In everyone’s first opportunity to see Jordan Love suit up in a Green Bay Packers uniform, the team ultimately put up a bad performance against the Houston Texans, falling 26-7. With there only being three games on the preseason docket this year instead of four, due to an extra regular-season game having been added, it means that getting guys like Love as much action as possible must start right away.
Coming out flat against a team that many expect to be the worst in the league this season is not something to write home about, but the preseason is all about getting fringe guys work to see what they are made of and how they can thrive under pressure. Head coach Matt LaFleur was not necessarily the happiest member of the coaching staff after Saturday’s game, but understanding the circumstances and lack of importance of this contest, and the score is unimportant.
Jordan Love can be the guy
Having played the entirety of the first half, Love helped lead the offense to its lone scoring drive, which was capitalized by rookie running back Kylin Hill taking a screen pass for a touchdown. While producing a line of 12/17 for 122 yards and a TD is nothing major, it signals a step in the right direction for the Utah State rookie.
He did have a turnover, as he ultimately was stripped of the football on a drop back, but the awful performance of the offensive line is what caused that, not Love. This same play caused Love’s time to be cut shorter than expected, as he was removed from the game for precautionary purposes after having suffered a shoulder injury (tests came back negative, and Love is good to go).
In a nutshell against a porous defensive unit, Love looked poised, consistently hitting his targets in stride and did not overthrow many balls. With this having been the first time Love suited up on the field in a semi-meaningful game since being drafted, the elements are all right in front of Love, he just needs to compound the skills he already has.
Man among boys
With his opt-out last season, WR Devin Funchess was also making his Green Bay debut, and he looked quite fresh in his first on-field action since the opening game of the 2019 season. Hauling in six balls for 70 yards, Funchess was able to make a name for himself as he looks to be in a battle for the WR 4/5/6 spot on this team, behind Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Funchess is this roster’s tall option, and his ‘sticky’ hands made him a constant target for Love all throughout the first half. For the veteran option, looking up at the depth chart may not be a feeling he is used to being in, but if he continues his performances for the remainder of the preseason slate, he likely will earn a spot on this team’s roster.
Defensive Secondary still has no pecking order
While not necessarily a bad thing at this point in the offseason, defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s secondary looks to be in a very uneven state.
CB Josh Jackson likely will not be a member of this team’s final roster heading into the regular season, as he was the highest-targeted member of Green Bay’s defense and looked like a colander with way too many large holes in it. Having consistently failed to live up to his second-round draft status, the writing could firmly be on the wall this offseason if Jackson does not figure it out soon.
On the positive side of the coin, Henry Black, Kabian Ento, and Vernon Scott all had impressive showings from their respective safety or cornerback positions, and Ento, who is a converted WR who plays CB now, hauled in an interception to help boost his stock.
This team has plenty of depth options in the defensive secondary – it just boils down to Barry and his coordinators being able to get the best version of them each and every game day.
Over-reactions to one preseason game is not healthy for the soul, yet there certainly are takeaways that can be made after seeing this team play against someone other than themselves for the first time this year. Working on a few things and learning from their mistakes are the only ways this team will improve, and Green Bay has two more games to make those improvements before they begin to count.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23