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Five Up, Five Down from Packers vs. Steelers

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Five Up, Five Down from Packers vs. Steelers

The Green Bay Packers fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second week of the 2015 NFL preseason on Sunday. Here are five players trending up and five others trending down as Green Bay prepares to play the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday: 



CB Ladarius Gunter: You can officially use a Sharpie to write Gunter’s name in on the 53-man roster. He shined for a second straight week, defending three passes (including on back-to-back plays in the third quarter) and allowing just a single catch for six yards. Opposing quarterbacks now have a 10.8 passer rating when targeting Gunter (10 attempts) this preseason. He’s no longer competing for a roster spot; he’s fighting for playing time. 


FB Aaron Ripkowski: The Packers sixth-round pick needed just two exhibition games to establish himself as one of the club’s core special teamers. His four special teams tackles (two at NE, two more at PIT Sunday) are the most in the NFL this preseason. On a team in desperate need of better special teams, Ripkowski is all but a lock to make the 53-man roster. Keeping John Kuhn for another year will give the rookie a redshirt year on offense before taking over all the duties of the position by 2016. 


DL Christian Ringo: You want to see young players stack good performances. Ringo did that Sunday. After impressing during practice on Thursday, Ringo turned in a strong effort during the second half against the Steelers. He’s still a work in progress, but there’s some power to his game, especially against the run. Maybe the lightbulb is starting to come on for the sixth-round pick, even if he’s probably a year away from actually contributing. 


CB Damarious Randall: The Packers got a scare Sunday when Randall needed a cart back to the locker room for cramps and dehydration. He returned to play 33 snaps in his NFL debut. His highlight came on the first play of the second half, when he rose high to intercept a pass in front of 6’4 receiver Martavis Bryant. The ball was under-thrown (thanks to interior pressure from Mike Pennel), but Randall’s ball skills were obvious. It’s hard not to be excited about the young players in the Packers secondary. 


OLB Jayrone Elliott: Green Bay’s preseason superstar struck again in Pittsburgh. Early in the second half, Elliott used an inside spin move on the left tackle to hit quarterback Bruce Gradkowski and force an incompletion on third down. And of his three tackles against the run, two came at or behind the line of scrimmage. On one series, Elliott knifed in to drop the running back for a two-yard loss on first down, and then tackled the speedy Dri Archer after a short gain to set up third-and-long. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think there’s a huge gap in the talent level of Elliott and Mike Neal. 


Honorable mentions: Lane Taylor replaced Josh Sitton early on and got some run with the starters. He had another good day. I’d say he makes the 53…Scott Tolzien missed Jeff Janis for a big gain down the right sideline, but he was efficient for a second straight week. Of his six incompletions, three were drops and two were batted balls at the line…Carl Bradford finally showed some life. The final preseason game may make or break his future in Green Bay. 



OT Don Barclay: The Packers thought they had a backup at tackle in Barclay, but two preseason games—with cameos on both the left and right side—have proven he’s not long for the edge. Despite playing left tackle in college, Barclay was again overmatched—giving up two ugly sacks (including one for a safety on Aaron Rodgers) and drawing a holding penalty. He struggled with his lateral agility before he ripped up his knee last August; now, Barclay can’t handle any kind of speed or countermove. He’s still oversetting and lunging. Barclay will probably have to make the 53-man roster as a guard. 


RB Alonzo Harris: A week after busting a 25-yard score in New England, Harris dropped two passes and received just one carry against the Steelers. One of his drops came on a perfectly executed screen that likely would have gained 20 or more yards. Sunday was a definite setback for Harris, who got the first run behind Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Raijon Neal might reassume those duties this week. 


P Tim Masthay: It’s a good thing Masthay can hold a perfect ball for Mason Crosby, because he’s still struggling to consistently hit his punts. His first kick traveled just 36 yards and gave the Steelers the football at midfield. He also had kicks of 29 and 39 yards late in the game. The ball just doesn’t come off his foot consistently, especially when he attempts to directional punt to the right side. Great holder, average punter. 


WR Ty Montgomery: Cowboy Ty played 36 snaps, second most on the offense behind Don Barclay. Of those 36, 27 were passing plays, but Montgomery still failed to see a single target. The rookie has made play-after-play in camp, but getting open has been a more difficult task in a live-game setting. It was also notable that Jeff Janis entered the game once Jordy Nelson exited. Maybe best to temper expectations early on, even with Nelson out. 


QB Brett Hundley: The Packers’ young project quarterback looked like a young project quarterback Sunday. It wasn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows for the fifth-round pick, who impressed over a decent sample size during his debut in New England. Hundley took two sacks and was penalized for intentional grounding behind a makeshift line, while completing 3-of-4 passes for 19 yards. All four of his drives ended in three-and-outs. In fact, Hundley’s four drives netted exactly one yard of total offense. Ouch. Needless to say, he’s no competition for Scott Tolzien right now. His opportunity to be the backup will come in 2016. 


Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (46) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Spud Rapids's picture

I think Janis was down as well. He had two throws that were in his catch radius that he didn't make. One was a little behind him but it bounced off his pads. The second he failed to get both feet down.

These are two examples of routine plays for Jordy so I think it is important to take Zach's advise and temper expectations on both Janis and Montgomery.

Duke Divine's picture

Those are plays that need to be made especially since Jordy is now out. I really hope Abby can get healthy and contribute because I see him making those plays. injury proneness is his problem. Montgomery has showed nothing but tentative east and west crap in the return game. He is confident in his own ability as his quotes would indicate but so far I have seen nothing on tape for me to adopt that confidence. 5th-7th rounder for Greg Jennings is how I'm reacting. Maybe G-men will cut Jimmy Jones. Boykin is a turd that Carolina is forced to keep due to injuries and thats OK with me. If Montgomery, Janis and even Adams can display a little consistency and find some chemistry I'd feel a whole lot better but for right now, thank goodness for the road graters and the #27 express....

Dan Stodola's picture

You might as well write off Abbrederis. For this year the Packers will have no interest in putting him on the field. They just won't risk it w all the emphasis on head injuries. His best chance might be IR and possibly resigned to the PS late in the year if they do an injury settlement.

Personally i would completely give up on him. He's damaged goods due to his concussion history.

Spud Rapids's picture

Let's see if Abbrederis makes it on the field Saturday. He'll need both games to earn a roster spot. He also has to shine when he's out there.

Dan Stodola's picture

I'll be very surprised if the Packers took the chance and played him again this year. His concussion history just can't be ignored and if he does get on the field one small hit might mean yet another concussion. He's just too fragile to be worth the risk.

We'll see if the Packers even take the chance, but I wouldn't.

croatpackfan's picture

Thank God you are not the one who make decisions for the Packers... By your comments, it is obvious that you do not wish good to Packers.

Dan Stodola's picture

Whatever. Just being honest about the situation. I care about the Packers AND Abbrederis. I dont want to see him end up w dementia. Do you?

RCPackerFan's picture

I agree with everything here.

Although I would say one thing about Montgomery's targets. I have seen him get open, and not get the ball. My assumption with that is he isn't the first read on that play, and the QB's have mostly stuck with their first read in the first 2 games.
I wouldn't read to much into his targets, and compare that with how well he is doing.

Spud Rapids's picture

Saturday if Rodger's plays any amount of time I'm gonna be watching Montgomery cause if he's open Rodgers will find him.

RCPackerFan's picture

Me too.

croatpackfan's picture

Why Mike Pennel is not at least honorably mentioned. He was marvelous against Steelers. He is fighting for starter job, at least first 2 to 3 games...

Zach Kruse's picture

I featured him last week in this. Didn't want to go overkill

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I get that, Zach. OTOH, I had to miss the 2nd half and I rely on you and the commenters to tell me who played well. I at least would prefer if you would just share your honest thoughts and let the chips fly.

Evan's picture

I assume it's the camera angle, but Monty looks every bit as big as James Harrison.

Graham Crackah's picture's partly because Harrison doesn't have his pads on and Monty does. Plus camera angle.

Evan's picture

Ha! Didn't even notice Harrison didn't have his pads on. That definitely skews it a bit.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Actually, a number of the beat writers wrote after first seeing Montgomery about how big he looks. So it is not just you, Evan.

tm_inter's picture

In the absence of Jordy Nelson, how about increasing the role of Richard Rodgers as receiver. After all, he's been said to have the surest hands among Packer receivers; he's 6'4; and he used to play receiver exclusively for one year in college. His weakness might be his speed though.

Duke Divine's picture

Special Teams reminds me of "Finkle is Einhorn, Einhorn is Finkle" regarding Zook and Slocum. What a freakin mess!

jh9's picture

One of the players who I consider down after the Steelers game is Nate Palmer.

Just before the first preseason game, Palmer was supposed to be tearing it up at ILB in training camp. We now have two preseason games to evaluate and he has done virtually nothing in either game.

The ILB position next to Barrington, excluding Matthews, is still wide open. Ryan showed something against N.E. , but hopefully someone steps up giving us confidence the position will be in good hands in these next two games.

Dan Stodola's picture

Hard to make tackles w a club on your hand. The coaches will evaluate him based on if he was in position to make a play, not whether or not he actually made it. Just hope he gets cleared to play/practice w/o it soon.

jh9's picture

It's harder, true... However, if he can't tackle or defend a pass why is he playing? Obviously, the Packers coaches think he should be able to make plays even with a club on his hand.

Dan Stodola's picture

Because its preseason and they can learn a lot, even if he isn't able to actually make the play. Is he in position to make it? Is he assignment sure? Is he playing his responsibilities and gaps?

Coaches can learn a lot w/o seeing him actually make the tackle. Now if its the regular season and he can't tackle they're not likely to play him, but its preseason and they'll know if he's doing what he's supposed to and where he's supposed to be on time.

Allan Murphy's picture

With that club on his hand how's that saposta work ?

Icebowler's picture

I sure hope Janus takes the bull by the horns and steps up at the outside WR position. If he can't, we will have no one taller that 6'00" opposite Adams. I'm sure Cobb can do it, with White or Montgomery in the slot, but the 6'3" Janus would be ideal and allow Cobb to play his natural slop position.

Icebowler's picture

I, of course, meant slot. Damn typos.

RCPackerFan's picture

I want to see Janis step it up. At the very least be our 4th WR who can be brought in, in certain packages.

But one guy to watch is Rodgers. I think he is poised for a big year 2.

RCPackerFan's picture

I'm not to concerned about the height as much. For a long time we had Driver and Jennings as our top 2 guys.

I think Montgomery and Cobb both will be fine on the outside.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

This revives an old argument about whether Cobb can play at a high level outside. Personally, while he might be able to do so I think he is a much lesser player outside.

RCPackerFan's picture

He is great inside. Really is. But he can be really good outside.

I think this year he is going to have to play everywhere.

Dan Stodola's picture

Keep him where he's exceptional, not merely good. That's my thinking.

RCPackerFan's picture

I get that take. I agree with it. But at the same time he is going to have to move around a bit so defenses can't solely focus on him in one spot.

He is also at his best when he is moved around. Outside, Inside, RB... I want to see him mostly used in the slot, but also moved around.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I agree with majority of the article. I do find that last sentence on J. Elliott quite interesting. Not agreeing or disagreeing.

How about HHCD? I haven't watched the Steelers game yet, but I keep hearing/seeing the same thing - he's getting there but missing tackles.

Our MLBs are ass.

croatpackfan's picture

HHCD had one bad miss at the line of the scrimage, but with his presents he moved Steelers RB to west run and Randall made tackle for 1 yard gain!

Otherwise, he was OK to good and made some tackles in passing game on the open field...

ben's picture

Dix does have very good "presents"

! ? (really, an exclamation mark?, dix missing that tackle so bad he looked silly makes you that excited? in a good way? o..k.)

He may be one of the top 10 presenters in the league!! (reminds me of Hawks greatest ability of availability)

"tackles in the passing game"? all that means is that the opponent already successfully completed their play. The objective is to defend the pass not just to tackle the guy after.

Dix was in on some tackles. He made some OK plays. But OK plays don't win Superbowls and he doesn't have the upside.

I could show you 4 bad plays, 2 costly, Dix's last 4 quarters of football. What good plays are you referring to?

ray nichkee's picture

You resort to making fun of a guy using a second language? The only language you know is jibberish. The pack will prove you wrong soon, ballsack ben.

aj's picture

Really man, you knew he meant presence. No need to bash the guy over a simple error.

Jersey Al's picture

" To be perfectly honest, I don’t think there’s a huge gap in the talent level of Elliott and Mike Neal."

Or Nick Perry. Neal and Perry are more assignment sure at this point, but I'd take my chances with Elliot.

Allan Murphy's picture

Yes Al Elliott is getting better every game Neal i didn't see much from him Nick is starting to play a little better i though .

croatpackfan's picture

Mike Neal pressured Ben to allow Julius to make that sack. Unfortunately, Steelers punt was "catch" by steelers at 1 yard line and Safety was the result of that!

RCPackerFan's picture

Honestly I would love to see Elliot become a Nickel/Dime pass rusher. Maybe use Neal/Perry on run downs, then bring in Elliot to rush the QB.

Dan Stodola's picture

Well if he's a better pass rusher the Packers will have him out there. All he has to do is show he's a better pass rusher.

RCPackerFan's picture

Exactly right.

I think he has shown he can do that. I just would like to see him do it against the starters versus the backups. Once he does that he will be out there. But when are they going to allow him to do it?

egbertsouse's picture

I love Elliot. Sure, he gets out of position sometimes (so does CMIII-btw) but he makes big plays.

I expect we'll see him this year because Neal and Perry will miss most of the games with injuries, if history is any indication.

NewNikeShoes's picture

Holy hell, do people think this actually works?

ray nichkee's picture

I think its click bait from some ass in a foriegn country. Im sure many people have done as i have on a smartphone and accidentally clicked while scrolling down the screen. I think my phone now has the clap, aids, and avian flu.

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