Every coach after every preseason game will say his team has work to do. Things to “clean up”. This Packer team, with Saturday night’s performance, will keep the coaches busy Sunday and Monday.
Especially Special Teams coaches and the offensive and defensive line coaches.
Packer fans who watched the Texans return a punt 43 yards in the first quarter had a sinking feeling in their stomachs. This feeling has been in Packer fan’s intestines for so many years it feels like an ulcer eating away at our championship dreams. All Packer fans would cherish being able to say after a game, “Boy, the Special Teams played well”. While we long for a game changing play leading to a win, “cleaning up” long returns by the coverage teams, and fumbles and poor blocking by the Kickoff Team would ease our collective pain. Saturday’s performance left us reaching for the Tums.
When your offense is scripted for the run game to set up the pass, you better have some offensive linemen that can win their assignments. While this O-line group was recently touted as “the deepest” LaFleur has coached, they failed to impress in their 2021 debut. The Packers second team, although it often included Josh Meyers in the first half, could not establish even a semblance of a run game. On passing downs the pocket was collapsing quickly, contributing to Jordan Love’s fumble.
The defense allowed holes in the running game which combined with a poor night for Josh Jackson in the secondary, allowed the Texans to lead at half time. While the score was 13-7 at half, the Texans had multiple scoring chances that they did not convert, allowing the Pack to keep the score close.
Jordan Love looked brilliant for one drive, but could not sustain other drives. Hopeful fans were happy to see the young QB’s accurate arm. Playing with a receiver group that did not include any starters, Love was accurate when given time to throw. He did not attempt a scramble. The receivers who did play had some nice catches, the most spectacular by Devin Funchess, a one handed diving grab. In the second half there were nice plays by Packer players but no drive that strung enough plays together to score. Reggie Begelton made a nice grab over the middle with a defender who clubbed his hands as he caught it.
This first game was a learning game for young players. The Packers played to improve. The Texans played to win. Let’s hope learning turns into winning before the regular season starts.