Packers vs. Titans – 2014 Preseason Game One First Impressions GB 16 TEN 20

James Starks - Packers vs. Titans preseason

Green Bay Packers - Tennessee Titans

The Green Bay Packers travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in the first preseason game of 2014.

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

9th season: It’s gone fast, enjoying every minute – always exciting to see your young players out on the football field for the first time.

New draftees: We’re a draft and develop team.  The biggest thing is you want to establish your playing style and you want to see them jump out and make plays.

What he wants to see: The message to the team was we want to establish our play style – the way we want to play this season.

Most important part of today’s game: This 4th quarter is going to be real important for our evaluation of some of our young guys.

# of snaps for starters: We do it by plays. We’ve always had a formula for number of plays for each player. Productivity during that time sometimes slants one way or the other.

Backup QB: I think they are both doing a good job – both have improved from last year.

No Burnett: Big night for HaHa and Micah, same for Richardson and Banjo. Looking for our safeties to make plays.

Adams and Rodgers: Both have done well and deserve consideration for snaps with the first team.

 

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Packers vs. Titans – First Impressions – First Half:

DuJuan Harris takes opening kickoff to the Packers 36. No hesitation, finds his hole quickly. Looking good.

Both Richard Rodgers and Davante Adams running with the first team.

Matt Flynn gets the start for the Packers, in monsoon conditions. Proceeds to hand off seven out of eight plays as Packers march down the field primarily on the legs of James Starks.

Packers offensive line creating holes and Starks did a great job cutting back into them. Good to see Bulaga back out there.

Peppers in two point stance as right OLB on the line of scrimmage handled easily on first play by the tight end. Second play comes in unblocked but cant get to the running back in time. Looks a little surprised to be so ignored.

Davante Adams drops a punt but gets it back himself. Surprised to see him back there – have not heard his name much as far as taking punts in practices.

Second series for Packers a three and out – Flynn with two pass attempts, neither of which were impressive in any way.

Second defensive series for Packers sees Peppers and Matthews switching sides frequently.

Brad Jones has been very active so far. Persuing well, in on a good number of tackles already.

Adams back as punt returner and fumbles again. Titans recover. I’m guessing that experiment is over.

Sean Greene runs through a red sea sized hole for a TD on first play after the fumble recovery.

Harris fumbles the kickoff but quickly recovers. Yes, it’s still pouring.

Flynn with two very effective play fakes tonight. Faked everyone out, including the cameraman. But not much accomplished after the fakes.

Third defensive series, Packers bring in Neal, Barrington, Lattimore and Perry as the LBs.

Micah Hyde back as punt returner. Doesn’t get a chance as punt is shanked.

Casey Hayward getting a lot of snaps as an outside corner.

After  quick 3 and out, Hyde successfully fields a punt. He just looks so sure back there, but if he’s going to be a starting safety, you can be sure Packers would rather see someone else take over that job.

Packers second team OL getting manhandled at the moment. Sherrod and Aaron Adams at T, Linsley at C and Andrew Tiller and Lane Taylor at G.

Holding call on Bostick wipes out a 19 yard DuJuan Harris run. Makes up for it on next play with an 18 yard catch and run.

Nick Perry doing what he usually does, quick initial pressure and then gets stood up. Or gets through and then misses the QB.

HaHa beaten by a TE seam route, but recovers in time to slap the ball out of the TE’s hands. Ah, to be young and fast.

Jarrett Bush having a hell of a first half – has a sack and probably 5 tackles.

 

Score at end of 1st half: GB 7 TEN 6

Packers vs. Titans – First Impressions – Second Half:

Richardson and Banjo in at safety. Richardson breaks up a 3rd down pass attempt.

Hyde now drops a punt, but recovers quickly. Larrivee says, “Those balls must be seriously wet.”

Sherrod now on the right side. With Barclay out, Sherrod is the defacto backup at both tackle spots.

Rajon Neal showing good lateral moves and patience picking out holes.

No sooner do I write that and he scampers 12 yds around left end for a TD.

