I had the bright idea to do a running diary of the Packers third exhibition game Saturday night against the Eagles. I was pumped to offer my keen insight into players on the bubble and make other observations to share with all of you,the dedicated readers of CheeseheadTV.com.
Then Randall Cobb hurt his shoulder. Micah Hyde did something with his neck. And Bryan Bulaga went down with an ankle injury.
If that wasn’t enough,the Packers No. 1 defense got steamrolled and the special teams were in midseason form (meaning they were awful).
The Packers trailed 39-14 at halftime. Miraculously,no players were injured walking to the locker room.
At the half,I went to Home Depot and purchased a jackhammer,a gallon of lighter fluid and book of matches. After pummeling my laptop into tiny particles with the jackhammer,I lit the dust on fire for good measure.
So yeah,my live journal didn’t happen. Here are my only thoughts about Saturday night’s atrocity:
This exhibition season needs to end.
Forfeit the final game,and let’s start the damn season already.
Yes,the Packers are still Super Bowl contenders despite the exhibition season injuries and ugliness. But enough is enough. It’s time to play real games and end this s#!tshow of meaningless,but still dangerous,football.
Go Pack Go.
(Anyone have a laptop for sale at a decent price?)
Exhibition games are boring. Even when they involve the Green Bay Packers. If you’re looking to be a little less bored during today’s Packers vs. Steelers exhibition snoozefest,keep an eye out for these five things:
Can Don Barclay play tackle?
Even when Barclay got the nod at right tackle after Bryan Bulaga’s injury in 2013,I remained unconvinced that Barclay was a tackle. To me,his body type and playing style are much better suited inside. Now Barclay’s a year removed from an ACL injury. In the exhibition opener,he didn’t hold up very well at tackle. With David Bakhtiari likely out today,Barclay will get another shot to show improvement coming off an injury and re-assert himself as the Packers sixth offensive lineman.
Just watch him. See if you still think he’s for real. See if you think his slow 40 time will be exposed come the regular season. See if you think he’s got a legit shot of making the team and making some noise.
Can Jayrone Elliott put together another good game?
Ideally,I’d like to see Clay Matthews spend most of his time inside during early downs. That fantasy is much closer to being reality if there’s a credible outside linebacker to play opposite Julius Peppers. I don’t think Nick Perry and Mike Neal are the answer. I’m not sure Elliott is either,but he sure had a good game against New England.
The medical cart
Watch the medical cart closely. Make sure it stays on the sideline,where it belongs. If it fires up and moves,that means a Packers players has been injured. We don’t want any Packers players injured during silly exhibition games.
What’s up with Christian Ringo?
By all accounts,the Packers draft pick with the coolest name was going to be a project,one of those late-round flyers you take,stash on the practice squad for a season,and hope to get something out of them two years down the road. With all the injuries and suspensions the Packers are facing along the defensive,might Ringo be needed earlier than planned? It’s a long shot,but it’s something to keep an eye on. If the Packers are short-handed up front,they might need someone like Ringo to step up. Word is,Ringo’s been improving lately.
Welcome to the first Green Bay Packers Stock Report of the 2015 season.
For new readers,the stock report will run every Tuesday afternoon during the season. We’ll cover who’s rising,steady and falling. We’ll also be sure to make fun of the Chicago Bears,fans of the Minnesota Vikings fans and people who listen to Nickelback (Why people who listen to NIckelback? Because people who listen to Nickelback are almost as bad as the Chicago Bears and fans of the Minnesota Vikings. Almost.).
One thing to note before we start: The stock report isn’t necessarily a week-to-week evaluation. I try to use context from the previous couple of games when placing players in certain categories. So,if Jordy Nelson drops the first 50 passes thrown to him to start the season,then has a game where he catches 11 touchdowns,he might not necessarily end up in the rising category for his 11-touchdown game because of how miserable he played in dropping those first 50 passes.
For the first edition of the stock report,I’m focusing only on rookies. We’ll have plenty of space to cover the veterans as the season gets going.
