Our weekly "Chips Report" will always include two blue chippers (outstanding, exceptional play), two red chippers (good, though maybe not great) and two cow chips (dud performances). From the Packers' 20-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans Saturday night in Nashville...
- Running back James Starks—With Eddie Lacy a healthy scratch, James Starks got the start on Saturday night and picked up where he left off last season when he averaged more than five yards per carry. On the first drive of the game, when the rain was at its heaviest, Starks put he offense on his back, carrying the football six times, covering 49 yards, an average of 8.2 yards per carry and capped off by a 20-yard touchdown run. Starks made good decisions and decisive cuts, helping himself perhaps even more than the offensive line helped him.
- Running back Rajion Neal—Neal made his best James Starks impression, leading the Packers to a touchdown to open the second half. He carried the football just five times but took them for 39 yards, an average of 7.8 yards per carry. Neal showed determination on his 12-yard touchdown run, putting his shoulder down and crossing the goal line. On special teams, he also cleanly fielded a fourth-quarter kickoff, which is more than can be said about the other Packers return specialists that had four muffs on the night.
- Quarterback Scott Tolzien—He's not a finished product yet, but Tolzien showed a newfound command of the Packers offense compared to last season, displayed a strong arm and looked better than the rest of the Packers quarterbacks on Saturday night. Tolzien completed eight of 12 passes for 124 yards, good for a passer rating of 100.7. Even when he made a mistake fumbling the football, at least Tolzien grabbed the defender to prevent him from recovering the football and pounced on it himself.
- Cornerback Jarrett Bush—Bush was around the football all evening long, making a team-high eight tackles, several of them short of first downs and did so playing less than a half of football. His highlight of the evening came on a sack of quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, blitzing from the secondary, for a loss of seven yards and helping to force a punt. As usual, Bush also took his customary spot on many of the Packers' first-string special teams units as well.
- Quarterback Chase Rettig—Rettig was thrust into a difficult situation, being asked to rally the team for a fourth-quarter touchdown. After all, Rettig has rarely gotten an opportunity to lead the offense in practice. But you also understood on Saturday why he's not getting many opportunities in practice. Rettig looked lost, unsure of playcall or his responsibility on a couple plays. He completed just one of three passes for 10 yards, was sacked twice and his fourth-down, fourth-quarter, last-ditch throw to Kevin Dorsey fell incomplete, broken up by the defense.
- Offensive lineman Aaron Adams—Adams was part of the reason the Packers' second-string offense had trouble moving the football down the field for most of the first half. Giving up pressure in the passing game and getting stonewalled on a running-play pull, Adams was the weak link of the Packers' offensive line.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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