The Green Bay Packers finished up their preseason schedule Thursday night, beating the Kansas City Chiefs 24-3 in the 52nd annual Bishop's Charities game.
Before the Packers get into cuts Friday—a tough day for everyone involved—here's a quick look through the quarters of last night's film.
Rookie outside linebacker Nick Perry has done a strong job of setting the edge. I've been saying it all preseason, but he's such a huge upgrade in that area over what Erik Walden brought in the running game last season. Powerful, hard to get off his line.
On his tackle for a loss, undrafted safety Sean Richardson did a nice job of recognizing the play and reacting. Then, of course, he stuck the tackle in the backfield. Veteran play from a rising youngster.
The opening series from the first team offense was ugly. Cedric Benson's fumble looked to me like it came from running into the back of John Kuhn. Ball security has been an issue for him in his career. A false start and failed third-down conversion ended the drive.
Both Casey Hayward and Sam Shields struggled in man coverage on the Chiefs' second drive. Too much cushion for the receivers, who ran underneath the coverage at least three times on the drive.
Erik Walden continues to have a strong camp and preseason. He was in Brady Quinn's lap for most of the Chiefs third drive, including a pancake hit with Dezman Moses.
The pass rush forced Quinn's interception to Shields. The defensive line collapsed the pocket on Quinn and he rushed a bad throw and decision. Credit Shields for breaking underneath the route AND getting down in the end zone after the interception. He was concussed on a similar play last season vs. St. Louis.
What a night and day difference for Graham Harrell. His throw to Jermichael Finley was perfectly placed considering the situation. With the defender's back turned to the quarterback, all Harrell needed to do was put the throw in an area where Finley could get his hands on the football. Smart decision. Loved the throw to Tori Gurley one play later, even if it was wide open. That play—playaction and deep drop to a deep post on the strong side—is a staple of the Packers offense. Aaron Rodgers has completed that play a number of times for touchdowns over the last two or three years.
Harrell hits a slant to Gurley on second down. It was a throw that he has missed on several occasions this preseason, but he put it right on the numbers here. You knew the confidence was growing was Harrell unleashed another perfect throw down the far sidelines to Gurley, who should have caught it. Couldn't have thrown it any better.
On 3rd-and-14, Harrell scrambles around and finds Jarrett Boykin for a first down. Accuracy and creativity in the pocket makes the play, and Boykin never stopped working back for his quarterback. Nice improv play for a first down.
The screen pass to Alex Green for a touchdown was a difficult throw. Pressure was obviously coming—it is required of a well-run screen play—but Harrell needed to adjust his arm angle to get a tough throw out. If he missed at all, the Chiefs had a chance to pick it off. Green did the rest after the catch, showing just one way he can add something to the Packers offense this season. Clearly, the Packers think Green is a threat in the screen game.
Mike Neal looked as good Thursday night as he has since tearing up his shoulder early in the 2010 season. Quick, explosive, always in the backfield. It's too bad he's suspended for the first four games of 2012.
Another confident throw on a slant from Harrell to open the half. He then hit Brandon Bostick on back-to-back good throws.
The offensive line gives up a sack, but this was a unit that was lightyears better Thursday night. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to know this was the same five guys that got Harrell killed for most of the first three preseason games. On most drop backs last night, Harrell was given clean pocket. That was certainly a factor in Harrell's breakout.
Jerel Worthy makes a hustle play working back to a Chiefs' screen. Brandian Ross initially disrupted the play, but Worthy hustled back and cleaned up the back. His motor wasn't an issue here.
The preseason is full of crazy plays, but I've never seen anything like Jerron McMillian's conversion off the blocked punt he helped cause. Shawn Slocum will care much more about the missed blocking assignment.
Boykin just makes plays. He isn't fast, but he's quick and knows how to get open. Once the ball is in his hands, he's tough to bring down in the open field. He can play.
Don't know what to make of Terrell Manning. He made some plays Thursday night, but he still looks very unsure of himself in this defense. He looks out of position against the pass and a step slow on run plays far too often. There's talent here, but he needs a lot more time. Do the Packers have the roster spot to give it to him? He's one of the tougher bubble players.
The game is still moving too fast for B.J. Coleman. He needs a year on the practice squad before he'll be even close to challenging Harrell for the backup spot.
Moses probably should have had two or three sacks in this game. The guy just jumps off the film every time you watch him.
In time, McMillian has a chance to be a really good blitzing safety. He showed flashes of that ability Thursday night.
Anthony Levine made a few tackles near the line of scrimmage. Between him and M.D. Jennings, I think you'd have to say Levine was the better safety over the final two weeks or so of camp and preseason.