Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Preseason Game 3

The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

The Game: While last week was a total snoozer, this week's "game" was quite the embarrassment for the NFL. In their never-ending quest to conquer the world (so they can make even more money), a game of football was played on an un-prepared and un-safe field in front of fewer people than were listing to the CHTV Watch party during the game. 

Preseason games: Remember when all preseason games were taken seriously - nah, most of you are probably not old enough. How about when preseason game 3 was a "dress rehearsal" for the real games - you probably remember that. In ten years, the question should be, "remember when they played meaningless games before the real games?" Because hopefully, there will be no more preseason games. I've watched a lot of football over the last 50 years, and I am just done with this charade that preseason has become. Every year, meaningful players see less and less action. It would have been unfathomable to think that a team's starting quarterback would not take a real snap before the first regular season game. And yet, this is where we are. As for how to evaluate players that are not sure bets to make the team, play a bunch of intra-squad scrimmages with them, get them on film and evaluate from there. But stop putting on TV and charging fans (and forcing season ticket holders to buy preseason tickets) for these charades you call games. The NFL can surely find a way to recapture any lost income, and I have no doubt they would. Let's just move in that direction and forget the current state of preseason ever happened, ok? And yes, I know this is kind of an over-reaction, but I don't care.

Wide Receivers: Wow, this is going to be interesting at roster cutdown time. Before ESB was injured, you could make a case for eight of the 11 receivers on the roster being deserving of a roster spot, and that's not including J'Mon Moore, who I just can't see keeping with his issues holding on to the ball. I'm going to try to rank them here. 1. Adams, 2. Allison, 3. Kumerow, 4. MVS, 5. Davis, 6.Shephard, 7. Lazard,  The Packers have kept seven WR before, but with the new head coach's heavier use of running backs and tight ends, it's difficult to imagine that scenario. And then there is ESB looming in the wings - what to do with him? My vote would be to put him on IR now. Was he going to be that big of a contributor this year? Are there no other players that can step in and fill his role adequately? My answer to both is NO. So let's put him on the shelf for a year -and let's see what Shepherd and/or Lazard can do. And note that I left J'Mon Moore out completely. I'd love to give him another year to figure it out, but the competition is too strong. I think it would be best if had a season-ending "injury" so he can take a year to work things out and give it another shot in 2020. Or if you're ready to give up on him, cut him along with the lesser of Shepherd or Lazard and Moore could provide "protection" for the other cut, as other teams would be more likely to claim Moore, the player with the most upside potential, and hope they can fix his catching issues. Then you can stash Shep or Laz on the PS.

Montravious Adams: I wrote about him after the first preseason game as he seemed to be living up to the "most improved" hype we heard in camp. I can now absolutely confirm that this is a different player. What's impressed me most is his movement skills. At 6'4", 305 lbs, I only thought of him as a big body run-stopper (which he has done), but the kid can move. He gets around players on inside rushes and heck, he even dropped into coverage on one play and definitely affected the completion attempt. I'm excited to see what he can become.

Rashan Gary: OK, first of all, you're all going to need some patience, here. He's currently an athletic freak learning how to play the game at a new position. And yes, we've seen this before with the Packers, so some of the frustration out there is understandable. From my perspective, I knew the Packers reached when they drafted Nick Perry - they were desperate for some pass rush and he was the only/best option when their turn came up. When the Packers elected Gary, I thought it was a reach, but it's the type of reach NFL teams make - banking on elite athleticism as the basis for developing a special player. Right now, Gary lacks what I would call "football awareness." He's obviously a guy who has gotten away with being athletically superior through his high school and college careers. Technique-wise, he is playing way too upright when he engages with a blocker. I saw him cut block to the ground three times, like a tree falling to the ground. When he is runs at a pass blocker one-on-one, he's letting them get into his body, which slows any momentum he has built up. True pass-rush moves and ability to bend around the edge are not there yet. That shouldn't be a big concern this early in his development, but it does scare me a bit that I had similar thoughts about Nick Perry. And before you all jump on me, I'm not saying he's Nick Perry. He can be a much better player than Perry, but don't expect it this season. Patience.

