This take is a celebration. I am excited about the Donkeys victory. Brennan, thanks for bringing the G-Force! We needed this game. We got it! I FINALLY got the replay last night thanks to my good mate, Vargas.
I was impressed with the teams performance. For the most part, I thought the team played with confidence and a spirited style of football. Sure, we still saw Barnett & Chillar miss drive stopping tackles. On occasion, Colledge & Spitz were run over or around. The same happened to Tauscher. Yes, we must protect Rodgers to the max. Yes, we must improve our pass rush. And no, T-Mon should not get beat. And why is he single covering Brandon Marshall without deep help with under 2 minutes in the 1st half? Yes, James Jones should have caught the 3rd down pass. And B-Jack still lacks the vision and speed required to be a consistently productive player in the NFL. But, with that being said, the 3rd preseason game was the most complete
production of the '08 exhibition season.
Plainly stated, Rodgers was in sync. We saw chemistry between Rodgers, Lee, Driver, Jones and Jennings. Timing was precise. They were on cue. It was a thing of beauty.
At RB, B-Jack slipped a couple of tackles and picked up a nice 1st down. Herron was able to slide his way outside for nice yardage. Morency looked healthy and mobile as he searched for daylight. And Lumpkin remained possessed. His shifty 1-yard TD run brought me off of Vargas' couch in excitement. Karl Paymah will not be mistaken for Champ Bailey, but, nonetheless, he lost his jock on that sublime hip shake. I'm all about Lumpkin. He needs to be a Packer. It'd be a shame if he was not kept on the 53-man roster.
The O-Line has immense room for improvement.
We saw our first real glimpse of J-Mike as he ran through Dre Bly! And then fought to stretch towards the 1st down marker. Football awareness. Lee looked sharp running routes and on his only reception. Tory Humphrey showed the ability to run after the catch. Though, I would really like to see J-Mike run that route as Rodgers is rolling out.
On defense, we are jonesin' for a pass rush opposite AK-74. Without KGB, this pass rush is undersized, slow, and unable to get to the QB. Though Hunter made a couple of really nice plays, he does not have the ability to be a 3rd down player. The Montgomery experience has not showed promise as of yet. I'd still like to see us try Jeremy Thompson as an inside rusher eventhough Thompson has been a disappointment thus far.
We need Ryan Pickett.
While Barnett & Chillar were missing big tackles, Bishop is making plays, Hodge is pursuing and Lansanah is lowering the boom! This was also Poppinga's best game of the preseason.
It's great to see #31 & #21 on the outside of our defense. I believe in T-Mon. Willie B. was in solid position on a number of passes. While some of them resulted in receptions, Willie B. was where he needed to be. Rouse continues to impress. This was the best I've seen him against the run where I usually see shortcomings in Rouse's game. Twice J-Bush alertly made plays to save P-Lee from a catastrophic play. 1st on the punt coverage play in which P-Lee appeared to forget that he had to down the ball and the other time when P-Lee was beat deep and J-Bush laid the massive hit to break up a deep pass. In fact, Shanahan really went after P-Lee. He should have had an INT for a 96 yard TD and he should have also been beat for a TD. Then, the next drive he looked miserable on the TD play. Consistently, I thought that P-Lee was beaten. He must get additional experience in the 4th preseason game.
Willie B. dancing on special teams is a special thing.
Normally, the 4th preseason game is a battle of the 2nd and 3rd stringers. This is not a good sign for the '08 Packers.
I would play Ryan Grant and the 1st team offense for one series. I would hand the ball to Grant on the first two plays of the series. Let him get hit. Let him find rhythm.
Rodgers does not need to play more than the 1st series. I saw enough out of him last week to say that he is ready for the regular season. We need our #1 playmakers healthy. Rodgers, Driver, Jennings, Lee, Clifton, Tauscher, Grant, and Ruvell Martin should only see one series. Plus, the playing time will be beneficial for the likes of J-Mike, Jordy, Brohm & Flynn.
In fact, I'd play Lumpkin with our 2nd team. I want to see what he brings to the table against heightened competition. Jeff Fisher has stated that he may play his starters throughout the 1st half. Additionally, by now, we should know how we want to keep out of B-Jack, Morency, and Herron. I want to watch Lumpkin on a screen. I want to see him carry the ball 20 times. I want to learn whether Lumpkin can be a part of our RB rotation.
Does Joey Haynos' blocking skills mean enough to the Packers to keep him on the roster?
On defense, I'd only play AK-74, Jolly, Cole, Jenkins, Barnett, Chillar, Poppinga, Collins, Ras-A-tari, T-Mon, and Willie B. for one series. Chuckie and Al would not step on the field.
Willie B. and Ruvell Martin have been fragile. There's no need to expose them.
I want to battle test Muir, Montgomery, Hunter, Malone, Thompson, Lansanah, White, Hodge, Bishop, P-Lee, J-Bush, Joe Porter, and Culver. We must determine our top 53 tomorrow night and the best way to come to a solution is to see it on the playing field in front of the Lambeau Faithful.
After all, this is not a game that we are going to win & frankly, winning and losing does not matter. It's about staying healthy in the 4th week of the exhibition season.
While Lumpkin will be talented enough to move the football, I'm not sure if Brohm will be able to muster 1st downs via the pass. Again, Brohm struggles. And therefore, so does the 2nd team offense.
Again, Flynn comes in and moves the ball.
The LB's continue their spirited play. Again, we see Lansanah, Hodge, and Bishop on the field on the same time. This brings great excitement, enthusiasm and intensity to the Packers defense. But, our depth on the DL is not enough. With time, Kerry Collins successfully goes after our secondary.
No, I'm not hating.
The reality is that Ted Thompson is going to have to make changes between now and the next time I write. I will not be able to watch the last preseason game until 10pm Saturday night when the NFL Network televises the replay. But, this much is for certain, Ted Thompson and his scouting department are scouring teams depth charts for another DL and a back-up QB. I am hesitant to trade a pick at this point, but I'm sure the Packers are getting desperate for help. Regardless, this offseason the Packers hierarchy commited to a young QB scenario and I don't feel that the Packers should trade a pick for a veteran. While Tampa remains a logical trading partner, I'd wait for them to release a QB and then make the best offer. We've got the money.
I'd do the same with a young pass rushing DE. I'd consider doing the same with a young OL as well.
I'm also sure that our practice squad will contain players from other NFL rosters. Right now, on the Packers roster, I see Haynos, Carvalho, Giacomini, Lansanah, Taj Smith, Brett Swain, and Joe Porter as potential candidates.
1 more week until it all gets real.