Packers 28 Cardinals 20 – First Impressions of 2011 Preseason Game 2 All Green Bay Packers All the Time

A little late with this Packers -Cardinals post, as I couldn’t watch the game live. Watching the NFL Network replay, so here goes…

Nice play by Robert Francois on the opening kickoff coverage. Held his lane well and closed down what had been an open   running lane for the returner.

BJ Raji quickly forces a holding penalty coming from the right end position. I personally would rather see Raji stay at nose tackle, but I understand why the Packers are moving him around. His quickness for a guy with that body type is freakish.

Packers trusting Tramon Williams to cover Larry Fitzgerald one on one. Expect him to draw similar assignments all year.

Scott Wells with a very poor effort, which results in Rodgers taking a hit right after throwing. Wells played the part of statue, letting the player bounce to his left without even going after him other than a weak hand swipe. No excuse for that.

Really like what I’m seeing from Erik Walden at ROLB so far. A few nice “force” plays on runs to his side and showing some outside pass rush speed.

Kevin Kolb must be pretty slow to just barely get away from Howard Green and then get caught by Ryan Pickett.

Vic So ‘oto with a nice looking outside pass rush on the play where Larry Fitzgerald makes that diving one-handed catch. Soto is getting a good number of snaps with the “ones”,  sharing Matthews’ spot with Zombo. Coaches obviously like what they’ve seen of Soto. He certainly has the size and strength. The question will be mobility.

Ryan Grant runs into his own lineman for no gain and then on the next play, makes the wrong cut after breaking the line of scrimmage. Just like old times…

Ouch! Awful pass-block technique by Sherrod at guard and Rodgers goes down. He was off-balance from his first step and was way too high – his main problem so far.

Josh Sitton gets beat and gives up a sack – you don’t see that very often.

Tim Masthay – what a find…

D. J. Smith – All out effort all the time. Always in or or around the tackle. He’s a pint-sized keeper.

We finally get our first glimpse of Alex Green as a Packer. He is what I hoped – a dynamic running back that can avoid tacklers or run through them. He could very well be the reason Ryan Grant is not re-signed next year.

So basically, if the Packers use the no-huddle and let Rodgers “call the plays,” at the line of scrimmage, they can score at will. Good to know.

2nd Half:

Harlan and Gannon jinxing players all night. As soon as they talk someone up, something bad happens. They take it to a new level: “Ryan Williams has been the talk of the Arizona camp.”  Boom!   Williams goes down – knee injury, probably out for the year.

Ricky Elmore – it’s been nice knowing you…

Shields gets beat for a TD on a fade route. Actually very good coverage by Shields – ball was in a perfect spot to the 6′ 5″ Stephen Williams. It happens.

I like what I’ve seen over the first two preseason games from M.D. Jennings. He reminds me a bit of Morgan Burnett. I think he’s a Practice Squad keeper.

Jarius Wynn playing well for the injured C.J. Wilson, who was in for the injured Mike Neal. He’s getting a lot of snaps and making the most of it.

T. J. Lang hasn’t shown me he’s an NFL starter, and Derek Sherrod isn’t ready for prime time. Left guard continues to be the Packers Achilles Heel.

Chastin West is not a speed burner, yet he isn’t caught by a faster DB on his 97 yard TD catch and run. Curious…

If Graham Harrell can learn how to handle pressure, he can be a solid backup.

I also think that if Harrell gets a few more years in MM’s QB school (a shame about this year), he will make a better NFL QB than Flynn.








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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, 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


45 thoughts on “Packers 28 Cardinals 20 – First Impressions of 2011 Preseason Game 2

  1. Wow. Strong words about Harrell and Flynn. I don’t agree. Right now Flynn is clearly the better player, but who knows long term. Both need to work on pressure, as Flynn tends to throw too short, even in long situations. But what Michael Lombardi said about Flynn’s arm is boloney. He has enough arm strenght to make NFL throws. And so does Harrell.

