Packers vs. Chargers: What We Learned

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Tramon Williams

The Green Bay Packers lost to the San Diego Chargers in their first preseason game of the year by a score of 21-13. As with most preseason games, it was a boring game filled with miscues and guys who aren’t going to be on an active roster in a few weeks.

The Packers’ starters played minimally. Seventeen injured players didn’t play at all.

Here’s what learned.

Herb Taylor is not the answer at left tackle. Yeah, he was only in there because both Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod are injured, but it was pretty apparent why Taylor has only started one game in his NFL career. On consecutive plays Taylor was tossed aside by Melvin Ingram and called for holding, and then whipped by Ingram again. The second time, the rookie hit Aaron Rodgers as he threw and the pass was picked.

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Graham Harrell is, uh… not real accurate. Harrell was 15-of-27 for 135 yards and a touchdown. Those aren’t bad numbers and Harrell did move the offense at times, but he also made a lot of throws in front of, behind and over guys. Maybe we’re spoiled by watching Rodgers throw, but Harrell needs some work.

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Guys not named Clay Matthews put pressure on the quarterback. Nick Perry had a sack in the first quarter (after which an absurd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called). His backup, or the guy competing for the same job, depending on who you believe, Erik Walden was also got in the quarterback’s face on a couple occasions.

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The Packers seem like they’re planning on giving the running game more than a passing glance this season. That is, if their backs can handle it. James Starks carried five times for 15 yards, fumbled and dropped a pass. That’s not a good start. We were ready to praise undrafted rookie Marc Tyler, who ran hard (13 carries, 32 yards) without much blocking help, but then he fumbled on the Packers final drive after catching a pass. That ended the game. Actually, maybe we should thank him for that.

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The Packers still have some work to do in the secondary. We’ll just say it was a mixed bag. M.D. Jennings got abused by Antonio Gates on the Chargers’ first touchdown. Tramon Williams came back and made an interception a short while later. Rookie Casey Hayward was good and bad. He played tight coverage most of the time and made a nice play to break up a pass. He was also called for a holding penalty and gave up a long pass when he wasn’t looking for the ball. Davon House looked solid and even made a tackle for a loss, but he didn’t wrap up on any of the tackles he made, which brings us to this…

The Packers still don’t know how to tackle. When is the coaching staff going to get these guys to wrap up when they’re trying to bring someone down? Too many guys, especially the defensive backs, are just running into guys.

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Desmond Bishop might be injury prone. After missing games because of a calf injury last season, Bishop showed up this year and promptly failed his physical. Balky calf again. Thursday night he hurt his knee while making a tackle on a running play. Bishop had to be carted off. It’s not the end of the world though. D.J. Smith came in and played well in his absence, just like he did last season.

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What’s going on with Randall Cobb? We know the Packers want to expand his role in the offense, but they said he’d remain their primary returner. Cobb led the Packers with four receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown on Thursday, but wasn’t back on returns. Instead, the Packers took a long look at Diondre Borel as a return man. He fumbled a kick return and almost got killed on his only punt return. The Packers also tried Shaky Smithson as a punt returner. He also fumbled, but at least he recovered his muff. In all likelihood, the Packers are protecting Cobb for the regular season, but they could also be looking for someone competant to replace him so they can use him more on offense.

That’s all for now. More fun and excitement to follow!

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

24 Comments on "Packers vs. Chargers: What We Learned"

  1. monkee

    i thought Harrell did alright for the first game. Were a lot of dropped balls that were simply not his fault. Not sure how you blame dropped balls on accuracy.

  2. AZ Pack

    Really hope Bishop is alright. The dude may have a couple of injury issues, however he tackles well and is a very good ILB. I really felt the defensive front looked pretty good all around. It’s nice to see a couple of those guys really pumped up and see some competitiveness out there.

    Go Pack Go!

  3. Phatgzus

    Uh…Cobb was “returning” punts for at least a portion of the game (I use quotations because he only ever fair caught a punt, even when he had 5-10 yards of space). I’m pretty sure they were just trying to keep him healthy, and maybe have him focus on not muffing the catch.