On to the stock report:
With nagging injuries slowing down Casey Hayward and Damarious Randall,Rollins bounced back from his own early injury and put together an impressive game in the exhibition opener. Scouting reports on Rollins indicated that he was a speed guy. He seems plenty fast,but he looked physical against New England as well. I liked it.
We’ve heard plenty about Gunter since camp opened and he backed it up against New England. Big,physical and full of potential. We’ll see if his slow 40-time eventually catches up with him,but so far,so good on Gunter.
I’m extremely pleased with what I’ve seen from Montgomery so I’m not going to praise him too much because I don’t want to jinx things. Keep it up,young man.
How about that throw Hundley dropped in there to Montgomery against New England? Scott Tolzien has received most of the backup QB love this training camp,but Hundley looks like he’s holding his own.
Ryan wasn’t the name fans had circled on their middle linebacker wish list during the draft,but it’s hard to be disappointed with what we’ve seen so far. Odds are good Ryan’s impact will come on special teams during his rookie season,but I had no complaints with what I saw when he manned the middle of the defense against New England.
My ability to watch Packers games
My son turns 2 years old in early October and I have no idea how I’m going to be able to watch Packers games this fall. Last year,he was young enough where we could contain him to one room and let him do his thing while the game was on. Those days are long gone. He doesn’t spend more than 3 minutes in any one room now.
I have televisions in the family room,sun room and master bedroom,so I suppose one strategy could be to have them all tuned into the Packers game and hope he only goes to those three rooms (fat chance). Another strategy is putting up a gate and trying to contain him to just one room (this would work for a couple minutes before he got angry). I suppose we could give him the iPad and let him watch Bob the Builder or Thomas the Train while we drink beer and watch the Packers (it’d be effective,but wouldn’t win us any parents of the year awards).
If anybody has any other advice,I’m all ears. Otherwise,cross your fingers that he’s either A) infatuated with Aaron Rodgers at a young age and will actually watch the game or B) wants to cuss at the TV like his dad whenever the Packers screw up and will actually watch the game.
Wish me luck.
We’re at the point in the Green Bay Packers preseason where certain players are starting to generate hype,or prove or disprove that the hype they received during the offseason was justified or overblown. Let’s take a look at a handful of these players and see if they’ve lived up to their hype thus far.
If a player has yet to meet the hype,I’ll give a final verdict of “calm down.” If he is meeting the hype,the final verdict will be “Believe the hype.”
Keep this in mind: It’s early. Way too early to make final judgements. A player labeled as a “calm down” shouldn’t be written off as a lost cause. A player labeled as “Believe the hype” shouldn’t be immediately enshrined in Canton. There is plenty of time for “calm down” players to make a major leap upward,and plenty of time for “belive the hype” players to get knocked down a few pegs.
Ever since Aaron Rodgers bragged up Adams during minicamp,people have assumed Adams will automatically ascend to being the next good-to-great Packers wide receiver taken after the first round of the draft. Well,Adams has been kind of quiet in training camp and he didn’t exactly light it up in the exhibition opener. I need to see more before I put a down payment on a seat on the Adams bandwagon. Final verdict: Calm down.
When Ted Thompson takes a wide receiver in the second or third round,everyone assumes that receiver will turn into a stud. That was the chatter after Montgomery was selected,and I was fully prepared to be a contrarian and not be impressed. Well,Montgomery has converted me. The kid looks bigger than your typical slot receiver/kick returner type and I liked what I saw on Thursday. Final verdict: Believe the hype.
The Packers had one of the best offensive lines in football last season. After the Packers beat the Patriots in November,I said if the line continued playing like it was,the Packers would win the Super Bowl. Well,the line held up its end of the bargain,but the football Gods had other ideas in Seattle. Now that Bryan Bulaga is re-signed and the full line is back again,people are saying that this year’s version of the offensive line might surpass last season’s. David Bakhtiari struggled on Thursday,but he was probably as bored as all of us were watching the opening exhibition contest. If the Packers offensive line stays healthy,and that’s a big if,I do believe it will once again be one of the best units in the NFL,possibly better than last season. Final verdict: Believe the hype.
