For a defense that's looking to improve from a year ago, it doesn't help that the Packers lost one of their best performers on Thursday night when linebacker Desmond Bishop went down with an injury. "Bishop told teammates that he was optimistic that his injury wasn't season-ending, but there was no word on exactly how severe the injury was," writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It came on the defense's second series when Bishop went to his knee to make a tackle with his right leg extended and had a player land on it with full force." After the game, head coach Mike McCarthy described it as a knee and possibly hamstring injury. It's possible that Bishop could test the new injured reserve rule this season that allows one player to come back from injury eight weeks into the regular season. Davon House, Diondre Borel and Shaky Smithson all were injured in last night as well, the extent of which is still unknown.
While Graham Harrell got off to a slow start last night in his first game as Aaron Rodgers' backup, he got better as the night went along. "With 3:03 to go in the first half, Harrell did play like a solid NFL backup," writes Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel. "He went 5 of 6 for 67 yards, finding Cobb for a touchdown to cap the drive. He took what was given to him, zipping 28- and 23-yard strikes to Cobb." Harrell looked particularly adept at running the Packers' two-minute offense, which some might compare to the up-tempo offense under Mike Leach at Texas Tech.
Tackle Herb Taylor had a very poor evening on Thursday, keeping Aaron Rodgers on the run and not doing much better even after the starters came out. "On the play Rodgers was drilled, Taylor said he misread (Melvin) Ingram," writes Tyler Dunne. "He thought the rookie was going with an inside move. So by the time, Taylor tried to swing outside, it was too late. On a deep, dropped pass by James Jones in the first quarter, Taylor also was called for holding. Other times, he set up too deep in pass protection, allowing the pocket to cave." The Packers could really use the services of Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod about now. Newhouse, at least, shouldn't be far away from returning.
Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the starters didn't fare very well either against the Chargers as they were plagued by turnovers and ineffectiveness. "The Packers opened their 2012 preseason with a shaky performance by their starters that included a near disaster when Rodgers took a hit that caused on interception and then got blocked to the ground on the return," writes Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette. "After that season-threatening play in a meaningless game, Rodgers stayed on the sidelines the rest of the night in what would be a 21-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium." The preseason is meaningless. The Packers could go 0-4 in exhibition play and then go on go undefeated, but regardless, Thursday's performance was still lackluster.
The poor play of safety M.D. Jennings is pointed out by Pete Dougherty. "Jennings made errors on two of San Diego’s touchdowns," writes Dougherty. "On one he bit hard on a fake by tight end Antonio Gates and gave up a 23-yard touchdown pass. On the other he was one of three players to miss a tackle on receiver Vincent Brown on a 27-yard touchdown pass." It's too early to give up on Jennings after one preseason game, but he needs to bounce back in a big way if the Packers defense is going to improve this season.
The debut of female referee Shannon Eastin is featured in an article by the Associated Press.
The lowdown on newly signed offensive lineman Reggie Wells comes from Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel.
Video analysis of last night's game is brought to you by Tyler Dunne.
A few thoughts on Thursday's game are shared at Fox Sports Wisconsin.
Get to know rookie offensive lineman Don Barclay at PackersNews.com.
Former Packer safety Matt Bowen shares some advice to rookies at the National Football Post.
Video: From WBAY in Green Bay, head coach Mike McCarthy talks about last night's loss...
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