    I’m also worried about the LG spot. Both have struggled so far. If I had to, I’d give the spot to Lang, as he’s more polished, but Sherrod’s upside is much bigger. I still contend the coaches are once again screwing things up shuffling those guys. Let them learn one position.

    And Elmore is soft. With that attitude he won’t play in the NFL. Maybe he’s too hesitant, doesn’t know the playbook enough to play. But other guys aren’t suffering from it.

      1. Scout consensus on Flynn coming out of college was that he lacked the elite-level arm strength that starting-caliber NFL QB’s need to succeed. This was almost unanimous amongst scouts.

        That said, there have been a number of throws here and there throughout Flynn’s time in GB that suggest otherwise. We’ve seen glimpses of 20 yard frozen rope outs, and a smidgen of deep ball plays (like the fake punt bomb to a wide open- but falling down- Andrew Quarless).

        In his time as a pro, Flynn has definitely developed the arm strength needed to “make all the throws” in a pro offense. It may not be elite arm strength, but it is passable.

        I think we can all agree that he is a gamer, he has a tough as nails demeanor, command of the offense and displays all the intangible leadership qualities you want.

        That coupled with a good enough arm can equal great success as a starter.

        1. Right, when Flynn got to GB he couldn’t make those throws and that was one thing I’ve been watching like a hawk this preseason. He’ll never have Rodgers arm to the sideline deep, but how many QB’s do? Flynn’s mechanics gotten a lot better, he can throw a 20 yard out with zip and that’s all he needs to win games. Graham Harrell has really improved too. Whatever McCarthy and Clements does with these guys works. I’ll bet Andy Dalton wishes he was so lucky.

          1. Steve, you make a good point about Montana’s arm.

            To be completely fair, however, Joe Montana carved out his legacy at the QB position operating in Joe Walsh’s famed West Coast Offense. The premium is placed on the QB’s progression reads, decision making, and accuracy. High percentage short to medium routes are the meat of that offense. Elite arm strength was not a necessity.

            I think you would agree that Mike McCarthy’s offense is no where near Walsh’s true WCO. Yes, I believe that MM would adapt the offense to his available QB’s strengths and weaknesses, but the well from which MM draws his plays from is not the same well that Walsh sprinkled upon Montana.

          2. As oppy has already described, it’s not a fair or simple comparison. And if you compare nothing else but arm strength, Montana still wins IMO.

            1. Just to clarify Joe Walsh was Bill Walsh’s older brother who was the real creator of the WCO.

  2. Nice observations. I disagree with Walden. I feel he was week against the run and, at times, was easily blocked. Unfortunately, no one else did much better. Pack may need to alternate Walden, Zombo, and Jones. I like what I saw from Gurley and West. Sherrod needs more time and TT may need to start looking for another DE if the injuries keep mounting. I really like DJ Williams.

    1. One thing you have to keep in mind. In Capers’ scheme, the OLB’s job is often to be the “force” player, not make the tackle. The job of the force player is to meet the lead blockers and stop the momentum of the play. Stop the RB’s momentum and force him to take time to adjust and let others make the tackle. Walden did that often and well. In some cases it might look like he was being blocked, but if he’s holding his ground, then he’s doing his job.

      I’m guessing Elmore benefited in college from other teams focusing on Brooks Reed.

      I like Gurley a lot. I think with a year on the practice squad, he could develop like West has.

      1. The guy(Walden) was sucked in constantly early on! What game were u watching? He improved but Zombo’s better in almost every phase of the game. In addtion is Flynn doesn’t have enough arm then Harrell’s damn close! His arm is not very superior to Flynn’s, dont know where you saw this?

        1. Obviously, I was watching a different game than you. Walden’s job on running plays is often to be the “force” or “spill” player. Basically to try to make the play go where the Packers want it to go. Sucked in? No, he was doing what he is being asked to do. If you want to read up on this, check these links:

          Zombo did NOTHING and Brad Jones even less. The Packers gave the UDFA So ‘oto a bunch of snaps with the “ones” at their expense.