Packers go for two (they need the practice) and actually run a well designed play, but a wide open Chris Harper sees it go through his hands.

Dimitri Goodson called for interference, but he actually had very good coverage, just got tangled up with the receiver. He’s a guy that I think could develop into a Sam Shields type player with a year or two of seasoning.

CB Ryan White will be one of the first cuts. Looks lost.

I’ll take Tolzien over Flynn, thank you.

Kevin Dorsey showing skills. He will be on an NFL roster if he doesn’t make the Packers.

One guy that won’t beat Dorsey out is Chris Harper. Drops a fourth down pass after dropping the two point conversion earlier. Both should have been caught with no problems.

Goodson with an excellent knockdown of a deep pass in the endzone. One day, this kid will be real good.

Jake Doughty getting a long look, but mostly looks overmatched. Just getting swallowed up inside and unsure of himself in coverage.

Bradford and Hubbard now in the game as the OLBs (9 min left in 4th quarter)

LaDarius Perkins, the diminutive RB, not showing much ability to gain the tough yards.

 

Final Score: GB 16 TEN 20

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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  • GBPDAN

    Didn’t get to see the game live. Will watch on DVR tomorrow. Sounds like back up Oline and PR was bad.

    • Two Bears, One Cup

      Three fumbles on punt returns? Reminds me of Terrell Buckley! Let’s hope we get that out of the system in the preseason.

      • Sven

        The ball was hard to handle for everyone. I still believe Adams could do well at PR

        • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

          I don’t recall seeing any reports of Adams taking punts in practice. Does anyone?

          • Stroh

            According to Demovsky he’s had limited opportunities in PR. So he has had some at least. I doubt he’ll get another shot at it this year.

            • MakinDay

              Is it unfair for me to blame Shawn Slocum for Adams problems?

              from JSONLINE:
              “Adams hasn’t been returning punts much at Ray Nitschke Field, saying he’s been catching some after practice. Special teams coach Shawn Slocum told Adams a couple days before the game that he’d be taking the first returns.”
              ALSO:
              “Green Bay has rainproof gloves available, but Adams thought the rain was going to let up.”

              So we’ve has an entire training camp, OTA’s etc. And Adams learns, after he has screwed around a little after practice catching punts from whomever, that he is returning punts in the first game, an away game, BTW, minimizing practice time.

              He then has to catch punts in the Worst Possible Conditions, not even knowing about different gloves. Oh by the way, I’m sure his head was filled with what he was supposed to do AFTER catching the punt, as he hadn’t practiced the return plays either.

              I realize that Slocum is easy to beat up on, but this is Really, Really bad. It is a player’s job to perform, but it is the coaches’ job to put them in a position to succeed.

              Now we all think that Adams can’t return punts, and he probably thinks he can’t return punts, when he could have been practicing this for months.

              I can go on and on. This was stupid, stupid, stupid.

              • Stroh

                I didn’t blame anyone! I just stated that he had limited opportunities, didn’t I?

                I didn’t have any problem w/ him being back on PR. Even if it was a difficult situation for him, it provides a great learning opportunity.

                I just don’t think he’ll be given too many more chances this year. But I’ll leave that up to the Packers.

                Stupid? Who went off for NO reason?

    • Archie

      What looked good to me:

      (1) Tolzein is able to move the ball down the field much better than Flynn.

      (2) RB looks solid throughout.

      (3) Bostick should be the man, followed by Rodgers. Q is a disappointment.

      (4) Sherrod looked good.

      (5) Tretter seemed to do well.

      (6) Secondary was generally very good. Multiple guys to the ballcarrier throughout the night.

      (7) DL showed little.

      (8) LB showed little – including Peppers who did not show much effort.

      My takeaway from 1st night (and in the rain) is that the offense will be fine as we all expected and the defense looks little different with exception of better secondary play. Other obvious observation – w/o AROD on the field this team is not much fun top watch. I watched several games this weekend and the Pack’s performance was subpar. New Orleans on the other hand, was quite exciting with newcomers Cooks and Tyree Richardson.

      Best play of the night – Dix getting beat on the TE seam route and recovering and knocking the ball from the TE’s grasp.

      Overall grade: C

      • dobber

        “Other obvious observation – w/o AROD on the field this team is not much fun top watch.”

        I don’t expect the play calls would have been tremendously different if ARod had played the first couple series.

        • Archie

          Wasn’t talking about the play calling. Was talking about the excitement that follows great execution.

      • Sven

        Flynn got sort of a raw deal with the weather. I think it let up for Tolzien’s time on the field. Tolzien looked really good, but Flynn is the only back-up to win last season. I would keep both.

        I think the Packers really try to give
        plenty playing time to the bottom of the roster. In the second half of the game there were a lot of players that I did not recognize, and I try to know who’s on the team at this time of year.

        I think hat the starting Defense looked pretty good, but they were on the field for such a short time. I also thought the second team D look pretty good, especially Bush.

  • Chad Lundberg

    Biggest takeaway was Scott Tolzien. He keeps this up, he guarantees a roster spot.

    Second biggest thing: Rajion Neal was a pleasant surprise, but don’t see the need for 4 RB’s and John Kuhn.

    Third biggest thing: if he wasn’t so injury prone, Starks would be a clear cut No. 1 RB on any other team. VERY glad we have this guy as a split carrier for Lacy for the virtual price of peanuts.

    • Wagszilla

      Neal “had a knee”. Time to stash him on PUP.

      • Dodger

        Can’t stash on PUP (learn the rules) but can stash on IR

        • Archie

          I just re-watched the game this AM. The battle for starting C is over. Tretter was very good last night. I also liked Alec Gillette at WR. The converted QB made the most of limited opportunities and looked natural doing it. If Raji Neal keeps this up Pack will be forced to keep 4 RBs. That may mean no more Kuhn? If Tolzein keeps outplaying Flynn like this, he will be #2. The question will become whether Flynn is worth keeping as a #3. Sherrod passed his baptismal on both sides of C. Rest of OL back-ups showed little.

          Peppers easily blocked on run plays his way. Never got pressure either in 10 snaps. CMIII was easily the best LB on the field. Brad Jones was active. Hawk was Hawk, no contributor a la Peppers. Barrington played the run well. Doesn’t cover well though. Neal had three chances to sack Whitehurst on the same play and let him get away. Nonetheless, his change of direction looked better than in the past. Daniels didn’t do much and Jones and Raji were invisible. Dix had a promising debut. S play was much better in general. Deep at CB. Jarret Bush had monster game but something tells me Mr. August is in jeopardy for 53 this year.

          MM sez he’s not going to show SEA anything in pre-season so other than watching movements of individual players, we will have to wait till 1 to 3 games into the reg season before we know if the defense is same as last year or better. My biggest disappointment on the evening was Datone Jones by far. Even though Peppers did nothing that was to be expected on either his play from last year or his history of being a dog. Dogs don’t play hard in the pre-season.

          Next week we will see the Pack on the road again, this time against the Rams. Rams’ defense was weak this week, especially against the run. They do have a good running game (lots of good RBs) and a good TE. Aaron Donald was victimized in run game this week. And their #1 QB will play v Pack. We will probably see AROD and Lacy. Look for the defense to improve or else.

          • Ed Schoenfeld

            Well, Raijon Neal was hurt so it looks like Kuhn is safe for a while. Kuhn actually impressed as a lead blocker, at least on Starks RD run.

            • Ed Schoenfeld

              I shoul add, It helps a lot when the O-line actually moves forward on running plays.

      • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

        yes, he would have to be put on IR. Once you have practiced with the team, PUP is not an option.

  • Two Bears, One Cup

    Not much playing time for Bradford and Hubbard. . . . I doubt that is a good sign for Bradford. I would say the same about Hubbard but maybe they’re pretty sure they want him on the PS so they don’t want other teams to get a good look at him.

    Any other guys who either didn’t play much or played a lot more than would be expected?

    • Oppy

      I was hoping to see more of Bradford, but I don’t know that a lack of PT is the kiss of death, considering the Packers are stacked at OLB and they have numerous guys who they need to evaluate at those positions- Malumba and Palmer both being 2nd year guys warrant a close look, Neal in his second year of conversion, Perry coming off of injury surgery..

      We have so many Outside rushers at the LB position, I’ve got to think Bradford is going to have to wait his turn to be evaluated with anything resembling a starting squad.

      • Wendall

        Like to see Mulumba ttry at ILB. Tall enough and fast enough to cover the new hybrid T-ends.

  • lakeshore_packrbackr

    I wouldn’t read too much into the this game. The weather conditions were atrocious and is likely what led to McCarthy’s prudent decision to sit Rodgers, Lacy, and Nelson. I’ll wait til the 3rd preseason contest before forming an opinion on where I think the team stands going into the season. I’m just praying that this team can come out of training camp healthy. All the injuries the last several years have made it difficult for this team to reach it’s full potential and frustrating to watch as a Packer fan.

  • WKUPackFan

    Tolzien was great, looked much better. The OL was protecting well while he was in.

    R. Neal has a burst. Hope he wasn’t injured on that kick return.

    DBs and safeties looked good overall. Hyde and Hayward had a nice stop short of the first down.

    The returners need to practice with some wet footballs.

    Much better performance than last year’s first exhibition game.

  • http://jerseyal.com Thegreatreynoldo

    My general impression was that the 1st team defense looked good and the secondary provided pretty good run support. I thought Starks+, R. Neal+, Tolzien, Sherrod, Dorsey, Gillett, Pennel, B. Jones, Bush+, Hayward, Rolle+, Hyde, Dix, Richardson, and Banjo all played well overall. I would have liked to have seen Mike Daniels handle the run at DE better.

  • Since ’61

    For me, as long as there are no major injuries the game is a success. Good decision by MM to sit A. Rodgers, Lacy and Nelson in the rain. Thought Tolzien and Starks looked good. Tretter OK. Most everyone else, ehh. Too soon to tell. still a lot of work to do. Still problems on special teams, especially handling punts. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

    • Archie

      It is strange that Slocum’s returners can’t catch a ball until they leave the Packers. Who was that guy we let go last year for dropping a ball and he instantly became all-world for Detroit or somebody? I think I saw him return another one for 50 yards this weekend.

      • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

        Jeremy Ross. But you really can’t judge anything from this game. When Micah Hyde lets one slip through, you know the ball must have felt like a greased pig.

  • ted, of bill and ted

    havn’t seen anyone mention it here or at cheeseheadtv, but i really enjoyed the play when haha blew up his blocker at the line of scrimmage, AND tackled the running back.

    I didnt watch too much of his coverage (i assumed he probably doesn’t have a full grasp of all of his assignments yet, but i will watch for it when i rewatch later)

    But it seemed like he’ll have no problem in run support and hitting his man squarely (lookin at you, morgan burnett…no more shoulder bump offs please)

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      “excellent” That has been the surprise of Clinto-Dix so far – he’s been much better in run support than scouts expected. Hope it continues…

    • Stroh

      That was a very good play by Clinton-Dix, however it came one play after he had a bad missed tackle on McCluster (a 170 lb RB) on the previous play.

      He made a great recovery on the pass defensed on the TE, but also made the mistake to allow the TE to beat him badly (looking into the backfield). So on that one play he made a bad mistake and a very good play to recover and prevent the completion. Overall had a good game, but also had mistake that lead to a lot of coaching opportunities.

  • Stroh

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the job Tretter did. While he’s gotten a lot of practice w/ Rodgers, he’s probably had a lot less w/ Flynn. Tretter is his very first opportunity ever playing Center in a game of any kind, was flawless in his exchanges in very adverse conditions. Meanwhile, Linsley the more “experienced” Center had a bad exchange in his first snap.

    That’ll go a long way to entrench him as the starter in the eyes of the coaches.

    • Stroh

      Props to Archie, he caught it too.

