With the Green Bay Packer’s versus Houston Texans two joint practices and Pre-Season game in the books, here are several thoughts to share.
As far as joint practices go for the Packers, I’m disappointed but happy there were only two significant injuries. A concussion and “jaw” injury for our rookie TE Jace Sternberger and a “stinger” for WR Trevor Davis, who had been having a terrific camp. Both of these injuries were 100% avoidable and these type of play situations need to be cleaned up for any future joint practices. I agree with Aaron Rodgers that full speed kick off and punt return should not be part of any joint practice. These can be performed with the returner wearing a “Red Hat,” and at less than full speed. Trevor Davis was having a fantastic camp and now his return has not been established. The same holds for Sternberger who took a shot to the head which in a game situation would’ve resulted in a penalty and a fine.
Head Coach Matt LaFleur was happy to have win, even though that is not the main goal of a Pre-Season game, but followed that with, “but it’s always better to have the W.” As any game would turn out LaFleur saw some good and bad. I think the biggest positive for the defense was the four turn-overs. Mike Pettine has made turn-overs a focus for this years defense and on Thursday we could definitely see the difference. Keep in mind very few potential starters if any even saw the field, on either side of the ball. The negative for the defense was finishing plays. LaFleur specifically pointed out while Curtis Bolton, Ty Summers and Brady Sheldon all had decent games, they missed opportunities to finish plays. From what I saw on offense the positive was our re-affirmation that WR Jake Kumerow needs to be part of the 53, he has hands like Wes Welker/Julian Edelman. We saw flashes of what Dexter Williams can bring to the RB group, although this was against a third string Texans defense. I’d like to see him with the Packer’s first team offense in the next Pre-Season game versus a first team defense. The negative for the offense was the same, finishing drives in a plus position. They were too inconsistent, having missed opportunities for key and or impact plays.
I saw what I felt were some very good performances, especially on defense. Montravius Adams had a solid game up front, being very disruptive and difficult for the Texans to move around. Rashon Gary collapsed the pocket several times and flushed the QB. What we didn’t see, was any teammates able to get the sack once Gary forced the QB to go inside or scramble outside. Granted Joe Webb is 6’4″/235 LBs, but several of our DB’s and LB’s missed opportunities to get a sack. Rookie MLB Ty Summers did a great job calling the defensive signals with the second team and got 10 tackles besides. Offensively, again I saw two impressive performances, Jake Kumerow and Dexter Williams. The offensive line while providing adequate protection, didn’t do much as far as standout performances. Once again WR J’mon Moore had a couple key drops at critical times, but did eventually have a TD catch. Unless the Packers keep Moore for Special Teams I just don’t see a spot for him with the WR talent the Packers have.
While I’m not going to make predictions for a Final 53 at this point, after just one game, a few players did see their stock rise. Arrows pointing up, Darrius Sheppard, Allen Lazard, Ty Summers, Kabion Ento, Ka’Dar Hollman, Dexter Williams, and Danny Vitale. Arrows pointing down, J’mon Moore (drops), Fadol Brown (injuries), Kevin King (injuries), Malcolm Johnson (lack of opportunity), and DeShone Kizer (inconsistent). Kizer has all the physical tools and intelligence to be an NFL QB, but he lacks confidence in his own ability and decision making under the lights. I truly want and need to see more from Kizer because he is so talented. I’d love for him to stand out as Aaron’s back-up for the next few years and see some quality playing time.
Now we wait for game two, on the road versus the Baltimore Ravens, Thursday August 15th. A homecoming of sorts for Za’Darius Smith, who the Packers signed as a Free Agent, from the Ravens. I hope we see the First team offense and defense get at least a series or two, maybe even the whole first quarter. The Texans game was pretty vanilla, I’m hoping to see more of LaFleur’s offense and another smile or two from Mike Pettine. Pettine’s smile account is at two, one from when DB Will Redmond gave him the INT ball. As expected the defense is still ahead of the offense at this point of the season. Bring on the Ravens!
As Always, Go Pack Go,
PackerGregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter