Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Take -> Preseason Week 3

Greetings, G-Force.

I enjoy watching the Packers win. Whether it's Week 2 of the preseason or it's the Super Bowl, I revel in the thought of Packers victories. Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" rings thru the speakers as I sip an Odd 13 Super Sneak Hop Bursted Sour. This refreshing beer is 6.5% of goodness. Fruit forward citra hops gets you smiling and a Lacto/Brett yeast blend has you craving more. Odd 13. Always a winner.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* It was a total treat to watch the starting OL dominate! Lang moving people. Sitton forcefully winning the point of attack. Tretter getting to the second level. Bulaga and Bakhtiari in control. Thing of beauty.

* I know it was only the 2nd preseason game, but MM looks to be in midseason form as a play caller. First two plays had Rip wide open in the flat on roll-outs. Got Hundley into the flow of the game. Then, MM hits you with EDDIE who looks to be ready for a big year. MM spreads out Cook who will be a mismatch all year. Seriously beautiful play calling by MM.


* Fantastic play by Damarious Randall.

* Love the athleticism that Q-Rollins brings to the secondary. He's going to make a number of plays this year.

* Starks looks quick. Just wish he wasn't quick to bounce it to the outside. Wish he instincts encouraged him to cut it up the field.

* Jason Spriggs. Gulp. A week after being encouraged, I'm nervously biting my fingers. In order for the Packers to be Super in 2016, we're going to need solid depth along the OL. Spriggs was drafted to be that depth. Against Oakland, he looked weak, he was off balance, he was slow. He was beaten with power. He was beaten with speed around the edge. He didn't finish blocks in the run game. He looked confused. He looked incapable of holding up when the lights are turned on. While it was obvious that he was destroyed while pass blocking, he looked equally poor as a run blocker. He lacked fight. And, now, I'm concerned about him.

* I'm shocked that I'm about to write this, but after two Packers preseason games, Blake Martinez looks to be the most NFL ready of all of the Draft picks. He looks quick. Loved to see his special teams tackle. It was really good to see him finish the play on 3rd down to keep the ball carrier 1-yard short of the first down sticks. It's really early, but thus far, he's exceeded my expectations.

* When I listed my top 10 things to watch in preseason, I listed Josh Hawkins. I've long been a fan. He was my UDFA darling. He will be a tough cut. He can play in this league. If he gets cut, he won't clear waivers to make it to the practice squad. He jams well. He turns and runs. He plays the ball in the air.

* As a whole, this defense has taken on Mike Daniels' attitude. Daniels, the new leader of the defense, brings intensity. Thru two preseason games, this defense looks like it'll be a defense that pursues the football. Chasing down the football.

* Really going to miss Mike Pennel over the first month. Especially in the first 2 games. Guarantee that J'ville & the queens attack the heart of the Packers defense via the run game over the first two weeks. Neither Kenny Clark nor Dean Lowry appear ready to make a Week 1 impact. Happy that both are Packers, but concerned about their ability to perform to start the season. Hope that Clark recovers quickly from the back injury.

* Kentrell Brice looks like he could start someday at Safety. He has to make this roster. He has instincts and anticipation at a first-class level. He seems to have command of the defense, too. He plays fast and he has been a sure tackler.

* I was really bummed that I didn't get this out before McGinn wrote it earlier this week, but the player who most impressed against Oakland: Marwin Evans. Played with great physicality. Hit with intent. A jarring tackler. Showed great desire to find the football.

* If it were me, I'd keep Brice and Evans ahead of Banjo. Both have the physique to be able to play special teams at a high level and both have a much larger upside as a defender than Banjo. I realize that Banjo has been a valuable special teams contributor, but I wouldn't expose Brice nor Evans to the open market. Both would be claimed prior to the Packers trying to add them to the practice squad. They both belong on a 53 man roster.

* The Packers are going to have tough decisions at LB. Bradford, Barrington, Thomas and Martinez have all played well enough to make this roster. Bradford has been the biggest surprise of camp. Ryan started at the end of last year and would be a solid bet to make the roster even though he's been injured throughout training camp. And, at OLB, CM3, Perry, Jones and JP will all make the team. I'd highly doubt that TT would cut his 3rd round pick, Fackrell. And, McCray has outplayed Fackrell in both preseason games. Additionally, McCray would be a more valuable special teams player. Also, Jayrone Elliott has to be in contention for a roster spot. Even though he's yet to make an impact in the preseason. Elliott has been a huge disappointment this August after two dominant years. But, Elliott has been a proven special teams performer and he's made plays when he's been given the opportunity to do so in the past. I'm struggling with putting the #'s together.

* I've been more impressed by the Packers UDFA class than I have been their Draft picks.

* Makinton Dorleant. Showing swagga. Quick as a cat. Uses his hands well. Showed happily on special teams. Stepped up in run support. A teammate. Worth consideration for a roster spot. Guaranteed a spot on the practice squad if he's released and I could see someone claiming him to put him on their 53 man roster. He has the personality to play CB in this league.

* I kept waiting for Robertson Daniel to make a play. So, did the Packers. Clearly. They had him on their #1 special teams units. But, Daniel has been outplayed by Dorleant and Hawkins.

* Loved seeing McCray and Perry chasing running plays down from behind. Showing effort. Showing speed. Limiting gains.

* Christian Ringo was given an opportunity to impress early in the game. He got moved backwards. Consistently. Disappointing.

* Crockett came to play after a slow start. Really nice TD run. I'm still higher on Burks than I am on Crockett. Burks showed burst on his run to the outside. The Packers don't have another back on the roster who could've gotten to the corner.

* Like the drive blocking by Kyle Murphy. He was steady. Did a nice job sealing the edge on the big run by Burks.

* OL spots will be interesting to see how it's sorted out. Taylor has not played with the physicality that he showed last year. He showed quickness in the screen game, but he didn't finish his block. Josh Walker has been inconsistent. Barclay looks more fit than he's been in his Packers career. He's also showed versatility along the line. With the way the roster is shaping up, it'll be hard to imagine the Packers keeping more than 8, but with Linsley's injury, he could be headed towards the PUP. So, with that said, I could see a scenario in which Barclay, Walker and Taylor are battling for 1 spot. It's hard to see TT releasing either Murphy or Spriggs as they're his draft picks. Barclay has outplayed Walker and Taylor, but Taylor has guaranteed money and TT hates dead money on the cap. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

* JORDY! Can't wait to see him in action.

I'm really stoked to see Rodgers, CM3 and JP this week. I fully expect to see an explosive team. Both offensively and defensively. I envision a team that comes out with attitude. A team that wants to forcefully dominate from the opening kickoff. This team has a different feel to it. They look like they're having fun. They look like they're ready to win football games. Convincingly.

Packers 27.
49ers 16.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

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