Football at Lambeau. Yes, John Bell, Life Is Grand!
In life, my nature is to be an optimistic realist. I live this way. I breathe this way. And, when it comes to the Green Bay Packers, I both write and think this way. With that said, I'm kicking the blog off with the sublime vibes that we saw on Family Night.
* Aaron Rodgers was in sink with Jones & Cobb. And both Jones & Cobb were terrific after the catch.
* Eddie Lacy! Moving piles. Great feet. Lowering his shoulder. A solid burst. Tremendous vision. Hit the hole with a vengeance. Reason for optimism.
* David Bakhtiari. The Buff! An anchor. Moved his feet well. Good hand positioning. Almost seemed too good to be true.
* Datone Jones. For the first time since Cullen Jenkins left, it feels like BJ Raji has a full fledged running mate.
* Speaking of Raji, he showed great burst. Wiggling his way thru the line.
* The first team OL showed positivity.
* Alex Green, James Starks, Angelo Pease and Johnathan Franklin all showed glimpses of goodness.
* The depth at WR was apparent. The same could be said at CB. Enjoyed those battles! And, what really impressed was that the Packers were playing without Hayward, T-Mon, Dorsey & Johnson.
* The prospects of this draft class is thrilling. Really liked Barrington. Attacks with purpose. When he wasn't tackling Lacy, he was taking bodies to the turf.
* Liked McMillan's aggressiveness.
* The inside blitzes by Brad Jones and AJ Hawk were encouraging.
* I liked what I saw out of Ras House and Sammy Swagga!
* Brandon Bostick looks good in uniform.
Here are the top 10 things that concern me:
1.) Bulaga's injury. Thought the OL was poised for a big year. With solid depth. I believe Barclay should be the starting RT. Let Bakhtiari be the LT, if he earns it. Newhouse is the back-up.
2.) Mason Crosby was brutal.
3.) BJ Coleman. I expected some inconsistencies, but those interceptions were awful. I still like him as a prospect, but the Packers need improvement out of him.
4.) Please get healthy by the opener, Jordy Nelson.
5.) Nate Palmer, that was pathetic. Terrible angle. Seemed like poor effort.
6.) Liked the pursuit of Robert Francois and the recognition, but finish the play, mate.
7.) Terrell Manning, I need to see more.
8.) None of the UDFA OLB showed anything to offer hope.
9.) The injuries on the OL are becoming severe. The depth is depleted. Using Barclay as the utility back-up OL has hindered his ability to compete at RT. JC Tretter's injury is costly right now. The interior of the OL needs to improve from a depth perspective.
10.) Didn't like seeing J-Mike dropping the ball. Mulligan wasn't overly impressive as a pass receiver. I know he is a blocking specialist, but he looked uncomfortable running routes. With Ryan Taylor's injury, the door is open for Brandon Bostick.
The Vince Young signing intrigues. Yes, his career has been a disappointment, but remember that in November of 2011, he was beating the NYG. He had 36 pass attempts. He threw 2 TD's, 3 interceptions, but he managed the game to victory and picked up crucial 3rd downs. I don't have confidence in Graham Harrell. I want to like BJ Coleman, but he hasn't proved he's ready. If Young can pick up the offense, which won't be easy, he has a legitimate chance to make the roster.
This week - it is the Arizona Cardinals who arrive with a new coach, a new QB and a new RB. They will want to find their rhythm early. They'll be a fun first preseason opponent.
The Packers are loaded at the playmaking positions, which should offer excitement throughout. With Eddie Lacy & Randall Cobb likely to be held out, the likes of Franklin, Starks, Green (if healthy), Pease, Myles White, Omarius Hines, Tyrone Walker,Jarrett Boykin, Alex Gillett and Jeremy Ross will be on display. If Green is healthy, it wouldn't surprise me if he was showcased. I'll be curious if Pease gets significant snaps or if he's hidden to be stored on the practice squad.
At OLB, do we have anyone who can pressure the QB outside of Perry & CM3? I want to watch Mulumba, Reed, Moses, Palmer, and Savage. Come on, man. Someone must elevate!
I'm really anxious to see Jamari Lattimore. I believe he could end up as the dime ILB.
Over the last couple of years, the Packers have had a stellar punt coverage unit. It's helped Masthay. Who will be opposite J-Bush in '13? Micah Hyde? Jeremy Ross? It'll be interesting to see. In light of last year, don't put Ras House out there.
Look for Rodgers to have a productive first drive. Finding J-Mike for theTD. And a Lambeau Leap. With Starks getting the first carries.
Then we see the back-ups on offense. Harrell shows positive signs, good composure, healthy camaraderie. He moves the offense. Connecting with Boykin & Hines. Big targets that'll go up and get it in traffic.
Coleman comes in and displays his cannon. McCarthy gets him comfortable with a screen to Franklin. The young QB hooks up with Bostick. Franklin finds some running room.
It's Coleman to Walker for the TD!
On defense, Micah Hyde shows good things in the slot. Brandon Smith continues to shine on the outside. Smith grabs a pick. At safety, depth remains a concern.
Sam Barrington punishes.
Gilbert Pena stuffs the run. Josh Boyd shows activity. Mike Daniels dominates.
Jeremy Ross shows he can be lethal in the return game.
Generally, the preseason is won by the better back-up QB. Though I do not love the Packers QB situation, they show promise on this day. And the Packers depth at WR, RB, DL and CB are too much for Arizona.
Packers 27. Cardinals 20.
Lambeau, be loud. Be in charge.
Go Pack Go!