Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pack vs. Jags: 1st half review

Quick observations from the first half of tonight's game versus the Jaguars, where the Packers lead 10-0:
  • The running game is still basically non-existent.

  • The defense looked very good, coming up with a few fourth down stops, a sack or two, and lots of pressure on Jags QB Byron Leftwich with only a four-man front.

  • Brett looked a bit out of sync with receivers early -- or, more likely, the receivers (with the exception of Donald Driver) were not where they should have been.

  • For as out of sync as the passing game looked early, Brett looked very sharp in the second quarter before giving way to Aaron Rodgers. He led a great drive, throwing to at least 6 different receivers on the drive, only to have a sure touchdown pass tipped at the line of scrimmage; the Pack had to settle for a field goal, which continued that disturbing red zone trend from last year.

  • Rookie receiver James Jones really came on strong in the second quarter, with more than 80 yards in receptions.

  • Bubba Franks continues his path back to reliability, coming up with a couple big catches.

  • Aaron Rodgers, taking over for Brett in the second quarter, led a TD-scoring drive, finished off by a short run by rookie RB Brandon Jackson.

  • The big hit of the first half -- probably the entire preseason -- was made by backup linebacker, Desmond Bishop. He hit the Jag receiver on the slant route so hard that the receiver's helmet was knocked off and the receiver "de-cleated" (as John Madden might say).

  • The down side to the first half was seeing Pro Bowl receiver Donald Driver carted off the field with an unspecified ankle injury. It appeared from replays that his ankle was rolled up when he was tackled trying -- what would you expect? -- to pick up additional yardage after the catch. The Pack can't afford to lose Driver. He's the glue of the receiving corps. Let's hope it's a minor sprain. Driver looked in pain on the field. But if there is anyone on this team that rivals Brett for toughness and playing with injuries, it's Driver. But an injured ankle on a receiver is never a good thing. Hold your breath...cross your fingers...and hope...