Well, that was even more excruciating to watch than we expected. The Green Bay Packers managed a 17-11 victory over the Cleveland Browns in preseason game one.
Unfortunately, half of the guys we wanted to get a look at weren’t dressed for the game. After seeing Jordy Nelson go down with an ACL last preseason, the Packers have obviously decided… “Eh, fuck this shit!”
Here were the notable inactives: Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley, Randall Cobb, Jeff Janis, Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and, as expected, the PUP list guys — Nelson and Corey Linsley.
That left the offense to undrafted rookie Joe Callahan, as was expected. And look, Joe Callahan might have himself a future of some sort in the league.
That wasn’t expected. The Division III star went 16-of-23 for 124 yards, one TD and no picks. Most impressive was the drive right before the half, when Callahan led the Packers 80 yards in 2:27 to make the score 10-5.
Yeah, 10-5 because the Browns’ first score came on a safety. Don Barclay, now a guard and center, didn’t bother to block nose tackle Jamie Meder when the Packers started on their one. Meder easily tackled James Starks in the end zone for the game’s first score.
So, even though he’s no longer a tackle, Donny Barclay has picked up right where he left off last season.
It’s hard to analyze a preseason game, though. Too many guys playing. So let’s get down to what we noticed.
These will go both ways. They’re not indicative of a great or bad overall performance, but these are the plays that stuck out Friday night.
- On the Browns first play from scrimmage, Damarious Randall got burned by QB-turned-receiver Terrelle Pryor deep (50 yards). Randall was with Pryor 7/8 of the way, but Pryor hit the burners to make the catch at the end. One play, but not a very good one for Randall.
- That very same drive ended when Micah Hyde picked Bob Griffin at the goal line. Hyde is just solid. Never spectacular, just does his job and makes plays. Reminds me of a guy who played much the same way and I nicknamed “Solid.” His name was Al Harris.
- Chris Banjo — special teams ace. With Janis and Banjo, the Packers probably have their best special teamers since… Travis Jervey? And they have two of them. Banjo’s recovery of that muffed punt in the first quarter reaffirmed that.
- That Kyler Fackrell sack? Dude isn’t going to get any regular season playing time, but he lit Cody Kessler the fuck up!
- The same goes for Christian Ringo and that fourth-quarter safety. We’re not even sure if he’ll make the team, but he smoked Kessler on that play.
Approximately 739 guys got on the field, so it was tough for anyone to have a truly big night, but these guys caught my eye.
- Long Hair, Don’t Care! That’s right. That’s why you’re seeing tight end Justin Perillo’s photo above. He’s the one guy we’ve been hearing about in camp that actually also did something in the game. Five catches for 52 yards to lead the Packers in both categories. Not only is this guy probably getting a roster spot as the No. 3 tight end, he looks like he could actually contribute on a weekly basis.
- Carl Bradford — I’ve beat the shit out of this guy. However, watching the game live, I felt he played pretty well. And I’m basing that off the fact that he appeared to be in position and doing what he was supposed to be doing. Three solo tackles on the evening. Wasn’t making plays left and right, but was doing his job. Might still have a shot at being a backup.
- Similarly, it seemed like there was a difference in Joe Thomas, who was just too small to regularly play inside backer in the past. The tape will tell, but Thomas put on weight this offseason and it appears to have paid off. At a glance, Thomas didn’t look like a kid getting shoved around out there anymore. He also recorded three tackles — two solo and an assist.
- Safety Kentrell Brice is the undrafted rookie we all liked from the start. He’s raw, but athletic. He sure as shit isn’t afraid to stick his nose in there either. Brice might end up being a practice squad guy, but he appears to have an NFL future. Tied Bradford for the team lead with three solo tackles.
- All we’re going to say about rookie tackle Jason Spriggs is that this game pretty much confirmed what we’ve heard. He looks like the real deal.
- Rookie running back Brandon Burks, another undrafted rookie, looked nice. He ran nine times for 45 and caught two for 3. John Crockett may need to start looking over his shoulder.
- You want a new punter? We do. Peter Mortell averaged 42.7 on three kicks. All three were downed inside the 20. That ginger fuck, Tim Masthay? Averaged 25 yards on three kicks. None inside the 20.
- Last but not least, Datone Jones. The former first-round pick is now entrenched as an outside linebacker. He really looked like a solid pass rusher on Friday night. Of course, we’re going to temper our expectations since he did it against second and third-team guys who play for the Browns. He BETTER dominate guys like that.
Lastly, we might as well address the elephant in the room.
Janis didn’t play because of some new-found hand injury. Not great for him. On the flip side, no receiver — particularly the one named Davante Adams — really did anything in the game either.
The exception might be the guy who’s been doing it since July, Jared Abbrederis, but he only caught two for 23.
Week two is when we should really get a look at the team. Rodgers said he’s playing and we expect the majority of the starters and names to be out there next week.