Thoughts on first preseason game

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  • I was at the game.
  • One thing everyone saw was our starting defense get used by Cleveland’s offense. I know some guys were missing, but we had most of our starters. The Cleve was able to run the ball OK, but they carved us up through the air. And it was Jake Delhomme doing it too – not pretty. It was a poor start to the overall season but I’m not ready to get too worked up about it yet.
  • AJ Hawk seemed to be solely at fault for one of the TDs (the third one I believe). He really struggles in coverage. The guy put one quick move on him and had an easy TD.
  • I was seriously relieved to see what seems to be a legit punting duel. While I know I missed some apparently questionable punts at the end of the game, I saw a couple huge punts with fantastic hang time. I realize that there’s not really anywhere to go but up for our punting game, but I was still encouraged by the legs of both punters.
  • Brady Poppinga had a couple nice plays – but I have no idea why he started the game (or at least played most of the snaps) at LOLB. From what I could tell Brandon Chillar barely played with the starting group (it was Jones and Poppinga in the outside spots).
  • Finley will be unstoppable this year. The guy is seriously talented and perhaps more importantly, seems to absolutely love playing the game. Not sure what the TV crowd could see, but Finley was pretty active getting the crowd pumped up before series would start, after getting a first down, etc. I’m already thinking Finley may end up being one of the sneaky best draft picks by TT. And while we’re at it, let’s give credit to the coaching for bringing him along like they have.
  • On a related Finley note, it was very evident to me just how much his presence (especially when he spreads out wide) causes serious match-up issues for defenses. LBs in coverage have no chance – none. And CBs are too small (and also when CBs switch over to cover him, it seems to open things up for Driver and Jennings.)
  • Last year, when Rodgers was asked why he was sacked far less frequently in the 2nd half of the season, his answer was simple and somewhat surprising: Jermichael Finley. He essentially said that when Finley is in there, defenses have so much trouble figuring out how defend him that Rodgers can get rid of the ball quicker.
  • Didn’t take much from this game overall – but here were a few players who looked decent to me: Charlie Peprah, Mike Neal, Quinn Porter, Andrew Quarless.
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9 Responses to “Thoughts on first preseason game”

  1. DaveK Says:

    I have not seen the game yet. Set to DVR it tonight on NFL network.

    Disappointed to hear that about Hawk. If he is going to be marginal in coverage then you might as well get Bishop on the field more.

    I was at family night and saw both punters live also. I thought they both punted really well at family night especially when they both kicked out of the back of the end zone. Both kicked the crap out of the ball. During war-ups Bryan just kicked the ball. Masthay spent a good deal of time on footwork and ball drops. Bryan seems to be more fluid and gets the ball out quicker. Masthay has the leg but not as fluid with his feet and ball drops. I’m guessing Bryan sticks for that reason unless holding for Crosby is an issue or something.

    How’d Bulaga look at guard?

  2. awhayes Says:

    DaveK – good question re Bulaga. Can’t say I got a real good sense for what he was up to. Let us know what you think after watching the game tonight.

    Anyone else happen to notice whether or not Bulaga played well?

  3. Tangysizzl Says:

    Bulaga was great, both at LG and LT if you ask me, great recognition, great physicallity and great balance. I think (scratch that) I know we got a winner with him.

  4. AZWarrior Says:

    I TIVOed the game and watched a bit of it tonight. On the Brown’s first TD, their fullback’s job was to block Hawk. Hawk’s job was to avoid the fullback and make the tackle. So the Brown’s FB seeked contact with Hawk, successfully occupied him so the RB could run by Hawk and score. What I am irate about is that Hawk didn’t seem to even try to avoid the contact with the FB.

    I’m thinking, why was he a 5th pick? He repeatedly gets exposed in coverage – that’s been repeatedly pointed out. But if he cannot shed / avoid blockers on opponent’s run plays, what is he out there for? I’m just amazed and disgusted that he did not try to avoid the Brown’s FB. It seems to be such a fundamental mental error.

  5. DaveK Says:

    I watched the first half last night and I thought Bulaga did pretty good. He got pushed back into the pocket one play at RG but pretty much dealt with his man and recognition on every other play. I thought Colledge had a decent game also in the first half. No idea how good the guys across from them were playing for Cleveland but both did well.

    I thought the first team offense played extremely well apart from Grant’s fumble. Excited about this team offensively this year. Quinn Johnson is a wrecking ball. When they ask him to run full speed and blow up a LB he does really well. Not sure he can catch, hit the right hole, or if he can pick up blitzes but man does he knock people backward.

    We are going to see a whole bunch of spread this year. AZ gave the league the blueprint and until Capers proves they can stop it the league is going to give us big doses of it. I liked Burnett’s willingness to stick his nose into a tackle. I also thought Poppinga (gasp!) had some nice plays. He was sure more productive then Jones.

  6. RayMidge Says:

    My impressions after skimming most of the first 3 quarters last night:

    O-line looked good, not just in protection but in creating lanes in the rush game. If the O-line is above average this is a scary offense. I am not convinced yet, because it mostly looked good in last years preseason too, but there is reason to hope that they will take the step up.

    Flynn looked sharp, he has improved and I feel confident he could be a placeholder if Rodgers went down.

    Rodgers looks ready to join the elite QBs, or should I say solidify his place in the elite. still so accurate and seemingly more comfortable and confident. the sky is the limit for him.

    Nice to see Harrell have a pulse. someone in the DL rotation besides the starters is going to have to emerge to replace Jolly, Harrell has as good a shot as anyone.

    LBs were unimpressive. still concerned that this group could be the weak link holding this team back.

    DBs were pretty good, and it was great to see Al Harris on the sidelines in good spirits. If he, bigby and blackmon can contribute at all this could be the surprise strength of this team and maybe one of the surprise groups in the league. TT has quietly assembled a very athletic group back there and maybe the light flicks on for some of the young guys this year.

    Looks like we may actually have a punter this year, which would be a welcome change.

    Kickoff coverage still seems to be below avg . . . amazing because they seemed to put so much emphasis on special teams for the last few years. I don’t get it.

    Overall, I think the D getting beat up a little bit isn’t the worst thing for the first preseason game. they need to be reminded how much work they need to do; in some ways if they had come out and shut down a bad-to-mediocre Cle. team I fear they might have gotten complacent. I think we will see a much better performance next time out.

  7. Nick Says:

    Couldnt agree more with you on Finley. I was at the game as well and noticed that right away. When they spread him outside in either a 3 or 4 receiver set, it was a guaranteed 12-15 yard play (at least). Defenses couldnt put a LB outside to cover him because they could cross up the routes and leave a LB on Jennings. Further, they couldnt put a CB on him because unless its a tall one, Finley catches it over him. It was incredible.

    The D played awful, and Hawk was completely to blame. He was totally exposed a few times and looked like a 3rd stringer. It’s time to either trade or release him. He’s useless.

    Past that, its the first preseason game so I wasnt too disappointed, espcially bc woodson was not playing as a number 1 CB (mostly nickel, from what I saw); and we have some early injuries.

    Special teams played well, punting was pretty good. I liked the aussie better, but the other guy almost put one inside the five on the second punt of the game. It was about a yard long before it bounced back for him.

  8. Joe Says:

    btw – there is breaking douche news from Minnesota:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-vikings-favre

  9. mark Says:

    you can never really tell from these pre-season games but on the plus side it looks like my prediction for calling Green Bay mr. Rogers neighborhood could happen – sharp quick passes – i dont remember him gettin the ball out that quick last year- on the negative -the D is the big question mark- and thats the championship side of the ball.

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