The Green Bay Packers won their first game of the preseason last night and as my dear departed Pops would say – “some good, some bad”. On this occasion I do think the good outweighed the bad.
The Good: Cedric Benson. I haven’t been this excited about an offseason aquisition since Jim Del Gaizo in 1973. The good thing is this time is the Packers didn’t give up two number twos for the guy. If Benson can do what he did last night all season the Packers’ offense just got a whole lot better. And so did the Packers’ defense, which might not have to be on the field as much in the late going. In one quarter of play Benson looks like the best back the Packers have had since Ahman Green.
You also had to be impressed with the Packers’ defense. The Bengals played their starters into the third quarter and couldn’t generate any offense against the Packers’ fired up defense. At one point the Packers didn’t allow a first down from early in the second quarter until late in the third quarter when the backups were in. Even the scrubs made plays in the end with a couple of turnovers including a pick six. That defense looked more like the 2010 defense than the 2011 defense.
I loved the formation with Nick Perry and Clay Matthews lined up at the line of scrimmage on some plays. Now you have to worry about pressure from both sides, and I thought Perry had a good game. He might not have had a sack but he was right there several times and showed some speed in pursuit as well. Some of the other young guys showed some promise as well. Not sure we’ll be able to get much of a read next week since the starters will only make a cameo appearances, but I am certainly more encouraged about the play of the Packers’ defense.
The Bad: I know I shouldn’t even bring it up, but Aaron Rodgers doesn’t exactly look like the Aaron Rodgers of 2011. 12-out-of-22 and one of the ugliest interceptions I’ve seen since the days of the old gunslinger makes you wonder just a tad. Still the Packers did have their way with the Bengals and led 17-6 despite the ugly pick which was at least a six point swing.
Speaking of bad quarterback play, I really want to know how the Packers grade quarterbacks if Graham Harrell graded well as head coach Mike McCarthy said today. I mean really? 26 yards passing grades well? I say he sucks and it is about time Ted Thompson cuts this guy whether McCarthy likes it or not. I’ve seen about ten plays from B.J. Coleman and I already know he is better than Harrell. Of course, you can’t go into a season with either one as your backup. If Thompson doesn’t bring in a legitimate backup the Packers are taking a huge gamble. It’s probably too late to fix.
The Packers end the preseason in Lambeau next Thursday against the Chiefs, I doubt Rodgers takes the field, which unlike my feelings going into the last game of last year, I think that is a mistake. I think a week off is a bad idea this time of year, especially when you are not sharp to begin with.
Now we start to focus on who makes the final roster. Next week’s game will cement a handful of spots but one has to believe the coaches have already settled on most positions. After all, how much stock can you put in scrubs against scrubs in the last game? The best of the worst?
All in all after the game they say you are supposed to look good in the Packers did indeed look good. We will find out for sure two weeks from Sunday.