Packers vs. Chiefs: What We Learned

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Jarrett Boykin

The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 24-3, in their final preseason game of 2012. Thank God that’s over.

As you might expect, backups played most of the game. With that, let’s get to it.

Here’s what we learned.

We’re pretty sure the Chiefs have the recipe for beating the Packers. After handing the Packers their only regular-season loss in 2011, the Chiefs came out in this game and pounded the Packers, running on nine straight plays at one point. For the most part, the Packers didn’t do anything to deter them. The Chiefs two top-of-the-line backs Jamaal Charles (3 carries, 12 yards) and Peyton Hillis (6 carries, 46 yards) did pretty much whatever they wanted. Why? For the most part, guys either couldn’t get off blocks or (surprise!) didn’t wrap up when they were trying to tackle. How long do you have to play football before you get that fundamental aspect of the game down? If the rest of the NFL is paying attention, and we’re sure they are, pound the ball at the Packers defense, control the clock and probably win the game.

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Ladies and gentlemen, Graham Harrell! We were wondering what this guy would do if he had more than one second to throw the ball. On Thursday, he showed us. Harrell was 13-of-15 for 223, two touchdowns and no picks. He had two big plays on the first touchdown drive — a nice play to Jermichael Finley (who admittedly made a great catch) for 27 on 3rd and 12 and the long pass to Tori Gurley to set up Alex Green‘s touchdown run. Harrell also had two nice completions to Jarrett Boykin — one on third down with under two minutes to keep a scoring drive alive and another on his second touchdown pass. Most importantly, Harrell made good decisions, showed presence in the pocket and kept plays alive with his feet. Harrell probably just locked up the backup quarterback job.

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Jarrett Boykin is the Packers’ sixth receiver. Actually, that probably won’t happen, but can anyone deny this guy deserves a roster spot, if not in Green Bay, then somewhere? For the second week in a row, Boykin was the most impressive receiver on the field. We know that’s not saying much in the fourth preseason game, but Boykin has steadily improved and steadily made plays. On Thursday night he caught five for 82 and a touchdown. The guys supposedly competing for the sixth receiver spot? Tori Gurley had two for 69, but let another deep ball go off his fingertips. Diondre Borel caught two for 27. The Packers may end up cutting all three of these guys, but Boykin certainly has made it interesting and from what we’ve seen, we’d take him over Gurley or Borel. Hell, we’d probably take him over James Jones.

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The Packers were looking long and hard at safety Jerron McMillian and cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Sam Shields. McMillian looks like the leader in the clubhouse for the starting spot in the Packers nickel package, at least if you were paying attention to when he was in the game. That being said, neither he, Anthony Levine or M.D. Jennings did anything of note. That is, unless you count McMillian’s blown assignment on the punt team, when he allowed his man to run by him and block Tim Masthay‘s kick. As for the cornerbacks, Shields looked solid for the first time this preseason. He even came up with a pick in the end zone in the second quarter. Hayward was decent and that’s about all there is to say. What does this all tell us? The Packers are going to name someone the starter at each of these positions, but we expect they’ll remain in a state of flux for the foreseeable future. Other than the holdovers — Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams — no one is head and shoulders above anyone else.

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What’s up with Terrell Manning? The Packers gave their rookie sixth-round pick a heavy dose of playing time as well and he looked lost most of the time. He was, at times, out of position, getting blocked to the other side of the field, missing tackles or unaware of the ball. It looks like the Packers are going to have a tough time keeping this guy. Jamari Lattimore and Robert Francois look like the clear choices to backup A.J. Hawk and D.J. Smith.

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With that, a few final thoughts.

  • Brad Jones — not really impressed. At all.
  • Erik Walden has been the Packers best pass rusher this preseason and fit the bill again Thursday night. He probably has no chance to start, but hopefully he can carry it over to the regular season as a situational rusher.
  • Hey, Packers first-team offense, remove head from ass! On the first series Cedric Benson fumbled and Marshall Newhouse had a false start penalty.
  • For maybe the first time ever, we noticed Mike Neal on the field. He actually put some pressure on the quarterback. Mike Neal must have felt like he was playing for his job.
  • Most of the time, Alex Green reminds us of Brandon Jackson. When he catches the ball out of the backfield and has space to run, he reminds us of Darren Sproles.

On to the games that count!

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.

23 Comments on "Packers vs. Chiefs: What We Learned"

  1. Shawn iltarion

    Yeah, Monty, because running the ball worked so well for the Chiefs. After all, they got a whole…. 3 points… out of it.

