As a fan, this was one of the most difficult Packers preseasons to endure in quite some time.
The Packers got hit hard with injuries (again). The team looked awful in exhibition games (especially on offense). And the quality of play was mostly abysmal (it’ll be a long time before the images of Graham Harrell, Vince Young and B.J. Coleman chucking passes to God knows where leave my mind).
Fortunately, none of that matters now. The regular season is upon us and the horror show of the preseason will be a distant memory if the Packers come out and dropkick the 49ers in week one.
For some guidance on who will be the key players in helping us erase those terrible exhibition season memories, let’s go to the Packers stock report:
All of the above players were probably sitting on pins and needles Saturday. Every one of those guys had to scrap to make the team, and now that they finally made it, I’m considering all of them rising. Of course, I’m writing this at 7:30 on Sunday night, meaning Ted Thompson could make a roster move before this publishes and cut one of them. But even if one of them does get axed early, odds are the Packers will rely on at least one of these guys to contribute during the season. Let’s hope the momentum and confidence boost they receive from being in this week’s rising category translates to the playing field.
Jolly fits into the above group as well, but I’m giving him his own slot because his story is that cool. It was nice of the Packers to give Jolly another opportunity to redeem himself, and it was great to see Jolly take advantage of that opportunity and make the team. Initially, this whole thing seemed like the Packers just doing a good deed and helping Jolly get his life back on track. After a few exhibition games, it became apparent that Jolly can still play and fills a need on the defensive line. Next up in the Jolly reclamation project: Eliminating silly penalties.
Once again, Thompson showed on cutdown day that he isn’t afraid to take a chance on young unproven talent that nobody has ever heard of. Five of the players Thompson cut in order to keep all the players in the rising category have already been signed by other teams. That means one of two things: 1) Thompson and his staff have a talented group of guys that nobody has ever heard of who will eventually prove their worth and become well-known, or 2) Thompson made some big mistakes and cut bait on a few players too soon. My money is on the former, but only time will tell. Either way, Thompson stuck to his philosophy and deserves a place in the steady category.
EDIT: Thompson released B.J. Coleman and signed Seneca Wallace after I finished writing the stock report last night. It looks as though Thompson is just throwing things against the wall to see if anything sticks as a backup QB. It’s one of the few times I can think of where Thompson doesn’t appear to have a plan. Is the latest development in the backup QB situation enough to remove Thompson from this week’s steady category? Nope. Every season, fans of all 32 NFL teams get excessively wound up about their backup QB. It’s no different in Green Bay. Sure, it’d be nice to have a “proven” backup (whatever proven means when you’re not good enough to start), but here’s the bottom line: If Rodgers gets hurt, the Packers are screwed. If pretty much any of the 32 starting QBs in the NFL get hurt, their teams are screwed. Yes, Thompson could’ve handled the backup situation better, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean all that much.
With Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson battling injuries this preseason, Jones filled the void and looked like he’s ready for a repeat performance of his breakout 2012 campaign. Jones averaged over 14 yards per catch in the preseason — second only to Jermichael Finley among Packers with at least two catches — and hauled in a 50-yarder in the first exhibition contest. More importantly, I’m ready for the return of Jones’ trademark sleeveless turtleneck under his jersey. Once Jones busts out the sleeveless turtleneck, you know things are about to get serious.
The 31 NFL teams that aren’t the Green Bay Packers
I’ll save any negativity until the regular season starts and we have something meaningful to be negative about regarding the Packers. For now, it’s nothing but positivity. Real football is about to start. The Packers will be on my TV on Sundays. The team should once again be among the handful of teams that has a shot at winning it all. Why dampen all that joy and cheer by putting a Packers player in the falling category before the season’s first game? Go Pack go!
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .