If you were hoping for a big improvement from the Green Bay Packers’ pass defense — one that ranked 31st in the league in 2016 — you’re probably pretty disappointed today.
Despite the Packers coming away with a 24-9 win in their first preseason game, the weak link of last year’s defense didn’t look any different.
The good news is the defense created four turnovers. And if the secondary doesn’t hold up, that defense will be completely reliant on creating turnovers. I’ll tell you another Packers’ defense that was entirely reliant on turnovers — the 2011 unit. And we know how that year ended.
The Eagles’ quarterbacks combined to go 35-of-54 for 275 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on Thursday night. But let’s break that down a little further. Backup Matt McGloin was 28-of-42 for 205 yards. Starter Carson Wentz was a perfect 4-of-4 for 56 yards and a touchdown. He left the game with a 158.3 rating.
So who did the Packers trot out there?
The starters were Quinten Rollins and Kevin King on the outside, with Damarious Randall in the slot. We wouldn’t say any of the three had a banner night. Randall got injured, so we’ll give him an incomplete, but the other two guys didn’t look good at all.
Rollins has supposedly been playing better than any corner in camp. That didn’t show in the game. King is a rookie and he looked like one. He gave up the Eagles’ touchdown by first getting beat deep and then missing the tackle.
Interestingly, King had issues with the deep ball, but he was more than solid around the line of scrimmage, repeatedly making big stops at or behind the line.
As we noted last night, backup Josh Hawkins seemed like the only guy who could cover anyone. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus handed my boy LaDarius Gunter the highest grade on the team for his performance — an 83.3.
Other than a forced fumble and recovery, we didn’t notice Gunter. And maybe that’s a good thing, because we certainly noticed Rollins and King.
We’re not going to panic, however.
Davon House, supposedly the team’s No. 1 cornerback, sat out with a hamstring injury. King will get better and maybe, it’s time to consider moving Gunter back up the depth chart.
Personally, I am not buying the hype on Rollins, especially after seeing him in game action. Looked pretty much like the same disappointment he was last season to me. I will reserve judgment on Randall. Hopefully, he isn’t Sam Shields in terms of concussions. It would be great if he were Sam Shields in terms of coverage.