Is there anything to like about preseason football? Not for the Green Bay Packers. Sure, we like to see young guys and see if they can perform, but what always happens?
It’s the Green Bay Packers, so injuries happen.
Even though the Packers beat the Philadelphia Eagles in their preseason opener, 24-9, what we most made note of were injuries.
Damarious Randall, Kentrell Brice, Don Barclay and Malachi Dupre were among the guys who went down. We know Randall was a concussion, so now he has another excuse for playing poorly for a while.
Barclay might be the biggest injury. They called it an ankle during the game, but it looked pretty severe, regardless. And there’s your only real backup center on the roster, which might not be noteworthy if Corey Linsley weren’t injured often.
But let’s throw that away for a moment. This is preseason and it’s about winning jobs. So here’s who we liked and who we didn’t.
This Is All About Defense
If the Packers are going to go anywhere, i.e. the Super Bowl, this year, it will be about defense. Kenny Clark, who the coaching staff has been talking up all offseason, really does appear to be the real deal. Clark spent most of his limited evening in the Eagles’ backfield. If he can continue that in the regular season, the Packers’ defensive line will be beastly.
Safety Morgan Burnett, who is now more or less an inside linebacker, was making tackles all over the place. He missed one early, but overall, was the most impressive player on the field next to Clark.
Nick Perry? Well, looks like he’s carrying over his success from last season. Perry looked like what he was when he finished 2016 — the best run defender and pass rusher on the Packers’ defense. Of course, the ultimate question with Perry will be how many games is he going to miss because of injury?
Thus far, I like what I’m seeing from Blake Martinez. You know what we always say about the Packers’ inside linebackers — they don’t make plays. But there was Martinez out there hitting fools hard and making plays. He looks like a different guy and, yes, like he’s made that good old second-year jump.
And hey, my boy Josh Hawkins. The Packers still don’t look like they can cover anyone. The Eagles’ quarterbacks, regardless of who they were, were tearing the Packers’ secondary apart. Hawkins, who made the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2016, was the only guy who could — or wanted — to cover anyone.
Lastly, in terms of the defense, look at Reggie Gilbert. The Packers need more support in the pass rush and this is a guy who made a great push to be on the roster last year. He ended up spending the year on the practice squad. However, he looks like he can get after the quarterback. Might be hard to put him on the practice squad again.
Who didn’t I like on the defense? Highly-touted rookie cornerback Kevin King. I’ll tell you one thing. That guy is physical. He can hit and tackle. The problem is, he reminded me of Ahmad Carroll out there. Just throw it deep on Carroll/King and you’ll have success! Plenty of time to get better, though, right, rook?
And The Offense?
Obviously, Aaron Rodgers didn’t play, so there’s not a ton to talk about here. I will say, the Packers did nothing — or Brett Hundley did nothing — for his trade value. I wouldn’t say Hundley looked uncomfortable out there, but he didn’t look good and he had plenty of opportunity to. That third or fourth the Packers were going to get for Hundley during the draft — based on tonight’s performance, they should have taken it and not looked back.
Two tackles didn’t help matters for anyone. I will take Shawn’s word for this, because I missed the first series. He told me my favorite — a guy I’ve never liked — Bryan Bulaga was on skates out there. Big frickin’ surprise. Jason Spriggs, a second-round pick last year — a guy the Packers traded up for, was a heap of garbage. I always say one thing about offensive linemen — if I don’t notice you, you’re doing great. Well, I noticed the hell out of Jason Spriggs on Thursday night.
Oh, and how about your boy Jeff Janis, you ask? You’re cut, Jeff. I’m sorry. Janis caught at 20-yard touchdown. He also dropped two passes that hit him in the hands. I’m serious. Prepare yourself for Jeff Janis to be cut. Jeff Janis should prepare himself for that too.
Should I be worried about Ty Montgomery’s fumble? I don’t know, but I am. I’m still not certain he’s a certifiable NFL running back. I would like him to be because I love the matchup problems he poses for defenses. That said, you’re not doing yourself any favors, Ty.
Do you know who I like at receiver? I like the guys who are fighting for a roster spot. Max McCaffrey looks a little bit like his old man. DeAngelo Yancey can make plays and looks like he might be a find from a crappy college program. Malachi Dupre, who I loved when the Packers picked him in the seventh round, looks like he can make plays — at least when he’s not taking a cheap shot with a helmet to his chest.
We said this in the podcast. Don’t worry about Mason Crosby missing kicks on Family Night. He’s done it before and it didn’t matter. He was fine on Thursday night and he will be fine this season.
Trevor Davis…. yeah, boyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! You wanna return some kicks? Return some kicks, motherfucker!
And yes, Justin Vogel. My god, we’ve probably mentioned it 100 times. Ted Thompson just can’t find a punter. What’s your problem, Ted? All these asshats have to do is kick the damn ball? It’s not that hard! Well, after 10-plus years, Big Ted might have finally come through. Justin Vogel can kick!