          Harrell is no Rodgers, but if you look at the TD pass to Taylor, it had to be thrown with authority and Harrell did. I have not been as impressed with Matt Flynn as everyone else seems to be. Put him on a team without the Packers’ receiving and TE talent and his success would be limited. i do give Flynn toughness points. I’ve seen him take a bunch of hard hits and bounce up like nothing happened.

          1. Walden lost contain multiple times. I think alot of other people hve noted that too in addition to me after watching that game. He was not a bright point. Jones at LB is prob gonna lose that roster spot unless he steps up and shows something there, i agree with you there.

            1. Do you have inside information about the calls Capers made? If you don’t then there’s no way for you to know if his responsibility was to contain or force.

            2. Jay is right – neither of us know what his responsibility was on each play – at least by first impression. I just objected to your use of the “got sucked in” description, because he could very well have been doing exactly what he was supposed to do.

              Remember, this is all based on “first impression.” We both could have a very different opinion watching it back and focusing just on the OLBs. if I have time this week, I may just do that.

              1. Except for the fact that Walden tells reporters that he lost contain multiple times in an interview……

              2. Yes, I saw that. I just watched the game, focusing solely on the OLBs. Yes, he did lose contain several times and he did well in other cases. A mixed, bag for sure. Also, I’ll retract my other comment about Zombo. He played much better than my first impression of him, and to think he did it with a broken scapula. Sorry Frank!

  3. I thought both Flynn and Harrell looked pretty good, and I was particularly impressed with Harrell. He looks tall in the pocket, didn’t seem to get rattled, and he moves well, seemed to be enjoying himself. I agree they need to stop the musical chairs at LG and give one guy the reps or there will be trouble. I liked So’oto at times but he doesn’t look real fast. Elmore will be lucky to find someone’s practice squad. The young tight ends I thought look good and Taylor in particular due to his versatility and ST’s. I have No Problem with Tramon Williams covering whoever they ask him to, he’s ready.

      1. yeah, its could also be a result of not knowing the system that well… when you are reacting instinctively instead of thinking you can play faster than your timed speed, and vice versa. Like DJ Smith, very instinctive. Not the fastest guy but hes always around the ball

        1. actually i take that back. he probably didnt learn the system that much better in a week so youre right, it was probably a confidence thing

  4. I will wait to make my impression on Zombo, Walden and Jones. A good solid reason was because Clay Matthews was the focused OLB. Allowing either alternate linebacker to go man or unblocked. That and this is Dom Capers we are talking about. Replace Matthews with a Ice Cream Cone and the Ice Cream Cone will end up with 6 sacks in a game because of hiding the true blitz.

    Chastin West will most likely be on the team, because I have no idea where Brett Swain is playing. I dont hear his name often.

    Harrell will be the backup next year, Flynn will be gone but Thompson will have to do something to get optimal draft picks.

    Grant ran downhill into his blockers, and while I saw fewer of Alex Green, something about him made me feel like he looked like a real RB.

    I didn’t see much, or hear much of Pat Lee… well the only thing I did hear was that he was on the bubble.

    1. West will only be on the team if they keep six wide receivers. If he shows he can contribute on special teams as well they might. But, otherwise he will be playing somewhere else for sure.

  5. It’s hard to judge things at this point in the team’s development because MM/DC aren’t scheming to the player’s strengths as they would in the regular season. What we see isn’t what they’re seeing, or even looking for. One thing about “Draft & Develop” is that there will always be rookies expected to handle a starting role and a significant learning curve will have to be overcome during the first part of the season, every year, while they come up to speed. Scheming to the players’ strengths will hide some warts and I have faith those warts are being “coached” out as we speak. I read that many teams are sending scouts to our games because they know TT has to cut some real talent since the roster is so deep. Now that’s respect.

    1. I have no doubt other teams are watching the Packers closely. I’m sure the Giants are waiting to see if they cut a TE. Perhaps it’s time for TT to return the Ryan Grant favor…

  6. As I’ve been saying, settle on the LG (Should be Lang) and let him take all the snaps with the first team. This alternate series shit is just confusing a good young rookie who has never played the position. Get him to work at LT and stop the LG shit now.

