Seems like I haven't been that excited about our running back since old #30, Ahman Green! Mathews was in top form with pressures and deflections. Tramon looks to be back and did an awesome job covering AJ Green (1 catch for 3 yards, is that right!?! Wow!) Did notice the 2 passing plays Dave mentioned that were off between Jones & Rodgers but also noticed a few more Rodger's throws that seemed "off" to others as well such as that corner route to Driver I believe it was. Bengal CB Hall was in position but the throw itself seemed off. As Dave pointed out, Rodgers only completed just over 50% of his throws. Maybe I am spoiled but still looks like the passing game is off a bit. Overall, very encouraging. Harrell still makes me nervous but are we getting too late to bring in another QB? And my apologies to Tom Crabtree but looked to be a legal hit in my opinion. Now the hit that Sapp put on Clifton? That one STILL makes me mad.

on August 24th, 2012 at 02:59pm

great take trashman, but i'll tell ya why the passing game looks off, 12 is running every other snap. our line needs to hold for 3 seconds not 2. i'm hoping 32 will help with the running game ans slow down pass rush some. remember kc. last year? i said i was worried about 1st loss. they play man to man press coverage and our receivers have a hard time getting open, and 12 has to run a lot. i hope it gets better, it's copy cat league. d looked much better, i see a 11-5 record, 10-6 bears, 9-7 lions. and 5-11 queens. go pack

on August 24th, 2012 at 04:55pm

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on August 24th, 2012 at 10:08pm

Excellent analysis as usual Davey. I am so very glad the Packers got a win even if it's in the preseason, Rodgers & the defense looked pretty good, Bengals had very tight coverage. If Rodgers is having chemistry issues with James Jones, I hope they improve it or the Packers cut ties with Jones. It will be interesting to see the competition for roster spots in the final preseason game next week then bring on the 49ers! Go Pack!

on August 24th, 2012 at 10:18am

Decisions made for them: These games are suppose to help the Pack select the players to be on the rooster, and they are, but by attrition. No space left for Hargrove, maybe no space left for Starks. With Tight ends dropping like flies, the question comes tight there too. I know Gurley isn't a tight end, but they might like his size over the middle. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them keep all six wide outs and try to make thru these tight end injuries. Think four wide, and Benson with a big smile on his face going no huddle. It's the kind of thing that could force timeouts and score points. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

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on August 28th, 2012 at 09:23pm

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