  4. Phatgzus

    I agree with you, monkee, I think Harrell performed decently, he definitely seemed to get better as the game progressed, not to mention there were a couple of dropped passes on well thrown balls on his receivers’ part (Cosby for example). However you look at it, there’s little doubt the dude can run a 2-minute drill pretty well.

  5. Richard

    Graham Harrell was Graham Horrible. He made Tim Tebow look accurate and completely missed every receiver that was more than 15 yards away from him.

  6. Adam

    I was at the game and I’d say the best performance came from the stands. To say 40% of the Stadium was in Green & Gold might be an understatement.

  7. peter

    Tackle is my biggest worry right now. They need to get that figured out ASAP I think I’d look to signing a vet FA.

    I also was unimpressed with the Dline no real push again until the 3rd string was out there.

    Bishop’s knee injury was a freak thing can’t say injury prone on that one.

    Real excited about our RBs thing we will take a lot of team by surprise with that.

    Also I really with we would have jumped up and gotten Ingram the man is a freak and going to be a force for years to come.

  8. Shawn iltarion

    Horrible game. You expect the 1st preseason game to be bad, but you still don’t expect a squad coached by MM to look that discombobulated.

    Frankly, I think I’ve seen a preschool recess that looked more organized than the Packer offense.

    Fumbles, dropped balls, it was kind of like a continuation of the game against the Giants.

    Personally, I thought Tyler’s fumble was the PERFECT way to end the game.

    What we learned from that game? Nothing. A bad first time of it doesn’t mean Herb Taylor is a lost cause any more than a couple big plays meant Vic So’oto was going to take over the NFL.

    I was surprised how inaccurate Graham Harrell was. Frankly, he was better out of the pocket than in it.

    I liked what I saw from Nick Perry and Devon House.

    MD Jennings didn’t look ready to be a starting NFL safety to me.

    I don’t know what was up with James Starks, but that was terrible. Dropped balls and fumbles are bad enough, but he also had zero explosiveness. Not sure why Alex Green got such light work.

    Looks like DJ Smith will get his chance, just not in Hawk’s spot. Once again we see Hawk’s value to this defense remains his ability to stay healthy and play every week.

    In 2010 our three best tacklers were Desmond Bishop, Nick Collins, and Charles Woodson. With Woodson not tackling as well and Collins and Bishop no longer on the defense, it should hardly be a big surprise that the defense isn’t tackling as well.

    However, poor tackling is a league-wide plague, with the Packer’s first opponent, the 49ers being one of the few teams not suffering from this particular malady.

  9. Ivomitonvikingfans

    When did Dom C. become Off. coordinator? Why is this keystone cops syndrome spreading to the offense? Why do TT and MM hate running backs? Why does James Jones run nice routes and then refuse to catch the fucking ball? Why do we draft defenders that hate tackling? I was a fool and had hopes that a few of our draft picks would contribute right away, not so sure right now.I know its only first preseason game but it just seems like 80% of the players on this team are fucking projects. They are always on the verge, if we wait just one more season. Not panicking yet, but a little concerned

  10. Madcity Packer Fan

    The first pre-season game will pretty much always be this bad until Harrell improves and I think in time that will happen. The real alarm of this game was the turnovers from our starters. That has to be one of the main focuses when they role tape. With a full week of to work on some of the issues we should bounce back next week.

  11. nurseratchett

    It was ugly. It was a little scary. I learned the O Line remains porous & the defense is still all about missing tackles & giving up big plays.

    A little chant that kept me calm….its only the first preseason game, its only the first preseason game….

  12. Jonathan

    I was SO glad to watch football and was I little ticked off when I had to watch the shit fest that was the first quarter. With that being said, I think there were some good things about last night. BJ Coleman has swag. Reminds me of that Brent guy. I think Harrell would have looked a lot better with first team offense in. I thought Marc Tyler did well, considering the conditions.

    Not sure why people are freaking out right now. We’re ok.

  13. TyKoSteamboat

    I didn’t realize how big and powerful both Nick Perry & Davon House are…let’s polish-up our game.

    I fucking hate fumbles…it’s as if Ryn Grant is still on our roster

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