Takes from Saturday Night’s Broncos Stampede:
An NFL season is filled with many ups and downs, and Saturday’s 20-17 loss showed that that the Packers were not up to par in all three phases of the game. The most glaring issue in the latest preseason contest was the battle at the point of attack. Denver clearly had an edge for most of the night on both the offensive and defensive fronts. The Green Bay Packers offensive line was dominated for much of the night, making it difficult for any consistent play in the passing and running game.
The defense, at times, showed flashes of brilliance and forced two turnovers, highlighted by the Kentrell Brice interception that set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Ty Montgomery. But, there were also times that the Denver offensive line dominated the point of attack which lead to open running lanes for CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles, as well as open passing lanes down the field that the Denver passing game exposed. Finally, the special team’s play did not appear to be as sharp as it had been in recent weeks as they committed penalties in the return and coverage game, and nearly allowed a blocked punt in the first half.
The Packers fell prey to a lack of attention to detail at key times of the contest, in all three phases of the game. This loss will serve as a reminder for the team to maintain focus on the fundamental aspects of the game for the entire sixty minutes of the game. The outcome of week three in Denver will certainly make the final week of the preseason unseasonably hot for all of the players fighting for a roster spot in week 1. Only the players who focus on the fundamentals will hear their name called on September 2nd.
Unanswered Roster Questions for Week 1:
After Saturday nights lackluster defeat in Denver, many questions remain unanswered heading into the final week of the preseason that will affect how the 53 man roster will take shape for week 1 against Seattle.
Wide Receiver Battle:
The wide receiver battle has begun to become less chaotic, leaving for a clearer picture of who will be invited to stay in Mr. Rodger’s neighborhood.
Favorites to Make the Week 1 Roster:
Jeff Janis- Janis has answered his critics thus far, by having a standout preseason on both offense and special teams. Coach McCarthy has been pleased with Janis’s work this offseason on both his craft as a wide receiver as well as his versatility as an impactful special team’s contributor.
Trevor Davis- Davis was thought to be a lock to make the team but has had a largely inconsistent preseason. Davis had a rough second game against Washington struggling with ball security on special teams. Davis has shown versatility and development as a wide receiver during the offseason program, garnering praise from Aaron Rodgers as the best bad ball catcher on the team.
Max McCaffrey- McCaffrey is the Packers leading receiver in the preseason. He has been a picture of consistency from the offseason programs through the preseason, showing strong hands and reliability as a target.
Projected Week 1 Wide Receivers:
1. Jordy Nelson
2. Randal Cobb
3. Davante Adams
4. Jeff Janis
5. Trevor Davis
6. Max McCaffrey
*Geronimo Allison suspended week 1
The Pass Rush:
Clay Matthews was very candid when he spoke with the media about expectations from the Packers line backing core. He said that the pass rush this season would lie “on” the shoulders of him and fellow outside linebacker Nick Perry. It is certainly refreshing for a star player to shoulder the responsibility of a crucial area that will determine the success of the team. However, Matthews, Perry, and the rest of the pass rush have had a difficult time consistently staying healthy throughout their careers. Even when healthy, consistently getting a disruptive pass rush against the opposing quarterback has still at times posed a challenge.
During Saturday’s loss in Denver, the depth of the line backers took a hit with the injuries of Jayrone Elliot and Nick Perry. These injuries could leave the Packers front office to potentially seek help outside of the organization to bolster the depth at outside linebacker.
It is being reported that the Packers will be meeting with the recently released Ahmad Brooks formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. It will be interesting to see whether the Packers stay on pat with the players they currently have on their roster, or, whether they will sign the veteran outside linebacker to help bolster their defense, much like they did three seasons ago with the signing of Julius Peppers.
These topics along with the debate and projections over the week 1 fifty-three man roster will be sure to generate quite a buzz in the Green Bay Area over the next week. Be sure to stay tuned to Packerstalk.com and Cheesehead TV for all of the breaking news and roster moves, as the September 2ndcountdown to the Packers 53 man roster gets closer.——————
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