Randy Ramsey: Not to encourage the Gary haters, but Ramsey has caught my eye this preseason more than Gary. I focused in on him after he took over for Gary when Rashan went out with the injury. Whereas Gary currently lacks "awareness" as I mentioned above, Ramsey clearly has it. Of course, Ramsey played edge in a 3-4 system in college, so this is to be expected. Ramsey shows some "juice" in pass rush, even displayed a spin move, did a decent job holding the edge vs the run and looked VERY comfortable dropping back in pass coverage. His biggest issue is size - he's just too lean at 238 lbs and needs a year or two in the weight room. He noticeably wore down towards the end of the game. Might be a worthwhile edge rusher development project for the Practice Squad.

Tackling: I hate to be a Negative Nancy here, but it's hard to find anything positive to say in this department. I know these weren't the starters, but some of these players will end up in a rotation or find time as injury replacements. It has to get better. Has to.

Backup Offensive line: There wasn't much to see on offense except to just do some further evaluation on the players that will look to fill out the bottom of the OL group. Some quick comments on what I saw this game. 

Anthony Coyle: He was getting destroyed out there and was called for two penalties trying to compensate. The Fordham Ram does not look like he can handle the strength of NFL defensive tackles.

Cole Madison: Better than Coyle, but... despite all the reports of his "having a good camp," what I've see in games reminds me of what I saw on his college tape - which had me giving him an emphatic "meh." Decent player, but not much to be excited about.

Gerhard deBeer: Played much better than last week, but he's not making this team.

Adam Pankey: Was steady, especially good in Pass Pro from the LG spot. Played the most snaps (71)

Justin McCray: Definitely stood out over the other OL - his better-hioned technique and experience showed.  

Lucas Patrick: Similar to McCray. 

Yosh Nijman: I saved him for last because I was ultra-focused on him in this game. He was in at LT for 26 plays and looked the part in Pass Protection. Moves his feet well, mirrors nicely and uses his long arms to keep rushers out of his body. Might have a bit too much forward lean and needs work on run blocking, but Yosh is a very nice developmental project. It's unlikely there is room for him on the 53, and if cut, he could get targeted by another team, but the Packers could certainly sweeten the pot for him to come back. I really hope that happens.

 

 

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Comments (49)

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Bure9620's picture

August 25, 2019 at 06:55 am

Agree with all of this Jersey Al. I would add that we have very nice young depth on the d-line. Adams looks like the dominant athletic force that made him the #1 overall recruit in the nation, but I really think the Packers have a find in Kingsley Keke. He is very athletic, heavy violent hands. He was dominant against second stringers. He can be a very good one gap penetrator, he gives a nice interior rush, he really fits Pettine's scheme well. I really don't think Daniels will be missed as much as many think, it is clear why Gute was so comfortable moving on. Also, Elgton Jenkins looks like a grown man, he can really anchor. He can move, he can run block. I would have no trepidation with him playing right away, he's ready now. Those might be the 2 best value picks of the draft.

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Savage57's picture

August 25, 2019 at 06:52 am

I'm not going to label Gary anything at this point, because there's no point, and it's likely wrong.

But in terms of what I'd have liked to have seen happen was the Packers use that 12 pick a little more judiciously (TE, RT) and found their edge help in the 3rd round with the pick they used on Sternberger when Winovich was sitting there, and selected by the Pats two picks later.

I know there's a fan book out there how Winovich depended upon Gary to keep him clean to make plays, but Winovich is one of those high motor guys in the mold of Kevin Greene, Luke Keuchly and yes, CMIII who's going to make some noise in the league.

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Coldworld's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:08 am

I think we will see Gary used less at OLB than in the middle during the season. Pettine and coming seem to have confirmed that he won’t be doing a lot of what he has been in preseason, but that this was designed to get him experience in a different role.

Nijman is a keeper. I hope we keep him because he could be good eventually. Madison is PS material. He could use another year and he is not viable at center like Patrick. If McCray makes it, it will be because he is decent everywhere. If he doesn’t it’s because Light/Turner/Patrick provide enough cover in the team’s opinion with Jenkins. Personally I would keep Nijman for the future and rely on those 4

I am interested in your take on Ramsey. I really haven’t noticed his potential. To me he seems like just another fringe OLB. I will watch him in game 4, but that was a surprise to me.

Sheldon is a player who I like as an outsider looking in who doesn’t get much attention. Seems to offer a little in coverage. Perhaps he benefits from the injuries to Burks and Bolton.

I do not like our 3rd RB spot. D Williams is too raw. Carson isn’t the answer from what I have seen.

Absent a trade, Lazard is the unlucky receiver. He had some significant errors on Thursday and is too similar to other receivers and Tonyan gives us more in the red zone. Shepherd gives us a true slot and a second viable returner who can read the field and make plays in broken conditions and adapt to bad throws.

Moore to the PS despite his talent. He may prove to be a starter but he isn’t mentally there and the group is too strong to keep him on the 53 this year. I agree, EQ to IR might be the best for him.

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Branden Burke's picture

August 25, 2019 at 11:59 am

TE at the top of the draft is a bad investment. Just like RB

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 25, 2019 at 01:56 pm

Hock was gone. Which RT was a # one value? Dillard is a LT and they felt safe with Bulaga and Turner.

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sam1's picture

August 25, 2019 at 06:57 am

I hope Gary doesn't turn out to be another Harrell!

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4thand1's picture

August 25, 2019 at 10:30 am

You get down votes for mentioning that name.

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sam1's picture

August 25, 2019 at 04:08 pm

Thumbs down a wish or hope? Why?

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buddrow53's picture

August 25, 2019 at 07:09 am

Thanks Al for your views, these next few weeks are going to be interesting.

Scouting dept must be going nuts right now. Just a slew of talent getting released.

In Gute I trust.

Go Pack Go

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jeepingmakooi's picture

August 25, 2019 at 07:33 am

Gary hasn't even taken a snap in a real game yet guys... Settle down.
Oline this year looks as good as I have seen in some years.
Wr is gonna be interesting.

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nostradanus's picture

August 25, 2019 at 07:41 am

Good stuff Al

I was disappointed when they drafted Gary and I still am, but I hope I’m wrong 2-3 years from now

Ramsay does have something worth developing as well as Yosh, he’s a big kid with skills.

I’m hoping they can slip Madison and Shepherd to the practice squad as well as Wilkins the QB who I believe can be better in time than both of our current back up QB’s

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mrtundra's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:09 am

I was also disappointed the Packers drafted Gary. I thought he was way overrated. I hope I am wrong about him. Playing with the 1st stringers should help his pass rush, considerably.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 25, 2019 at 07:43 am

Pretty much on target except for the evaluation of Nijman. He looks slow and awkward to me. But then, so do many tackles. Because he is big does not mean he is good. Still, he may have potential down the road.

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flackcatcher's picture

August 25, 2019 at 07:45 am

Nice summary Al. My only quibble is the pecking order on WR, and that is more a personal preference than anything else. I suspect WR will come down to how many DB the Packers keep in Petinne's updated defense. Tough calls in both groups.

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Handsback's picture

August 25, 2019 at 08:19 am

Gary was drafted after Green Bay signed two OLBs that are really, really good. He wasn't expected to be a starter right away. They want him to eventually be a bookend to ZaDarious Smith with the size, quickness and power. Hard to do that right away in the pros. During the Raiders game I saw him drop back into coverage, one of the few plays I saw on NFL Network, and absolutely cover the RB coming out of the backfield. Now, what everyone wants to see is him getting to the QB, but it told me he has some quickness and speed to cover like an OLB. I have no reason to believe he can't, just needs some more coaching and work to get in how to play in the pros. I really believe he will get there, just don't know when that light goes on and he's a every down threat.

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 25, 2019 at 02:00 pm

I expect more 4-3 looks from Pettine with Gary inline with Za, Clark and Montravious. The other stuff will be loaded in later.

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Nick Perry's picture

August 26, 2019 at 05:52 am

I do too. I also expect them to use Gary on a lot of stunts to take advantage of that speed he has. Pettine even said they've thrown everything at the kid so I'd imagine his head is swimming as would any rookies head. Once the season starts and Gary starts getting some reps I think he'll do just fine. Patience folks, patience.

I CAN'T wait to see Gary, Z Smith, P Smith, and Clark line up to rush the passer the first time.

