The Packers preseason ended Thursday with a disappointing close loss to the Chiefs. Jordan Love didn’t play as well as he has, the defensive line didn’t play as well as it has, and the special teams did play as bad as it has. But on the bright side, Danny Etling completed his first 9 passes! Let’s discuss Packers Vs. Chiefs.
After a week in which Love’s play looked better than the stat sheet, the stats tonight (16/26 148 0-1) were better than his play.
Love played through the third quarter, possibly because he hadn’t shown much in the first half, and mixed a few turnover worthy plays (with one interception on an arm punt as the half was about to end) with no real big-time throws.
It was a return to the scene of the crime where Love struggled for the full four quarters during the regular season last year, and it’s safe to wonder if that experience plus a bad first few series against the Chiefs first-team defense affected his play.
In the end, however, I think Love has shown enough this preseason to give fans hope going forward. He has made clear progress from last year and has top 15 arm talent.
Something that hasn’t given fans much hope, outside of one long return in the first week, is the special teams. Special teams (I refuse to say we-fense) gave up several long returns and had several extremely short returns this week.
It’s something to watch but not something I’d panic about. Right now, special teams is full of new players, and veterans under a new scheme—and it’s the preseason we never know when the coaches are testing players or actions. A long return could be on a punt type that wouldn’t be used in that situation during the season. Give it time.
Here are quick reviews of a few bubble players:
- Danny Etling: Etling likely won’t make the 53, but he has shown that he can play in a pinch and could be an effective practice squad QB to mimic the running QBs Green Bay will face this season.
- Tyler Goodson: Goodson looked great again and had a nice long touchdown run. If the coaches think he can pass protect, he has to be a cinch to make the roster at this point.
- Patrick Taylor: Taylor also had a good game—he just doesn’t seem as explosive as Goodson. If the team keeps one of these two backs, they’ll for sure try to get the other one on the practice squad.
- Juwann Winfree: As surprising as it would be for the team to cut a player Rodgers talked up Kumerow style, Winfree just hasn’t done much this whole preseason. Today, he had a big fat one catch for 7 yards. Have to wonder if Samori Toure is a better use of a roster spot.
- Samori Toure: Toure did fill the state sheet with 6 catches for 83 yards and was inches away from adding a touchdown as well. If Toure can match Winfree’s special teams impact, he should be on the 53.
- Amari Rodgers: Almost didn’t include Amari because I think he’s a roster lock, but he looked good on a gun outside zone run and a few catches as well. Like Love, he hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s showing clear signs of improvement.
- Jake Hanson: I’ll be the first to admit that my offensive line evaluation pales in comparison to anything the team actually decides to do, but I just don’t get the Hanson infatuation. Every time I notice him, he’s getting rocked back into the QB’s face. I can’t imagine Rodgers would trust him with 320-pound nose tackle inches away.
- Jack Heflin: Heflin was in the backfield in a flash several times tonight. He has to be making Gutekunst think long and hard about keeping six interior defensive linemen. If the team ends up playing as much 3-3 penny as it looks like, it could be worth having six guys.
- Kobe Jones/La’Darius Hamilton/Jonathan Garvin: Each looked solid, but I didn’t think any of the three showed enough to guarantee a spot on the roster tonight.
- Micah Abernathy/Innis Gaines: With Gaines going down to another injury and Abernathy leading the team in tackles, he may have proved just enough to make the team as a backup safety.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.