    Make no mistake about it though, the 49ers will definitely try to run the ball. They have to. They have Alex Smith at QB.

    Sam Shields made the team. Congrats.

    Agree. Erik Walden had a great game. He has looked like a new man this preseason.

    Mike Neal was HUGE tonight and made the team. Congrats. I suspect dude is back on PEDs, and it is a great thing.

    First team offense? Who cares? Everyone healthy? Mission accomplished.

    Good call on Manning. Lattimore didn’t even play, which means he is in.

    So’oto, my man, good bye.

    Boykin should have made the team, but maybe, maybe not.

    Borel and Gurley, good luck elsewhere.

    Graham Harrell, way to shut them up, bro.

    • Harry Hood

      PED’s? Its Adderall. He failed the test for Adderall. But yes, he should be back on the Adderall. Which is a great thing, for it should give him more energy than any other player on the field.

  2. chad lundberg

    I hope im not the only one thinking this, but i really hope that mike neal delivers and turns into the kind of player we had originally hoped he would. It would be so essential to see him do that, because that alone could potentially bring the pass rush back.

    • Kristofer from Oshkosh

      I have been thinking about Mike Neal’s potential also and I believe if he plays up to his potential, we would see Cullen Jenkins type impact on the packers defense. If Neal can stay healthy and do what he did against the Chiefs consistantly than the Packers defense would see a 360 degree turn around from last year’s D.

  3. Stinky

    Thank you Packers for giving Harrell an opportunity. Alot of us from the south were praying for his success. He is very fortunate to be with a 1st class organization.
    Harrell owns McCoy.

  4. TyKoSteamboat

    Alex Green fits our offense perfectly…

    Gurley looks like an NFL reciever & played like one tonight…

    I like the team collusion on the sidelines…

    Harrel is an ample back-up (otherwise he wouldn’t be wearing the Green & Gold

    Nick Perry is a monster & Jerel Worthy is going to be a good player…

    I wish we had Erik Walden & Mike Neal for week 1

  5. sup

    i let Neal walk. too little too late in my eyes.

    hope Thompson looks into trading James jones. boykins or gurley would be just fine if given a chance.

    shields had a good game. made a contribution in run support. has shown improvement in tackling. guy could also field punts if something happened to Cobb.

    manning id like to stash on the practice squad or IR.

    MD Jennings should be cut. thought he was terrible tonight.

    walden Moses have to be locks.

    brad jones I’d cut.

    • Vijay

      You have the smartest analysis of who stays and who goes in my opinion. You are pretty much spot on (with my thoughts). Trade scenario below.

      • Shawn iltarion

        Is it still smart if 50% of it is wrong?

        Neal will make the team. Some pass rush late is better than no pass rush ever.

        MD Jennings will make the team.

        Brad Jones so far not cut. THough I would cut him.

        Jones still not traded and looking unlikely with Borel and Gurley already cut. Still slightly possible with the last 4 cuts yet to be announced.

  6. Vijay

    PREDICTION TIME – TRADE SCENARIO
    JAMES JONES WILL BE TRADED TO MIAMI DOLPHINS FOR LYDON MURTHA (2nd STRING LT) STRAIGHT UP.

    • Harry Hood

      A 2nd string LT? JJ had more TD’s last year than everybody but CJ, Jennings, Nelson and Finley in the NFCN.

  7. Vijay

    Mike Neal get the fuck out! A couple of plays in your last meaningless pre season game does not a career make. I’d rather keep Merling and/or Muir than Neal, personally.

    • CaptJack

      James Harrison didn’t do crap his first several seasons… made some plays in the preseason, eventually won a job…. same with Brett Keisel…

  8. Harry Hood

    If the rest of the NFL is paying attention, and we’re sure they are, pound the ball at the Packers defense, control the clock and probably win the game.
    —————-
    Yeah, and also score every time. Because we sure will.

  9. Au Green

    Manning was not as bad as you stated. Six tackles, one assist and one sack.

    Boykin could make the team and Jones could get traded to Miami. Neal made a few plays but, I saw him being pushed around by OL’s also.

    Shield looked much improved and should get lots of playing time.

    Harrell finally showed great improvement. Still needs to continue to improve.

  10. David

    Was Dezman Moses effective?

    On the highlights… I saw him totally rushing the passer wide… no containment and the RB made him pay.

    Looked pretty stupid. Especially since they were running all night.

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