For the second straight week, the Green Bay Packers looked less inept than their opponents, beating the Las Vegas Raiders 20-12 at Lambeau Field.
The home crowd anticipated a better game than last week thanks to getting to see a quarterback this week who will actually make the roster. Brett Hundley made his preseason debut, and with a lot of help from Eddie Lacy and company, the Packers’ starting offense looked the part.
Apparently, Mike McCarthy wasn’t blowing smoke when he said that the running game would be a focus this preseason. Even with his solid backup quarterback in the game, McCarthy leaned heavily on the run to get the offense in gear early. Eddie Lacy looked lighter on his feet while still running with power. His 20-yard run on his first carry of the game set the tone for his one series of the game.
All the Packers needed from Hundley was one third down conversion on an out route to Davante Adams, which was a good throw and catch against tight coverage, and one slant to Jared Cook that set up the Packers with 1st and goal from the 6. Lacy rolled over the pile three plays later to give the Packers a 7-0 lead.
After a three and out on their second possession, Hundley had the Packers on the move again during his third series. A 20-yard run by James Starks where he weaved through traffic off the right side was followed by a 31-yard back shoulder catch by Davante Adams up the sideline. Unfortunately, on that same play, a somewhat late and low hit by Khalil Mack re-aggravated Hundley’s hurt ankle, knocking him out of the remainder of the game and possibly the remainder of the preseason.
If you picked that time to stop watching, we wouldn’t blame you.
However, you would have missed some fairly good defense from the Packers, who stymied the Raiders all night long, even when the Raiders kept their starters in until halftime. Even with that being the case, the Raiders only had three points going into the fourth quarter. Rather than it being the much hyped new Raider offense under Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, it looked like the old Raiders with dropped balls and penalties in key moments.
With that being said, it is hard to tell if the Packers have some really stellar depth and athleticism on defense, or if the Browns and Raiders are just offensive midgets. The one thing I can tell you is that the Packers have been steadily building speed and athleticism on defense since the debacle of getting embarrassed by Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs four years ago, and this year’s defense looks like the ripened fruit of that strategy.
The inside linebackers, including Sam Barrington, who started, were flying to the ball all game. Perhaps due to injuries to other players, Joe Thomas got a ton of snaps and continued his excellent preseason. Blake Martinez flowed well to the ball even though he had no standout plays. And Carl Bradford once again made his presence felt.
The Packers also once again got an excellent performance from their young secondary. Raider receivers had a hard time getting open all night, and the secondary even helped the offense out with a couple returns off of interceptions. The defensive line essentially remains the one question mark on this defense, though they held their ground tonight.
Kenny Clark and Kyler Fackrell both had increased playing time, including on the second unit. Neither really stood out for good or bad reasons. Still, since the Raiders played their first team offense until halftime, both got to play against starters for once.
Peter Mortell once again won the punting duel, which seriously raises the question of whether Tim Masthay could be in trouble after all. It still seems like a long shot, but Mortell took another step forward.
In the vein of long shots to make the team that impressed, safety Kentrell Brice stood out again and I believe is the consensus pick to make this team as an undrafted rookie. Receiver Geronimo Allison also had a good game, and could be difficult to part with when it comes down to cuts.
That is two preseason games (or three if you prefer) in the books. We hold out hope that we might actually get to see Aaron Rodgers in the third.
That pitch and catch from from Hundley to Adams was a thing of beauty, to bad we weren’t emphasizing low hits this week when their actually were some, eh zebs?
Datone looked good again, stupid penalty aside (maybe he’s trying to be nasty). So did Perry. Didn’t see a whole lot from the rest of the OLBs.
Martinez did have a stand out play- it was on STs-FANTASTIC open field tackle on a booming punt. He was also EVERYWHERE on defense, really good to see. Much the same could be said (and already has) about Bradford and Thomas.
Rollins and Randall looked good (missed tackle aside).
Spriggs got a rude awakening to life in the NFL but settled down afterwords.
O-line run-blocked pretty well (esp. the first team), not so much on the pass.
Crockett looked a lot better, still don’t think he’s a great receiving threat, just a bit too sluggish The kid from Troy had another nice run.
Callahan’s ability to elude pressure is Rodgersesque, now if only he could find a WR.
Nice return from Davis, kid looks like a lightning bolt on returns.
Looked like Callahan was a bit too jumpy, seemed as though he was ready to take off every snap.
After his first few snaps I absolutely agree. He really seems to be having difficulty going through his progressions, locking in to TEs or one side of the field before taking off if nothing is their. That said that’s too be expected from a DIII college player and I believe his athletic ability is unmistakable. Still waiting to see how big his arm is, seems he puts good zip on the short/intermediate routes but haven’t seen him throw past 20 yards yet.
Not sure who the 49ers have on offense. If anyone remembers week 3 of last years preseason, the defense was ran ragged by the fast paced Chip Kelly offensive style. It will be very interesting to see how the Packer defense reacts and adjusts to that style this next game against a Kelly coached offense. We will see how much better this D is in speed, quick adjustments, and stamina soon.