After a win in their opening preseason contest, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was not satisfied with his teams performance. McCarthy felt that the team fell short in many fundamental areas of the game. During the weekly meetings and correction film, Coach McCarthy implored to his team the importance of cleaning up mistakes and honing in on the fundamentals. McCarthy challenged his team to improve on the techniques of tackling, ball security, and breaking would be tacklers. Going into week 2 of the preseason, the Green Bay Packers players had their marching orders delivered loud and clear. They were focused and poised for a more clean and fundamentally sound contest against the Redskins on Saturday night in the Nation’s Capital.
The Packers defense started with a quick three and out on their first series, only to see the Redskins recover a Trevor Davis muffed punt return inside of the redzone. (So much for fundamentals) However, the Packers defense would stand up to the early challenge by forcing Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense into another three and out, holding them to a field goal.
With the Packers trailing early, it was Aaron Rodgers time to shine. Aaron as expected, did not disappoint. In his only series of the night, Aaron Rodgers engineered a 15 play touchdown drive on the opening series and looked impressive in doing so. The first team offense was efficient and moved the ball quickly while alluding would be tacklers, just like McCarthy had challenged them to do earlier in the week. Aaron Rodgers looked to be in midseason form. He made good reads, threw quick and accurately timed passes, and even drew a 12 players on the field penalty to keep the opening drive alive. Rodgers lone series of the game was capped off with a touchdown to Martellus Bennett on an outside fade in the right corner of the end zone to put the Packers on top 7-3.
The defense continued to take strides of improvement from a statistically solid first performance against Philadelphia. The teams tackling was very much improved from week 1 and the secondary was again very strong. The fundamentally sound and aggressive play on defense continued for much of the first half. The run defense, behind Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels was stout and did not allowing for much running room. The secondary, behind lead man Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, was complemtary to the run defense through their active pursuit of the football. They were responsible for causing a plethora of defensed passes and disrupted numerous routes on the opening few drives. Coach McCarthy’s weeklong emphasis on tackling technique was evident, as the Packers had very few missed tackles throughout much of the first half.
The second half was filled with second and third string players on both sides battling to make the 53 man roster. After playing to a standstill for much of the third quarter, the Redskins drew first blood in the second half with a methodical drive being capped off by a 16yard touchdown pass to Niles Paul. The third quarter saw Joe Callahan and the second string offensive line struggle to account for any type of offense.
Going into the 4th quarter, the Redskins lead 17-14 until rookie Taysom Hill took over the offense. Hill engineered the game winning drive on offense with a 23 yard touchdown run of his own to give the Packers a 21-17 lead with 6:16 remaining in the game. The offense was much sharper and more efficient with Hill in the game and was able to utilize quick passes and runs to move the ball down the field.
The defense sealed the victory for the Packers by stalling Nate Sudfeld’s final drive with a key sack and a pass defense which turned the ball over on downs and gave the Packers a 21-17 victory.
After the game coach Mike McCarthy was pleased with the improvement that his team showed from the opening contest. He was particularly pleased with the quarter back play of Rodgers, Hundley, and Hill. Hundley, in Coach McCarthy’s own words “played his best game as a member of the Green Bay Packers”. McCarthy was also encouraged by the attention to detail in all three phases of the game, as well as his teams ability to make tackles as well as allude would be tacklers. The team certainly responded to his challenges over the past week and will look to improve in the all important “dress rehearsal” week 3 game next week against the Denver Broncos.
Hot Takes From Week 2
Green Bay Packers Trending Up:
1. Brett Hundley
2. Jeff Janis
3. Aaron Jones
4. Max McCaffrey
Green Bay Packers Trending Down:
1. Trevor Davis
2. Joe Callahan
3. Second team offensive line
Food for thought:
1. Brett Hundley’s trade value
2. Aaron Rodgers greatness: Joe Theismann on the telecast said “…I think Aaron Rodgers is the greatest pure passer that the game of football has ever seen”.
3. The 53 man roster
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave