Packers 21 vs. Rams 7 – 2014 Preseason Game Two First Impressions

Clay Matthews, Sam Bradford

The Packers travel for their second and final road game of the preseason to St. Louis, where thankfully the weather will be perfect.

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show

  • JC Tretter: graded out very well last week. He did a heck of a job, especially in those conditions. 10 clean snaps. He graded out very high.
  • punt return: Jeff Janis is getting an opportunity tonight and Davante Adams,  we’ll see how he’s doing in the pre-game. Adams will play on offense, but we’ll see how he’s doing pre-game with the punt returns.
  • Jeff Janis: he’s a talented young man, I’d like to see him play today, but he’s behind from all the time he missed. He’s made a play almost every day in practice.
  • What are you looking for today:  I look for the team to take a step, identify you’re playing style. Important for us to be physical and finish. I  want to see the quality of the finish.

Packers vs. Rams – First Impressions – First Quarter:

  • Harris takes the first kickoff return, but gets tripped up by Benny Cunningham at the 14.
  • Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and Jordy Nelson all show up for the first series, a good sign.
  • Also on first team offense; JC Tretter, Richard Rodgers and Jarrett Boykin (311 set)
  • Running game looks to have picked up from last week.
  • Lacy is making a case to change his last name to “Moss”.
  • What was the Ram’s defense doing on the TD play?  Rodgers slowed down to a jog before throwing the ball.
  • First team defense: Peppers, Hyde, Burnett and Raji
  • Surprisingly its Burnett who gets subbed out for Clinton-Dix and not Hyde; is this because Burnett is coming off an injury or something more?
  • Hyde gets first shot to return punts, Rodgers looks to get another series.
  • Rodgers (TE) replaced by Bostick, Lacy replaced by Starks, Davante Adams in the mix this series too.
  • Rodgers with some nice moves and a nice 35 yard completion to Andrew Quarless.

Packers vs. Rams – First Impressions – Second Quarter:

  • Bakhtiari penalty wipes out a Packers TD, even in the preseason that stings. Crosby drills the 31-yard field goal.
  • Sam Shields gets too greedy trying to get the interception and ends up giving up a 41-yard reception.
  • Peppers shows some nice bend and disrupts Bradford’s throw.
  • Sam Shields forced to draw a penalty to save a touchdown, not a good series for him.
  • Packers run defense is pretty good, pass defense? Not so much.
  • Scott Tolzein gets the first shot after Rodgers, gets immediately drilled due to a bad block by Sherrod.
  • Neal and Pennel combine for a sack.
  • Derek Sherrod and Aaron Adams are making life hard for Tolzien; Sherrod appears to be having issues with speed rushes.
  • Overall, the Packers are showing good efficiency on the running game, with 58 yards on 13 attempts (4.5 ypc), passing game has been up and down.

Packers vs. Rams – First Impressions – Third Quarter:

  • Sam Barrington looks like Desmond Bishop in his prime with a A gap blitz.
  • Jeff Janis getting a prolonged look at punt returner, at least he hasn’t dropped the ball yet.
  • Brian Bostick has a leg injury and will not return, hopefully not too serious.
  • Dujuan Harris goes from hero to zero after coughing up the ball.  He should consider himself lucky that Rajion Neal is out with an injury.
  • Ha Ha with a sneaky Woodson-esque sack, the more multifaceted they can get with Clinton-Dix, the better.
  • Solid catch by Davante Adams, he keeps reminding me of Anquan Boldin.
  • Fantastic blocking train on the screen to Michael Hill.
  • And another touchdowns gets wiped out by penalty.  Again its nice to see that the Packers can power through on offense, but it still stings.
  • Linsley with two back to back penalties, first the block to the face, second with the late snap.
  • Miles White gets a shot a punt returning, Matt Flynn finally gets his shot.
  • Touchdown from Flynn to Janis, and of course there’s a penalty.  Luckily, its on the defense for once.
  • Davante Adams good for the 2-point conversion; I can’t imagine the Packers are going for it for any other reason than just for tape.

Packers vs. Rams – First Impressions – Fourth Quarter:

  • What’s with all the good things going for the Packers getting wiped out by penalties? Banjo interception negated by hands to the face penalty, what exactly is a hands to the face penalty?
  • Wow, NFL network if you are having technical difficulties, tell me whats going on, don’t just show adds and a “greatest hits” of the 2013 season.
  • Stuff has happened…..I have no idea what, but Packers have apparently made it to a scoring opportunity.
  • Sherrod with another mistake, but Flynn should have gotten rid of the ball sooner.
  • Crosby looks very comfortable, makes a 49-yard field goal.
  • I think they’ve messed up on the snap distribution, too much time was given to the 2nd team offense and Tolzein.  No idea how the Packers are going to grade the 3rd team with 5 mins of tape. Rettig might get 1 series at best at this point.
  • Jayrone Elliot is just destroying Hooey for an entire series. Is Elliot that good or is Hooey that bad?
  • Carl Bradford finally makes an appearance, manages to pressure the quarterback.
  • Adams finally fields a clean catch, but then dances around and loses yardage.  I think its time to admit Adams isn’t a returner.
  • Adrian Hubbard gets a sack, on another note Carl Bradford playing some ILB.
  • Davante Adams gets another shot at punt returning and finally gets something, of course there’s another penalty so at least there’s one thing that’s consistent.
  • Chase Rettig finally getting some playing time, he’s got 2 minutes to erase the Titans game.
  • Rettig is going to be the first man to see the turk, it’s the preseason and the Packers are killing the clock by running the ball like it was a real game.

Packers vs. Rams – First Impressions – Conclusion:

  • Packers 21, Rams 7; good to see the Packers get the win
  • The Packers 1st team offense looks good to go, while the 1st defense needs some work but nothing to worry about.
  • I’m still not convinced on Peppers as a full time OLB; he does seem a little uneasy with his head up, sometimes running himself out of plays.
  • Tolzien got an extended look this week and frankly I’m still not sold. While Tolzien definitely has more arm strength and athleticism, Flynn is a better quarterback right now.  Flynn has more poise and a better command of the offense.  Would the Packers be willing to give Tolzien another year to mature?
  • Sherrod probably wishes he was still playing the Titans; he simply had a horrendous game early on but seemed to settle down a little as the game wore on.
  • The Packers look to have a log jam at wide receiver; Nelson, Cobb, Boykin and Adams are obviously locks to make it.  Janis and Dorsey both had good game as well.  Maybe they steal a spot for tight end this year.
  • Speaking of Janis, let’s give him a little more time before anointing him a lock on the roster.  He made one great play but he needs to make a lot more in order to make this roster.
  • Jayrone Elliot simply cannot be that good, but he definitely didn’t hurt himself after wrecking an offensive series all by himself.  He’s put himself firmly in the “keep an eye on” category for the rest of the preseason.
  • Overall, the Packers look to be on track for the regular season.
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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

——————

  • Mojo

    I want to see more of Elliott. Bring him in at least with the two’s. It’s too hard to tell if it’s the completion, but man did he look good.
    For those of you who shrugged off the Barclay injury, consider Sherrods performance today. Do you want him guarding ARod’s blindside if something happens to Bahk. I want Sherrod to succeed, but he just doesn’t have the bend against the speed guys. Maybe that will change, but it’s a big concern,
    Didn’t care for the second team o-line. Big drop-off from the ones. And speaking of the ones, boy did they look good. And so did ARod as usually and Lacy. With good health, this O is going to kick ass this year.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Outside of Matthews, Perry and Peppers, I don’t see why there won’t be a shake up on the OLB pecking order. I’d said it in the article, but there’s no way Elliot is that good, a large majority of his success is likely attributed really poor play by the tackle.

