The Packers triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles was a concoction of good, bad, and ugly in nearly all facets of the game. Granted the preseason is a time of growing pains, setbacks, and limited excitement. The Packers running game was atrocious thanks to virtually zero run blocking from the o-line. Damarious Randall, Kentrell Brice, Don Barclay, and Malachi Dupre all suffered injuries that forced them to exit the game. Dupre took a scary hit to the head that led him to be carried off the field on a stretcher. All tests performed on his head and neck came back negative, though he remains in concussion protocol. Regrettably the preseason is a wavering period for young players who lay it all on the line for essentially no incentive other than a roster spot. Thursday night some Packers played with the intention to do more than just make the team, while others hope to just skate by.
Collectively, the Packers running backs garnered 47 yards on 18 carries, which is “good” for 2.6 yards per carry. This may not fall much on a young group of backs being that the offensive line did a poor job of controlling gaps. The Eagles defense gobbled up a running back in the backfield on four different occasions.
Despite poor blocking, backs are required to hold on to the ball. Something Ty Montgomery has failed to do in training camp. The hopeful starter was supposed to assure fans of the front office’s decision to name him the number one. He has not exactly delivered as he went on to fumble during the second drive of the game.
Pass blocking did not bode well for the Packers either. Each quarterback was sacked at least once for a total of five. Back-up second year tackle Jason Spriggs was responsible for two. It was rookie defensive end Derek Barnett who got the best of him each time. There is little to no depth behind Spriggs on the left side, therefore he must prove he is capable of protecting the blindside if he hopes to be the next guy up. Particularly against other back-ups.
Indeed the Packers learned they have a lot to work on which was to be expected of the first preseason game. Still, there were enough positives to feel satisfied.
The most eye opening contribution came from Trevor Davis. Another second year player, Davis was persistent this offseason in becoming the Packers starting punt returner and it showed. With 12 minutes left in the first half Davis returned a punt for a 68-yard touchdown. He was not done there and followed it up with a 26-yard punt return to begin the third quarter.
Mike McCarthy spoke highly of special teams stating, “I look forward to watching the video.”
Jordy Nelson was not even active making it more insane how much depth the Packers have at receiver. Ten different receivers were targeted throughout the game. Rookie DeAngelo Yancey and newcomer Max McCaffrey led the way with three catches a piece and over 60 yards.
Most likely, the Packers will not even hold onto as many as seven receivers, but it is still fun to watch. Players like Yancey and McCaffrey will push guys like Jeff Janis for a seat in the receiver’s room. If they keep it up then it will be a reality for an unlikely contender to earn a spot.
The Packers second preseason matchup will take place Saturday the 19th in Washington D.C. Another chance for budding players to make more noise and continue to tease Pack nation for the start of the season. Who knows, Aaron Rodgers could even get to play a series.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.