Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Take -> Preseason Week 4

Greetings, G-Force.

It was an exciting 3rd preseason game. Seattle marched their starters into the 3rd Quarter. The Packers, on the other hand, had a mixture of 2nd & 3rd string players who were competing with them.  Defensively, the Packers appear to have great depth. On offense, there appears to be room for improvement. Here are some kind vibes from the game:

* Aaron Rodgers hasn't had a drive result in a TD, but he's in rhythm. He's in stride with J-Mike. 
* While J-Mike had problems hauling in two passes, he does appear to be fully focused and more confident.
* Another solid performance from David Bakhtiari & Don Barclay. I didn't agree with the holding call on Bakhtiari.
* C.M.3! The Claymaker!
* The Packers need to find a spot for Micah Hyde. He's been one of the best players on the team this preseason. In Week 1, he'd be my spy on Kaepernick.
* Terrell Manning with his best performance as a Packer.
* Robert Francois can play. He has limitations, but he's a solid #3 ILB.
* Brad Jones was playing with vicious intent. Hope he's healthy.
* Need Hayward to stay healthy. When he plays, he finds the ball. And, in some instances, the ball finds him.
* CJ Wilson plugging run holes!
* Wag the finger, BJ Raji!
*  Johnny Jolly making plays in the run game.
* Josh Boyd with a heart beat.
* Ryan Pickett holding force and pushing back.
* Nate Palmer showing aggression and a nose for the QB.
* Chris Banjo. Dude might not make the team, but someone should give him a shot. He tackles everything. He's smart. Understands the game. I like him better than MD Jennings. Yes, I wrote that. He brings a physical presence to the field.
*  Vince Young beat out Graham Harrell with his feet. Should Young be required to cover more than a 4-game stretch, the Packers would be in trouble, but if Young had to bail the Packers out of a game, I believe he'd offer a legitimate chance to pull off a victory.
* BJ Coleman played well. Not ideal, but he showed some positive aspects. Those around him didn't offer much support.
* Bostick is showing signs of being worthy of a roster spot.
* It was nice to see Jerron McMillan come up with the pick.
* Nick Perry getting his hands on passes is an exciting thing. Is the Jolly swatting passes piece an infectious thing?

The not-so-kind vibes:

* DuJuan Harris, we will miss you. A Speedy recovery to you.
* EDS has been what I feared he would be. Far from assignment sure. He gets almost no push. Lacks strength. Packers need better or teams will flood the middle of the line with both stunts and brute strength.
* Had a gut feeling that Lane Taylor might make the squad, but Harris' injury might have been the dagger. Also, due to injury and player availability, the Packers might be forced to keep 6 WR's.
* Need more out of our UCLA duo. Jones got zero push. Franklin hasn't looked the part.
* Need to keep Mike Neal as an inside rusher.
* ¿Donde esta, Dez Moses?
* Please be healthy, Morgan Burnett!
* Really wanted Charles Johnson to come down with that diving grab. 
* Van Roten was absolutely punished off the ball.
* For the first time, Sam Barrington didn't win me over.

Entering the final preseason game, I feel as though the Packers roster has more question marks than recent years. A lot of positional battles don't have a clear cut winner. Injury questions are also going to impact he number of WR's, RB's, and Safeties. It appears as though Jordy & Cobb are healthy. But, are the Packers absolutely certain that both will be ready Week 1? Is Morgan Burnett going to be fully recovered and, if not, do the Packers have to keep an additional safety since J-Bush has also struggled to stay healthy? At RB, the Harris injury has given a lifeline to both Green & Starks. Both have injury histories. Both have also outperformed Franklin this preseason. Do the Packers keep both players? 

The Chiefs game is a big one for the likes of Charles Johnson, Jetemy Ross, Tyrone Walker, Brandon Bostick, DJ Williams, Ryan Taylor, Chris Banjo, Josh Boyd, Dez Moses, Andy Mulumba, Nate Palmer, Sam Barrington, Vince Young & BJ Coleman.

The Packers win the game. There depth on the defensive side of the ball disrupt the Chiefs OL. I expect the Packers to force turnovers. On the contrary, it'll be interesting to see if Young & Coleman will be able to protect the football.

Maybe it's wishful thinking, but Johnson shows his worth. Ross gets loose in the return game. Palmer & Mulumba apply pressure. Banjo continues to wrap up. Alex Green finds the open field. Mason Crosby is on point.

For the Chiefs, watch our old friend, Frank Zombo. Zombo, an XLV Champion, has looked good thus far in the preseason. Much like he did in 2010.

Packers 23. Chiefs 13.

With the onslaught of the College Football Season this weekend, here's an initial mock draft for the 2014 Season. I have given an additional 5th & 6th round pick for the losses of Jennings & Walden. I've used the CBS Draft site as my list for round projections.

Rd 1 - Eric Ebron, TE, UNC. The Packers need another receiving option at TE. Ebron is athletic with good body control. Adjusts well when the ball is in the air.
Rd 2 - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. There's no one that I'm more excited to watch this weekend than Khalil Mack. Playing Ohio State. He dominates the lower level competition. Mack has dynamite closing speed. A sure tackler. Plays with great length. He can drop into space. Great speed/power combo. An ideal 3-4 OLB.
Rd 3 - Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia. If neither Young nor Coleman is the answer, the Packers will need to invest in a potential solution. Murray has the arm strength, the pocket presence and the size to play at the next level.
Rd 4 - Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh. Street gets deep. He's dangerous after the catch. He plays the ball in the air and has a knack for the big play.
Rd 5 - Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State. I'm baffled that he's listed as a 5th rounder. I view him as a 2nd round pick. He's a leader. A gamer. Great on the blitz. He'd immediately start in Green Bay.
Rd 5 - Kenny Vadler, S, Vanderbilt. Over the last two years, I wanted to watch Jordan Rodgers. Because of it, I initially learned about Hayward & Sean Richardson. Last year, I admired the play of Vadler. He's a ballhawk. Gets sideline-to-sideline. A tremendous athlete.
Rd 6 - Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama St. Had Crowell stayed out of the trouble, he'd be running at Georgia and he'd be a Heisman contender.
Rd 6 - Beau Allen, DL, WI. Allen would be a great plug in the middle of the Packers defense. A solid pass rusher for his size, he carries his weight well. Moves fluidly for a big guy. Solid against the run as well. 
Rd 7 - Torin Harris, CB, USC. If Harris stays healthy, he has all of the talents to play in the NFL. He can run. He uses his hands well. He's not afraid of contact. He has the height to play and the frame to add weight.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

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