Rodgers looked a bit jumpy in the beginning, but then settled down. On his second pick it seemed like the ball may have slipped, but it’s hard to say. If he threw one of his normal, super-accurate passes there, Driver may have had a TD. It’s a bit comforting to know we can win when Rodgers doesn’t play great.
Ryan Grant was really weak until about 4 plays before his injury when he turned it on and it seemed he was seeing the holes better. He never was moving with great speed, but on the drive when he got hurt, there were good holes for him and he hit them well. I hope he’s OK. Wonder if we’ll call Ahman Green (in the UFL?) if he’s not?
Clay Matthews was fantastic. He never stops his pursuit and it pays off most of the time. I remember well when my wife, son and I went to Lambeau for training camp last year and saw Matthews in person. That guy’s arms and upper torso were so massive – even compared to the other massive players going by on tiny bikes. As much as his pursuit it really a key to his effectiveness, I think he may be one of the strongest LBs I’ve seen play in a while.
Mason Crosby was great – that 56 yarder cleared the uprights 10-15 feet above the bottom goal-post. Leg strength was a reason he was drafted and it showed there.
I liked the play of BJ Raji. He was active, moved well and pushed open the pocket early in the game. He’s a good player.
Still am not seeing much from Brad Jones. He didn’t make any major errors, but he just didn’t doesn’t do much.
It was quite interesting that Hawk sat except on special teams. Man was our overall D better with Chillar in there.
As one reader pointed out (DaveK?) it is probably a good thing that we didn’t hear Morgan Burnett’s name much. It almost seemed like the coaches emphasized with him the importance of staying home/staying with his assignment and not freelancing much (which is why it seemed he also didn’t make any big plays FOR us).
I liked the way Tramon Williams played tonight. He played tougher than I remember him playing in years’ past. Hope that lasts.
Sam Shields didn’t look great, but I don’t think he was a disaster. There were a couple plays thought when the QB didn’t get the ball to the man he was on and if Vick/Kolb had looked that way it could have hurt us.
Our O-Line was iffy in the first quarter especially and then they settled down…a bit. We’ll need them to play better going forward for us to beat the elite teams. Clifton looks particularly vulnerable (and winded) early on.
The Pack had a few uglier drives that ended up working out – but it made me question a bit the playcalling. We scored and we won so I won’t spend too much time on it, but the offense appeared to have trouble getting into a smooth rhythm.
I love how Jermichael Finley plays. Today gave us a decent sense for just how tough it will be to defend the Pack – Finley, Jennings, Driver, Jackson, Grant and even John Kuhn did some damage. It’s just really difficult for defenses to anticipate which player may be the first read – and this was evident from a game in which our offensive flow/playcalling was not great.
I really liked that Nick Collins smashed Michael Vick on that one near-TD play. Not sure it ended up making a lick of a difference, but what a great hit that was.
Our LB group played well today. They could have handled Vick a bit better, or at least contained him a bit better, but overall the LB group looked good.
Charles Woodson had a huge forced fumble today. I disagreed with Troy and Joe when they were piling on the rookie RB who coughed it up and then made another mistake. Brian Westbrook would have fumbled on that play – it was simply a great play by the guy who is best in the league at popping it loose.
I noticed Tom Crabtree got in the game way more than I thought he would. I would guess he played more snaps than Donald Lee. I’ve read before that he’s an extraordinary blocker – maybe that’s why. Just was interesting to see.
Huge stop at the end of the game by Clay Matthews – absolutely huge.
If I were Andy Reid, it would be awfully difficult to justify keeping Michael Vick off the field going forward. I would consider starting the guy outright. He played today a lot like how he played for the Falcons when they used the Packers in the playoff game at Lambeau a few years ago. Watching, I just had that sinking feeling on each play that he’d either run for 10-20 yards or throw to a WR who became wide open because defenders were trying to run him down. What an exceptional athlete the guy is.
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Clay was amazing. Simply amazing, especially for not playing until now (really). And I agree with you about Vick, much as I loathe him as a person. He showed he’s a good QB again. If Philly wants to win, they go with him.
I agree with about everything you said. Here are a few more thoughts:
– I liked how Capers used Matthews and Barnett. He moved Matthews all over the place. Big improvement from last year where he was always lined up on the right side and it was easy for teams to scheme him out of the game with a TE or RB. It gave him a lot of one on one match-ups which he won most of the time.
– I thought the 4th down play by Vick was predictable as it was the same play they ran on two other 3rd and short situations. Still hard to stop Vick for no yards and Barnett and Matthews both played it perfect. Barnett really blew his blocker back and was the key to that play.
– Ryan Grant really struggled early in this game. I texted by brother that he wasn’t hitting the seam fast enough and just looked indecisive. I think the coaches saw the same thing because the next series he committed early to the right gap and clicked off three 10 yard+ runs before getting hurt. I also thought Jackson came in and just did an outstanding job. He blocked well, ran hard, and protected the ball. The Packers can win games with Jackson until Grant gets back.
– Jennings one handed jump catch on third down was a huge play. If he doesn’t get that ball it is probably intercepted and his catch lead to a TD. Big play.
– I was so impressed by Raji. If he pushes the pocket like that this season it will be a HUGE help to this defense especially against pocket passes. His work was somewhat negated by Vick’s running ability but Raji was impressive and also took a TON of snaps. Harrell also had a nice pressure early in the game but it appears he tore his ACL pretty good. Feel bad for the guy. Pickett and Jenkins also play a bunch of minutes and I thought did very well. Props for Jenkins coming back with a broken hand. Getting Neal back this week should help with the rotation also.
I think it hard to evaluate our secondary in this game. Kolb was awful and Vick was more interested in running then reading coverages. My fear is Shields and Burnett get exposed a bit more against a quality QB. Nice game to get their feet wet though and really correct some things. The Packers really don’t play a high quality offense until week 7 so let’s hope Shields/Burnett really gel by then.
I think Lee tweaked something during the game as he hobbled off the field at one point. I think that is why Crabtree played so much but not sure about that…
I think the Packers played nickel most of the game leaving Hawk on the sideline. That happened in the Indy game last year and he only saw the field on ST’s.
I thought MM called a pretty good game especially in the 3rd quarter. He went too conservative in the 4th but it worked to some extent. Not calling a time out at the end of the first half and wasting 20 seconds had me screaming at the TV.
I think Harrell ends up on IR this week and I guess they add another DE to the roster given Jenkins hand injury also. I think Wynn is still available but I wonder if TT goes outside the organization to find someone.
A win on the road, facing a blitzing defense and a rejuvenated Vick in the national spotlight- any sort of win is a good win under those circumstances.
What I liked about this game was how much the team avoided so many of the stupid mistakes that have hurt them in the past 2 years. Very few, if any, penalties and a much improved special teams. If the Pack can cover kicks and return kicks like they did in this game, and if Crosby is going to finally fully mature and reach his potential this is a tough team to beat conventionally.
As everybody has said above, Matthews was outstanding. Seems almost unfair, in retrospect, to evaluate this D in preseason without him in the mix. He is a difference maker.
I noted one running play with really effective b locking. I played it over a few times and it featured Crabtree lining up as right TE, then doing a pre-snap shift to the backfield on the left and leading the blocking on a good left-side run. His blocking on that play showed me why the staff wanted to keep him.