      As for Sherrod, my guess is that if Bakhtari went down, Bulaga would likely shift to the left side, meaning no matter the situation its likely Sherrod would only be a right tackle. Either way, I would say he’s about even; he had an awesome game against the Titans and a terrible game against the Rams, why are you favoring one game over the other?

      • Mojo

        And that’s why I want I want Elliott to play against the other teams one or two’s. We’ll only know then what he’s got.
        As for Sherrod, you can’t afford to have one good game and one horrible game. So we do well in the first game with him and in the second #12 takes a pasting like Tolzien did. Sorry, not a good tradeoff.
        Believe me, I’ve been rooting for Sherrod from the get go. Hope he gets it together, but what I saw today didn’t give me much confidence.

        • Archie

          I thought Sherrod improved as the game wore on – as rough as he was at the outset, he was still quite a bit better than Marshall Newhouse.:)

          • packett

            yeah, but…, he got better as the game wore on against what defense; ones or twos?
            Its early, and a bad game can be excusable still considering the 2 years of rust, but sure is worrisome. Maybe another couple preseason games does wonders and he works the rust off.

            • Thomas Hobbes

              Actually Sherrod never played with the 1s, if anything he played with the 2s and the 2.5s (for the lack of a better term).

          • Thomas Hobbes

            I will say this much; in terms of ability Sherrod looks like Newhouse. The only difference is that with Newhouse you always got the feeling that he’d hit the ceiling of his ability while Sherrod still has a ton of potential he hasn’t used.

  • GBPDAN

    Watching Sherrard today was scary. Let’s hope nobody gets hurt on the Oline. Losing Barclay sucks. Our starting Oline looked awesome. The Rams have a great front 7 and the Packers handled them easily.

    • http://ALLGBP.com/ Jersey Al – ALLGBP

      Looked bad, but not giving up on him yet, he needs reps, reps,reps.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      He was a hero against the Titans and a zero against the Rams, why are you favoring the Rams game? Also keep in mind should Sherrod ever have to play due to injury, its likely the Packers would help him out with a tight end or a fullback. Obviously in the preseason you want to see the match ups for scouting purposes, so its not like it would be the end of the world if he played.

      • GBPDAN

        Are you serious?  The Titans game was on slow drenched grass. The Rams was on new tech turf that a lot of stadiums have. Sherrod got killed at St Louis.  You don’t think that’s concerning in the least?

        Best Regards
        Dan Erickson

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        ——– Original message ——–From: Disqus Date:08/16/2014 8:23 PM (GMT-08:00) To: danerickson@aac-la.com Subject: Re: New comment posted on Packers 21 vs. Rams 7 – 2014 Preseason Game Two First Impressions  Settings

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        Thomas Hobbes

        He was a hero against the Titans and a zero against the Rams, why are you favoring the Rams game? Also keep in mind should Sherrod ever have to play due to injury, its likely the Packers would help him out with a tight end or a fullback. Obviously in the preseason you want to see the match ups for scouting purposes, so its not like it would be the end of the world if he played. 11:23 p.m., Saturday Aug. 16

        Reply to Thomas Hobbes

        Thomas Hobbes’s comment is in reply to GBPDAN:

        Watching Sherrard today was scary. Let’s hope nobody gets hurt on the Oline. Losing Barclay sucks. Our starting Oline looked awesome. The Rams have … Read more
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        • Thomas Hobbes

          Isn’t the usual train of thought that bad conditions make players perform worse? If that’s the case shouldn’t the Titans game be more promising than the Rams game?

          • GBPDAN

            Let’s just hope that Sherrard just had a bad game at St Louis.  I’m concerned that he will have problems with faster DEs. But , maybe he’s just been out of football to long and he will get better With more reps, this is what I’m praying for. I’m also hoping that our starting Tackles (and everyone else) make it through the whole season so that this is a moot point.