Packers short yardage/red zone woes
The first-team offense bogged down against New England in short-yardage and red-zone situation on Thursday. Sound familiar? To longtime Packers beat reporter Bob McGinn it did, who compared the team’s struggles in the exhibition opener to its failings in the NFC title game. Yes,comparing at conference championship game to the exhibition opener is silly,but short-yardage and red-zone issues are nothing new for the Packers under Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. That said,it’s far too early to label this Packers team as another that will struggle to pick up short-yardage first downs or touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals. It’s a new season. Narratives from seasons past usually give way to new narratives that nobody was anticipating. The Packers will have their struggles in certain areas of the game. I’m not yet convinced it will be in short yardage. Final verdict: Calm down.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix can’t tackle
Clinton-Dix sure looked silly on New England’s long touchdown run on Thursday night. Clinton-Dix also had his lackluster tackling moments last season. But I’m not so sure Clinton-Dix’s issues are with tackling. He seems to be daydreaming on certain occasions,like on the two-point conversion in the NFC title game and being totally out of position on the Thursday night touchdown run. And even if Clinton-Dix did need to improve his tackling,how is he going to do it? The Packers don’t tackle in training camp and practices are never full speed. I’m not overly worried about Clinton-Dix’s tackling. I am a bit concerned about his attention span at certain times. Final verdict: Undecided.
Every season the Packers have at least one undrafted free agent who makes people wonder why he didn’t get drafted. This season,Gunter looks to be that guy. Reports from practice had Gunter making plays and flashing just about every day. He also had an interception on Thursday. Gunter is garnering plenty of hype for an undrafted rookie,but he’s earning it with his day-to-day performance. Therefore,we have no choice but to believe in this kid. Final verdict: Believe the hype.
The Green Bay Packers now have eight practices under their belt as they prepare for the 2015 season.
It’s impossible to make meaningful judgments after eight practices,or label individual players as booms or busts. But we can still take the temperature of the team as each practice concludes and reports come in about certain players who have stood out,fallen behind,or gotten hurt.
If the season started today,after only eight practices,here’s what I would consider the Packers biggest strength and biggest weakness.
(Note: Obviously,Aaron Rodgers is the Packers’ biggest strength. But writing these posts wouldn’t be much fun if we just listed his name over and over again.)
Wide receivers. Jordy Nelson doesn’t appear to be slowed down by offseason hip surgery. Randall Cobb still appears to be Randall Cobb after signing a fat new contract. Ty Montgomery looks like yet another receiver find for Ted Thompson. Davante Adams hasn’t gotten many balls in practice,but nobody is saying that he’s taken a step backward in his second season,either.
Heck,even Myles White is having a strong camp.
It’s shaping up to be another fun season for Packers wide receivers. The group has it all — talent,experience,depth,and a quarterback with the ability to elevate the entire group.
Linebacker. It’s weird labeling a position group that includes Clay Matthews and Julius Pepper as a weakness,but I don’t have much of a choice. Nick Perry and Mike Neal have always been injury-prone and average players at best. Less than two weeks into camp,both players have already missed time with injuries. Matthews is also dinged up as he prepares for whatever inside or outside role he’ll be playing.
Other injured linebackers include Jayrone Elliott,Josh Francis and Adrian Hubbard.
Getting rid of A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones was supposed to be an addition-by-subtraction sort of thing. So far,the Packers have continued subtracting at the position thanks to injuries. As camp continues,we’ll see if the Packers start hitting the “+” button on their calculators at the linebacker position.
I considered tight end for the weakness slot,but went with linebackers because the Packers receivers,offensive line and Rodgers should be able to compensate for not having a strong tight end group.
By most accounts,the Packers young defensive backs are showing promise. Defensive back would probably have gotten the weakness slot if I wrote this before camp started.
Would it have been crazy to list offensive line as the team’s strength? I don’t think so. If the Packers offensive line stays healthy and plays like it did last season,the Packers will win the Super Bowl.