Sunday, August 16, 2015

Insights from Preseason Game #1: Packers vs Patriots

Now that the dust has settled a bit from Thursday evening's first Packers preseason game against the New England Deflators, er, sorry...Patriots (a-hem)...what did we see?

A few observations of note...or decide:
  • Undrafted DB LaDarius Gunter displayed the kind of performance we heard about early in training camp: he seems to make plays...of the interception kind, to be exact. Supposedly not a speedster, but rather with long arms, Gunter may be the next Sam Shields and go from an undrafted unknown to grabbing a spot on the final roster. There's a long way to go yet, but the young man shows promise.
  • Rookie CB LaDarius Gunter grabs an INT vs. the Pats.
    Photo by Associated Press

  • Another undrafted free agent rookie, RB Alonzo Harris, went from a "Who?" type player to a "Who the heck is that?!" type player, as he carried seven times for 41 yards, including a great 25-yard touchdown run. With Eddie Lacy and James Starks ensconced as the number one and two running backs respectively, Harris is likely in a battle with Rajion Neal and rookie UDFA John Crockett for the number three spot.
  • The number one offense moved the ball up and down the field seemingly at will...except for that troublesome redzone area...reminiscent of last season. They have to get that sorted out.
  • The linebacking corps still needs work. With Clay Matthews on the sidelines, there often seemed to be a bit too much "give" in that area of the line up.
  • In addition to LaDarius Gunter's performance, rookie CB Quinten Rollins makes us feel confident about the defensive backfield. There is a lot of young talent there...and the emphasis is on talent.
  • We see why head coach Mike McCarthy has been raving (in a good way) all spring and summer about back up QB, Scott Tolzein. The former Badgers standout (Go Badgers!) put improved presence and performance on display in relief of Aaron Rodgers. He had a great fade route TD pass to Jeff Janis that the uninformed might have sworn was a Rodgers' pass to Jordy Nelson if you didn't pay attention to the jersey numbers. Great to see.
So, Packer fans, those are just a few observations from the game. Will be interested to see the progress from last week to this in the upcoming game versus the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Who'll get playing time and who won't? Who will see more opportunities and who will see fewer? It's a fun time of the year for fans...probably not so much for players trying to make an already deep squad primed for another Super Bowl run.

Go Pack Go!!!