            Best Regards
            Dan Erickson

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            ——– Original message ——–From: Disqus Date:08/20/2014 9:39 AM (GMT-08:00) To: danerickson@aac-la.com Subject: Re: New comment posted on Packers 21 vs. Rams 7 – 2014 Preseason Game Two First Impressions  Settings

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            Thomas Hobbes

            Isn’t the usual train of thought that bad conditions make players perform worse? If that’s the case shouldn’t the Titans game be more promising than the Rams game? 12:39 p.m., Wednesday Aug. 20

            Reply to Thomas Hobbes

            Thomas Hobbes’s comment is in reply to GBPDAN:

            Are you serious?  The Titans game was on slow drenched grass. The Rams was on new tech turf that a lot of stadiums have. Sherrod … Read more
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  • Chad Lundberg

    After what I saw the first team offense do today, I can only think of one thing. BRING ON THE SEACOCKS!!

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I’d tempter that enthusiasm, keep in mind everyone is playing vanilla in the preseason and the Seahawks are going to throw some looks the Packers aren’t prepared for.

      • Chad Lundberg

        Have yee little faith? The Packers are superior compared to the 2012 team. We have an outstanding run game and a much more fit offensive line. Im in the minority when I say this, but I believe we have a perfect Amount of Tight Ends. Im convinced they can carve through just about any D. They have EVERYTHING an offense can have.

        Our defense is another matter, but the main key is stopping the run. We may not get to Russell, but as long as Lynch is contained thats enough.

        The Packers absolutely destroyed Houston in ’12, even they had the highest ranked defense at the time. We won because the Packers were PISSED! A similar situation will happen with the seahawks.

        • Thomas Hobbes

          I think its a risky proposition to use preseason performance as a gauge for regular season success, especially when it comes to the entire team. Keep in mind the Detroit Lions were 4-0 in the preseason and looked great only to go 0-16 and the Patriots have gone 0-4 in the preseason without much issue.

          If you are asking if an OLB can dip around a LT, then the preseason can be somewhat indicative; if you are asking if the 1st offense can beat the Seattle defense, then I’m less confident in using preseason data.

      • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

        The first team D looked great in Q1. Not so great in Q2. Seattle is loaded too… its gonna be a tough game to win.

  • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

    Got it figured out Al – sorry about the confusion.

    I think Sherrod looked bad today. But he was great last week. There are 2 weeks more for him to grow. For a backup swing tackle, he’s not done too poorly.

  • Oppy

    Mike Pennel intrigues, Josh Boyd looks like he’s physically growing and showing improvement. I’m all for more big men who may be able to play the nose- Pennel looks the part. Too bad we haven’t had any real chance to see Guion play.

    I am terrified of the prospect of ending the season without a viable option at NT outside of Raji. Huge red flags for me when it comes to offering Raji a long term contract. I would rather see him constantly pushed for PT to guarantee 100% effort, or replaced with an upgrade, meaning a guy who plays the NT position with stoutness, great anchor, and a MEAN streak.

    • Archie

      If Pennel is better than Raji (looks it to me), we can keep Raji as a $4MM back-up, can we? Or is his money guaranteed?

      • Thomas Hobbes

        Only $500,000 of his contract is guaranteed, though its not like he has a say on how he gets played. The Packers have plenty of cap room so its not like carrying a $4 million backup for a year would be a huge deal.

        • Archie

          But cap money is like gold – anything they don’t waste today they roll into the future. I think Raji will be a close call. If I had to bet, I’d go with TT keeping him for this year but I think he is in some jeopardy.

          • Oppy

            To the best of my knowledge, cap money doesn’t “roll into the future.” The salary cap is what it is- the maximum amount of player payroll that can be spent in a given year. (I believe there is also a salary floor, as well- the minimum amount that must be spent on player payroll each year.) The Packers bank accounts are full, so it’s not as though they don’t spend up to the cap because they don’t have the ability.. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t understand what you mean.

            • Archie

              Check your sources – there are ways to roll unspent cap money into the following year. I’m sure there’s limits on it but it is not insignificant. The Packers have done it the last couple of years I believe.