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stockholder's picture

August 25, 2019 at 08:26 am

While Shepard and Lazard are earning more opportunities. Their not the answers. I wish I could believe in Gute. I like the Smiths ,Amos, Turner. But this team still needs game changers. Gute should be using every dirty card in the book. Gary should have been the fighter to replace CM3. Making excuses for Time; gets you insubordination and BUSTs. While Adams needed it. Arron Rodgers window is closing. As well as others. Burying things for now doesn't help. Gute must raise his bar. Being content or patient won't help anybody breath easier. This team will crumble if the injury bug hits. Gute must not look at his bank book. Figuring this team has enough, is not good enough.

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Coldworld's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:10 am

Don’t think I agree with anything that you just said.

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JerseyAl's picture

August 25, 2019 at 04:19 pm

haha. You took the words right out of my mouth. His criticisms of Gute are just completely off-base.

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mrtundra's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:15 am

I see either Shepherd or Lazard making the team. If either, or both, are placed on the practice squad, they will get snapped up by another team. I see Moore not making the cut and with ESB going to IR, maybe both Shepherd and Lazard make the 53.

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stockholder's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:30 am

I don't see them getting snapped up. J. Jones they couldn't trade. AND Wrs are easy to get. I'm not going to let Moore go yet. He's not hurt. It's mental. Like Adams. Shepard is not as fast as you think. He's quick off the line and in the slot. My question is can he hold up?

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Johnblood27's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:48 am

He is not a RB.

Few touches, he will be fine.

He gets open, he catches the ball, he has great field awareness.

Shep will be better and more durable than Cobb proved to be.

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dobber's picture

August 25, 2019 at 10:33 am

"Making excuses for Time; gets you insubordination and BUSTs. "

"I'm not going to let Moore go yet. He's not hurt. It's mental. "

Umm...OK.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

August 25, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Adams caught everything in college, so it was mental for him. Moore didn't, he had problems with drops in college. So I don't think it's mental for him, i think it's talent and he doesn't have it. I don't see any reason to keep him around

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Coldworld's picture

August 25, 2019 at 03:48 pm

I’ve seen him make catches. He gets the hard ones when his instincts take over and flubs easy ones. It is very much mental with him in my opinion.

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 25, 2019 at 02:06 pm

Didn't Gutekunst bring in Za and Preston Smith to be the "fighters" to replace CMII and Perry? BG's moves reminded me of how Wolf used to operate. There will be more trades coming up next week.

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egbertsouse's picture

August 25, 2019 at 08:51 am

I’m not a draftnik and have nothing against Gary. I’m just wondering why the Packers burned the 12th pick on a “project.” I also have to question the wisdom of continuing the Uncle Ted tradition of drafting a player that they have to shoehorn into a position that he has not played. If you need an edge guy, why not draft an edge guy?

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Coldworld's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:11 am

Think of it as an attempt to find a game changer and as part of rebuilding a pipeline of players still improving. Time will tell.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 26, 2019 at 10:21 pm

Exactly.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 25, 2019 at 09:50 am

This is he same 'ol "I know more than the guys that had him before me" syndrome.

GM's and coaches thinking they see something that others have missed for 10 years of a kid playing organized football.

Talk about a polluted mindset...

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

August 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm

I have felt strongly about this for a very long time. I think it fit into Ted's ego, the whole I see something no one else does. I think it's why he signed Charles Woodson, because alot of teams had written him off and he got to be the genius. And I think it's the number one thing that put this team in the hole it is in. Ted's ego, his guys, a ridiculously low number of players from other teams.

Datone Jones, Mike Neal, Damarius Randall, Josh Jones, Nick Perry, Quinton Rollins. 6 premium 1st and 2nd rounds picks that were conversion projects that failed. Busts happen easily enough when you draft guys where they played, it's got to be harder to evaluate a guy when you haven't seen him play the position.

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 25, 2019 at 02:08 pm

Like Laquon Treadwell?

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Coldworld's picture

August 25, 2019 at 03:50 pm

With Gary? Except what they asked him to do is a matter of public record from coaches and co players. And what we are asking him to do in preseason is not what the team states he will be doing this season.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 25, 2019 at 11:17 am

This is pretty much my take. They drafted a project at 12 which is a poor move. Gary has shown on the field that he is a HUGE project who knows almost nothing about playing the edge. I hope he pans out but there where a lot of players at 12 who where lower risk. AR is 35, I have no patience for project picks at the top of round 1.

