In the Wake of the First Preseason Game
Cleveland 27 Green Bay 17. That was the score of the Packers first preseason game last season. The Browns went on to post a 4-12 record, the Packers, 15-1, and those marks qualify as a not-so-subtle reminder to keep the preseason in its proper perspective. That's not to say, however, there's not a few things to be gleaned from the exhibition exercise in San Diego.
-Most concerning, the injury to Desmond Bishop. He's a playmaker and he lends a physicality to the Packers defense that would be hard to replace. After seeing him carted off with a knee and possible hamstring injury, there's not much reason for optimism either.
-Most disturbing, the shoddy tackling on Vincent Brown's 27 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings and Dezman Moses all had shots at him but missed. It was like watching last season all over again. Weren't the Packers working hard on fixing their tackling problem this camp?
-Most misleading, over long haul, the Packers 4 turnovers. It would come as a shock if that kind of generosity carried over to the regular season. History says turnovers won't be an issue once the games start counting. For example, the Packers either won or broke even in the turnover battle every game last season. They were the only team to do so.
-Nick Perry looks like a player. He beat a starting caliber tackle for a sack and also set a mean edge against the run. He was a force, much more so than in practices. Of course that's when he works against Bryan Bulaga, who's a pro bowl caliber tackle.
-With Marshall Newhouse out and Derek Sherrod not cleared to practice as yet, Herb Taylor got the call at left tackle. If Newhouse and Sherrod couldn't play during their regular season, the Packers would have to do better than Taylor. He just didn't hold up consistently on the hot corner.
-Davon House is looking more and more like "the" guy at right corner. Unfortunately, he also hurt his shoulder during the game and it was clear it was giving him quite a bit of pain afterwards. If healthy, he has shown the makings for a legitimate NFL corner.
-For lack of a better phrase, James Starks looks "out-of-sorts" in a football sense. He drops Aaron Rodgers' first pass and then six plays later he loses the handle on a simple hand-off. (Rodgers was charged with the fumble). Starks may not be an elite running back but in the past, he's been a pretty good one. His training camp to date, rather non-descript.
-While we're in the neighborhood a) Alex Green is talented and appears to be a more natural runner than Starks, but we haven't seen a lot of production from him in live situations as yet. Perhaps it's coming back from major knee surgery or a lack of opportunities, but for whatever reason, we haven't seen that "wow" play.
-While we're in the neighborhood b) What do I know? During the game, I was very impressed with the running of free agent Marc Tyler. Hit the hole fast, ran with authority, scored a rushing touchdown. Some of that luster was lost with a late fumble but he still looked the part of an NFL running back. After the game, I checked his stats: 32 yards in 13 carries for a 2.5 average. Kind of underwhelming. Either those stats are a bit deceptive or you need a new analyst.