            • Thomas Hobbes

              For what I understand, unused cap money can be rolled over to the future year, but only to the subsequent year, meaning you can’t just save money for 3 years and then splurge. I think this year the Packers rolled over about $10 mil from the previous year, meaning they have a higher salary cap this year than stated in the CBA.

              http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/12/new-cba-gives-teams-the-right-to-carry-over-cap-space-automatically/

              • Oppy

                Archie/Thomas, I stand corrected.

                Thanks for the link, I was never aware there was a mechanism for carry over.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Honestly, NT doesn’t seem to be all that important of a position. I know standard thinking is that 3-4 defenses run through the NT and the OLB, but if that were true, NT wouldn’t be the position they pull when they want to go to the nickel package. Keep in mind the Packers are playing more nickel and teams are continuing to throw the ball more, both which make NT less and less important.

      • Oppy

        If the Packers are going to run a 3-4 defense, the NT position is very important. I understand that they are in base less than 50% of the time the last many years; but none the less, when they line up in 3-4, it is of utmost importance that the NT does his job, and does it well. It is a lynchpin position in a 3-4 defense, everything is built off of the integrity up the middle of the defense.

        • Thomas Hobbes

          I disagree, outside of people just saying that NT is the lynchpin of the defense, what data do you have to justify this claim? My feeling is that the whole NT argument was valid when the 3-4 defense was created but not at this point.

          • Oppy

            standard formation offense, 5 OL, TE on LOS, RB in the back field. 3 DL on LOS, two OLBs near or on. Look at it as 6 on 5 (including TE and OLBs). We’re not only trying to get a clean edge for one (or both) of the OLBs, whose job is not only to rush the passer, but also contain and turn plays inside. The NT must command a double team to not only keep the edges (and everyone else) in 1-on-1 situations, but also to lower or eliminate the need for the Jack ILB to engage an OG when a run gets turned inside making it much easier for the mike to make a clean play. If the NT doesn’t command a double and hold the point effectively, it creates a chain reaction- a G in now free to either get to the second level and engage a LB, or a G is free to slide to a DE which in turns eases the burden or completely frees up the OT and TE to concentrate on a OLB. Good (or bad) NT play affects both inside and the edges. It’s not just talking point cliche’. It is the basis for the scheme to function as designed. It’s also probably the most demanding position in football.

  • Oppy

    I am very disappointed with Carl Bradford so far. I can only hope this is just a matter of him playing slow because he’s having trouble adjusting to the position and all of the diagnosis he must do from a two point stance. Perhaps things “click” and he starts reacting instead of thinking. It would be great to have a guy who has a knack for forcing fumbles and strips on our LB corps. Come on, Bradford, make the jump!!

    • Archie

      Yeah, it will be hard to keep Bradford. But #7 and #6 draft picks shined tonight. So Bradford may be teh only player from this year’s draft that is in trouble. Short guy w short arms does not an OLB make.

      • Thomas Hobbes

        I’m not convinced yet that Goodson makes the team either, I really wish they’d try him at returner, he might be able to boost his stock that way.

        • Archie

          Now there’s an interesting idea, assuming he doesn’t have hands of stone.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Actually I find it very odd that he’s not getting more playing time, even if he is having trouble; I mean do the Packers really like Jake Dougthy or Nate Palmer better? Last week I thought maybe Bradford was having a rough camp or the coaching staff wanted to send a message but after this I can’t imagine this is the case. The only thing that I can think of at this point is that Bradford is nursing some sort of injury that hasn’t been disclosed.

      • Oppy

        When mentioning Nate Palmer, keep in mind that Kevin Greene strongly believed that Palmer had all the tools required to be an exceptional 3-4 OLB.. basically insinuating that he (greene) could mold him into a CMIII type player. I’m convinced that Palmer’s even being selected during the draft was due solely to Greene’s lobbying for his pick.