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Qoojo's picture

August 25, 2019 at 02:08 pm

Well, the team has to continue after #12 is done, which could be his next game. You just never know. The backup QB situation is a bit of a crime in my opinion. Old QB that injured the past 2 years with no competent or average backup.

Draft picks are about balancing projected talent ceiling and talent floor with projected current ability in the system, along with team needs. Also, literally every draft pick is a project. DL and WR generally take 3 years. QB takes a long time. CB and OL, it's possible to be productive in their rookie years. Plus, the system they played in college is big deal too. There are very few guarantees in the draft, and all of them are long gone by #12.

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4thand1's picture

August 25, 2019 at 10:32 am

It could have been worse, Gary could have been drafted in the 2nd round.

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PeteK's picture

August 25, 2019 at 10:45 am

Hahaha

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 25, 2019 at 11:18 am

That would indeed seal his fate.

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PeteK's picture

August 25, 2019 at 10:44 am

This has been the strangest preseason. Seems like Canada and NFL didn't cooperate . I have seen Pop Warner games better organized. Going against air and your own team is not enough. I'm very surprised that the starters have not played at least a few series. I don't recall that ever happening and I have been watching preseason for a very long time, hint college all stars. Our backup O lineman and tackling on the whole has been terrible , some of these players will most likely be on the field during the season on our special team units. On a different note. Maybe it's just me ,but the thousands of fans that booed Luck are a sad embarrassment . He got beat up on a weekly basis when they had a poor O line and were willed into the playoffs by his tough play. They repay him with boos.

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Coldworld's picture

August 25, 2019 at 03:54 pm

I agree with your comments on Luck. He made a lot money but his team did not protect him. Karma for the team. Sad for the NFL and another piece of luck for the Patriots. The fans are boing the wrong target.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

August 25, 2019 at 05:10 pm

I agree that they are booing the wrong target, but the whole situation could not have been handled worse. Schefter should have waited until after the game to break it. The team should have been honest. Luck should have timed it better. Colts fans had a lkt of reasons to be excited this year, can't blame them for getting upset finding out mid game.

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Lare's picture

August 25, 2019 at 11:07 am

I agree on preseason games Al. They used to mean something but teams have learned that it doesn't pay anymore to get key players injured in a meaningless game.

Personally, I blame the fans. As long as people are ready & willing to pay for the tickets and watch worthless games on TV the NFL and owners will keep putting them out there. When fans stop watching & attending them, they'll stop.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

August 25, 2019 at 01:11 pm

If the NFL didn't force season ticket holders to buy preseason tickets as part of the package, things would look different. The only positive is that people who can't afford a regular season game ticket can afford to go and see a game at Lambeau. Preseason tickets are about 5 dollars on the secondary market

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Coldworld's picture

August 25, 2019 at 03:55 pm

Swap it for a developmental league.

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 25, 2019 at 02:10 pm

It will always boil down to the Fans.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

August 25, 2019 at 05:06 pm

I'm pretty sure that 75 percent of preseason tickets wouldn't be sold if the teams didn't force season ticket holders to buy them.

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Qoojo's picture

August 25, 2019 at 01:03 pm

I think it's clear that the backup OL talent is clearly better this year. Past couple of years, it was a jailbreak for most of the second half. Depth seems clearly improved.

I am not as high on the WRs as everyone else. It's a glamour position that always gets overvalued by the fans every year. I will be happy with whichever combo Gute goes with. I am pulling for Sheppard though for the good story.

I did not pay much attention to the 3rd game at times. Once you get past the 1st quarter, it was played mostly by guys that will not be in the NFL in one week. So like most 4th preseason games, there was only a handful of positions open. I mainly watch to see how the packers depth and decisions on players hold up against the other team. In the past, a few times those +3rd stringers did not compare favorably, and called into question the depth behind starters. Which is not the case this year.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 26, 2019 at 10:05 pm

Bravo Al. Excellent work. Perfectly captured my outlook and frustrations. The only difference in view might be Adams and hopefully Madison. I remember during the draft, watching Adams college highlights,thinking wow that the guy is really fast for a big dude and agile. Having seen little by him afterwards only made wonder further if people like that, with that much talent just didn't want it enough or have the heart.

Looking forward to him having a great year.

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