    The defense reminded me of the Lombardi clip of old, “What the hell is going on out there?” Nothing a few more tackling dummies won’t fix. The DB’s looked like they were playing touch footbal. Dom will have that under control soon.

    Masthay is the best punter GB has had in years. As good as Hendricks!

    A. Green has shown a lot of potential. I anxious to see more.

    Wilson looked like he had a serious concussion. He really looked like he was on a different planet. And still no real word on Neal. Two weeks to get some depth on the Dline.

    Next week is the first real game siutuation. Time for MM to let the offense and defense loose for 3 qtrs anyway. 1 LG for all 3 of those qtrs, PUHLESE.

  7. Great summary! Agree with just about everything. I would like to see if TT can get a good DE with a favorable contract for Flynn. We will be in trouble if we lose a DL starter for the season or Rodgers and the odds are higher we lose a DL.

    Besides I think Harrell can win a game or two, if needed.

  8. Packers are gonna kill these boys on Thursday with Painter at QB! Cant wait to see who grabs picks….

  9. I completely agree with most of your statements.
    1. Starks needs to be the opening day starter…Grant is average.
    2. Loved what I saw out of Green…he’s going to be a stud.
    3. Chastin West over Swain for sure.
    4. Need more pass rush out of Walden and Zombo. Those are the only two competing now…Jones has sucked.
    5. Trade Flynn for a 2nd round pick and make Harrel your #2.
    6. Elmore is gone for sure. Shows no instincts.
    7. Forget about Sherrod for this year. Not only is Lang much better than him at LG, Newhouse is much better than Sherrod at OLT as well!! This guy won’t be activated for most of the year…book it.

    1. Harrell is not ready yet to be a “you can count on him” #2.

      Sherrod will be active every game as the primary backup at both tackles.

      And with regards to your screen name, I said that as soon as I saw Starks in action. And Green will be better than both of them.

  10. is chastin west really a lock for that spot? yeah hes improved, but when packers run 5 wide he wont be in, finley will. the reason you havent heard swain’s name is cuz hes dealing with an injury, but hes a special teams beast. i dont know how much of a contributor on special teams west can be, but i doubt hed have as much of an impact as brett swain

    1. From practice reports, West has been in on a lot of special teams as a starter. I didn’t pay close attention to that during the games, so I don’t know if it carried over.

  11. Defensively, the guys that standout to me are DJ Smith, Vic So’oto (I’d like to buy an apostrophe please), Erik Walden and Josh Gordy. Is it me or does Ricky Elmore suck?

    1. He’s definitely been the biggest disappointment. Originally, Elmore was thought to be going in the late 3rd or early 4th. Thompson grabbed him where he did as a value pick. There’s usually a reason why a guy like that drops so much…

  12. Oppy’s defensive predictions scorecard thusfar:

    Elmore – (buzzzzzzz)

    Brad Jones (Buzzzzzz)

    Vic So’oto (ding ding ding)

    Thanks Mr. So’oto for potentially keeping me out of goose egg territory.. But you’ve still got to make the roster.

    Elmore, I had so much faith in you. But you suck.

    Brad, brad, brad.. Get your head out of your rocket-scientist arse and play with reckless abandon. It’s not your talent that’s holding you back, it’s your calculated restraint. Walden is a wildman. you need to match that intensity.

    1. Okay, I have to footnote on Elmore:

      Elmore, you suck… at making the switch from DE to OLB.

      I can’t judge the kid too severely, he’s learning a completely new position with a different required skill set. Some DE’s can make the jump fluidly, some take time, others never do.

      But he still sucks.

    2. Jones has been the biggest puzzle to me. Where is the guy who did pretty damn well thrown to the fire as a rookie? I thought he would win the ROLB competition. Seems like he’s not even in it now…

      1. Wasn’t Jones a rookie when we went to the 3-4 and Kampman was trying to be the LOLB.If so,then the reason for Jones looking good then was Kampy well…wasn’t at LOLB,or am I missing on this.

          1. …for the remainder of the season, and he played quite well. Got some sacks, played the run better than people would have expected considering his weight.

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