        Whether or not Kevin Greene’s assessment was accurate or not is a whole other discussion, but the possibility exists that others in the Packers organization believe strongly in Palmer’s potential as well.

        • Thomas Hobbes

          Coaches lobby for players all the time and say all sorts of stuff, so Greene isn’t alone in that regard. Secondly, Palmer was a 6th round pick anyways, and most picks in that range are just educated guesses, I don’t think the Packers realistically regret the pick since there’s no guarantee that any other pick would have done any better.

  • Since ’61

    Starting offense looked good. To me what was important was that Rodgers was very sharp, deadly accurate. Packers O was only stopped when they stopped themselves with penalties. Sherrod’s performance only proved how much of a loss Barclay is. Defense looks like it’s coming together. Still has some work to do. Always difficult to measure pre-season due to everyone running vanilla formations. This is why Rodgers performance is important. He looks ready to play. The question now is (as usual), how long for the rest of the team to reach his level? We’ll see. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Admittedly there aren’t many players that will ever reach Rodgers’ level, so you might be waiting forever on that one.

  • montana83

    1) D Backs: Sam Shields did not do his job twice. Tramon Williams was beat twice but Bradford couldn’t make the throw. These guys must improve.
    2) Defense against the run was excellent. Great block shedding and penetration all night long.
    3) Special Teams – both ways – terrible – penalties – missed tackles – this has to get better but it has been bad for years.
    4) Tim Masthay – wow !!!!!!!!!!!!
    5) OL – hands to the face penalties – stupid – 2 TD’s lost. On the other hand Quarless scored a TD and was penalized for pushing off while just before the DB had his hands on Quarless’ face. Nice call Ref.
    6) Jeff Janis – a lot of bad mouthing about catching with his body but in college he caught everything thrown at him. Touchdown route, reception and run after were perfect. He makes the team – no practice squad for him or the Packers are making a big, big mistake. Even the Ram announcers saw it the same way. Great throw by Flynn by the way. As the Ram announcer said:” final 2 seasons at college a) Janis got 3,200 yards on b) 189 catches and 3) 31 TD’s. If you are Thompson/McCarthy do you keep Janis or let’s say Kuhn? An injury to Cobb, Boykin or Nelson again and you will need Janis. He would fill in perfectly. Incidentally GB black coaches and black WR’s call Janis V-12 as in Lamborghini V-12 – they are awed by his speed.
    7) Tretter proved himself and his back-up Linsley had way too many costly penalties.
    8) Ram announcers and coverage were terrible.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      1) Shields got greedy twice and got burned, so its not like he tripped over himself. For one play I felt Williams got hung out by someone else, there’s no way he should be covering two receivers as a deep 3rd corner back.
      2) I agree, the run defense has been surprisingly good through the preseason so far.
      3) I have a sinking suspicion that the NFL is trying some stuff out with all the penalties and it will be more like last year when the regular season starts. There’s no way the NFL will let so much dead time in a football game. ST seem to draw the most penalties due to the nature of the plays.
      4)Masthay has been pretty automatic after his first year, hopefully Thompson decides to not cock it up.
      5) going back to #3, the NFL is either trying something new out or trying to send a message, they won’t let so many delays occur during a regular season game (less ad time for them).
      6) His release was pretty poor; still its one catch, he’s not Jerry Rice just yet, let him play the last two preseason games before anointing him a lock.
      7) I would say the competition is still close but Linsley has done nothing to prove he should be the starter.
      8) Good god yes, Torry Holt was hitting on a cardboard cutout of Tavon Austin at the end of it.

    • Oppy

      I’ve never heard anything about Janis body-catching balls. I have personally commented on Aberrderis’ bad habit of using his body to trap balls. Jeff Janis’ glaring deficiency in his highlight reels was sub-par route running, IMO, but never an issue with his hands.

  • GBPDAN

    I didn’t like the confusion and sloppy play in the secondary. I’m hoping for much improvement this year from that group.