  • Savage57

    A few interesting questions came out of this game, roster-wise. A couple of guys brought the goods, ie., Starks, HHCD, Harper, Neal. And as usual, there were a lot of ‘meh’ moments that ride attendant to the 1st PS game of the year.

    I think the only impact is a slight re-set of the depth chart and the associated reps.

    One last thing. For all of y’all living in Wisconsin, you got to see what ‘a chance of showers’ looks like down south!

  • aaronqb

    I liked what I saw in Nashville.

    Tretter, Bulaga, and Sherrod all looked good. The running game looks good – in fact, it looks like this year’s RBs are the best they’ve had in many years. They may have 4 legit RBs. Safety does not look to be a concern. Matthews is healthy. Tolzein looked very sharp as backup QB. There is tremendous depth at CB. And, there were no significant injuries.

    The negatives (and there aren’t many). Not sure they have have enough run-stuffers on the DL. Daniels got moved out pretty easily on the Titans TD run.

    There will be some difficult roster decisions ahead – looks like there are more than 53 roster-worthy players.

  • Wagszilla

    I have to give Jones credit. He looked good.

    I love DuJuan Harris but with Starks playing like that it’ll be tough to see the field.

    Speaking of Starks, Neal reminded me a lot of Starks in running style although that could have been the carrots talking.

    Safety depth seems to be encouraging.

    Solid starting game.

  • Ed Schoenfeld

    I concentrated on the defense. Seems like they have a long way to go, but some individual performances were encouraging.

    Doughty and Thomas played well at ILB.

    I like Khyri Thornton winding up in the pile downfield on that fumble recovery. Pennell also looked decent as a NT prospect.

    Rolle had a good game in the secondary.

    On offense Richard Rodgers gave a nice block downfield on Starks TD.

  • Two Bears, One Cup

    A couple questions:
    Which Jones? Brad or Datone?
    Carrots talking? Is that a youthful phrase that I don’t know, or is that a psychedelic thing?

  • GBPDAN

    I’ll have to wait until the NFL network airs the game tomorrow morning before I can make any comments on player production. I don’t know who played in D and for how long?

  • Sven

    Peppers played fairly well considering that he and Mathews were only out there form 10 plays. He was double teamed several times. Had a tackle that did not show up on the box score, and interrupted a scramble by Locker that led to Locker quickly getting tackled. He also over pursued on the touchdown, which was not good.

    Bob McGinn railed against Peppers in his JS post game report. Made me wonder if he actually watched any game footage. He seems to be getting very anti Packers.

    Over all I thought the team looked really good. Especially Tretter and Rodgers.

  • Wagszilla

    Brad. I didn’t see Datone out there.

    I eat a lot of (literal, non-drug) carrots. Perhaps they distracted me from watching closely!

  • Two Bears, One Cup

    Glad to hear that B. Jones looked good; now worried about D. Jones.

    I also now have a mental image of a man stuffing himself with carrots so rabidly that it takes over and he can’t concentrate on anything. It looks like an R. Crumb drawing in my mind.

  • Sven

    Datone was out there and made some plays.

  • Oppy

    I think you meant rabbitly

  • Oppy

    I know a number of people here have been riding the Raijon train since he was signed, and now I can see why. He really played well. Impressive depth at a position where the Pack have been relatively weak for most of the last decade.

    It’s amazing how quickly a position group can turn around- like the DB group did a few years ago. Good lord, remember Joey Thomas and Ahmad Carrol?

  • Chad Lundberg
  • dobber

    “It’s amazing how quickly a position group can turn around- like the DB group did a few years ago.”

    More consistent OL play helps a ton, too.

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Rajon Neal easily gets to the outside and turns the corner. Shows patience and picks his holes well. He’ll have to be special teams demon to make the team, otherwise they try to stash him on the PS.

  • Oppy

    I agree, dobber, but there’s no denying we’ve had inconsistent talent levels at RB for quite some time.

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Haven’t read McGinn’s article yet, but I also didn’t think Peppers showed much. However, he didn’t really get to rush the passer and it’s only his first action at LB in an exhibition game. Not worried. Yet.