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Gut Reactions: 2014 Preseason Game 2 vs the Rams

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Gut Reactions: 2014 Preseason Game 2 vs the Rams

Apologies for the late arrival of this week's Gut Reactions. I was driving back from vacation with the family while the game was being played. (I tell you what, being trapped in the car and forced to listen to the Rams' radio guys call the game on NFL Radio reminded me of how good we have it as Packers fans. Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren are just the best.)

I've gone back and watched the entire game and tried to avoid media accounts of the contest so as to give you my usual unvarnished and emotional reactions. Gut reactions, if you will...

  • Packers fans were given a good reminder tonight of how lucky they are to have Aaron Rodgers. That play where he's pump-faking and buying time and then finds Quarless deep down the right sideline? There are only a handful of humans in the history of this game that could make that play. We are blessed as Packers fans to have had two in a row with Favre and now Rodgers. 
  • Speaking of the offense, I don't know how much they can go to it, but the pace of that first drive? That's insane. Defenses will be hard pressed to keep up with that. 
  • I don't know how it will end up shaking out on opening night, but long-term? Richard Rodgers is your tight end. Notice how he played the opening drive where they didn't sub a single player? They used him in-line, in the backfield and split out. He knows it all. Knows all the checks. He's a damn fine blocker and can take on any and all tacklers with the ball in his hands. He's everything they want at the position, and he's only going to get better. 
  • The Rams could not block Mike Daniels. Holy smokes. 
  • Loved seeing Rams rookie tackle Greg Robinson have a couple "This ain't the SEC" moments care of Matthews on a spin move and Peppers on an edge rush. 
  • Derek Sherrod. Yikes. 
  • DuJuan Harris can not fumble that. He knows it. You know it. We all know it. I'm just glad coach didn't pull him and gave him a chance to go back out there and keep pounding the ball. 
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix showed some rookie yips playing deep and in space a few times. But he also showed more willingness to get down and dirty vs the run than either starting safety last year. 
  • Sam Barrington has a little pre-injury Desmond Bishop to him. 
  • Bad sequence for Dorsey where he dropped the perfect ball from Tolzien down the right sideline and then was late to his block on the next play which ruined the quick WR screen. 
  • I don't see how Jeff Janis doesn't make this team. We've all read about how he's been making one "Wow" catch a day at practice, but you saw today how active he is as a blocker when the ball doesn't come to him. 
  • JC Tretter wrapped up the starting center job tonight, not that there was much doubt. 
  • Datone Jones certainly tries. It's not a question of effort. But he looks incredibly pedestrian. 
  • BJ Raji, however, does not. He looks reborn. He's making it awfully tough for the Packers to keep him off the field when they go to their 2 man defensive line. 
  • I think Scott Tolzien is your backup quarterback. 
  • What did I tell you about Jayrone Elliott? 
  • This defense will be so much different/better with Casey Hayward in the mix. 
  • Look forward to going back and watching this game again. Feel like I missed a lot, but this is a deep and talented team at a lot of positions. 
  • That said, offensive line depth and inside linebacker are still worrisome. 
  • Go Pack Go. 
  • Like Like
  • 23 points

Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Wenis's picture

I agree those Rams announcers were really bad. I was at the NFL Play 60 Camp in Phoenix with my son and I damn near took an ice pick to both ear drums after listening to those two clowns.

packeraaron's picture

It's not so much that Elliott is "that good" or the tackle "that bad" - the talent is there. Hope we get to see a bit more of him next week.

Nick Perry's picture

I hope it's Elliott is THAT good, but I think that LT was really that bad. About as bad as Holt is at announcing!

Nick Perry's picture

Yup, Flynn scores when he's on the field. If MM likes Tolzien that much keep 3 QB's, but Flynn should be the backup IMO.

4thand1's picture

Dump the ball off to Janis and he burns everyone. Flynn gets the credit like QB's always do or don't. The Pack has a nice problem at back up QB so far. I think MM likes Tolzien a lot. I see 3.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Tolzien simply does not understand the timing of the offense the way that Rodgers and Flynn do. It shows in his play, he makes these strong throws to players who are not at the breaks in their routes. Tolzien's throws are not as effective as Flynn's little dump to Janis that allowed Janis the perfect seam to split the defense. Flynn can't really on his arm like Tolzien does, but he get's better results because he's a lot smarter with his throws.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I think Tolzien's throws are reactions to what he sees from his reads. They don't arrive with optimal timing and the WR has to make a play just to get the ball. Rodgers and Flynn are ready to make throws based on what is going to emerge from those reads. The ball is there for the receiver at the optimal moment who can then concentrate on making a play with their feet. Tolzien is either too green or not savvy enough to do that.

I know that people around think he is winning the back up QB competition, but I think Flynn is still way ahead. I hope Tolzien starts getting it because he has more upside.

Spiderpack's picture

Can't disagree with any of that. Thanks for the recap & excitement in a bottle!!

Jeff Janis is on this team.

Can't imagine that defensive lineman Pennel isn't either. Still a chance he could be "All-Oneida" as Chewy would say, but the dude is big & fat as fuck and he moves like a semi on the Interstate.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I'm actually surprised at how trim Pennel looks for 330 lbs.

Hopefully he's the kind of guy who was not cut out for College but once he just gets to play football without going to math class he excels. It looks like it so far.

RCPackerFan's picture

My gut reactions-
I can't wait to see this offense in high gear. Lacy and Rodgers together for a full season will be giving defenses nightmares.
Rodgers is the starting TE. I look forward to seeing how he gets used and develops as the season goes on.
I am really looking forward to seeing Mathews and Peppers together. I think they will form a hell of a duo rushing the QB this year. Also add in Daniels, Raji, Jones, Perry, Neal I really like our pass rushers.
I am really starting to like Barrington. The more I see him the more I like. He does remind me of Bishop in his first couple of years.
IMO Jeff Janis made the team today. He looked pretty good returning punts as well. Now the question is if they keep 6 WR' s who is the 6th. Dorsey had a bad drop, Harper has been inconsistent. Is White the top of the list?
Is Elliott the next UDFA OLB to make the roster? He definitely helped his chances tonight.

the real russ letlow's picture

looks to me like Flynn is still #2. Run D all day was awesome.

chugwater's picture

Must have replayed the throw and catch from Rodgers to Nelson in the end zone a dozen times. Sure it was negated by a penalty, but...geez. Don't know how you defend that. Reminiscent of TD catch vs Atlanta in 2010 regular season.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

1. Someone who is VERY good is going to get cut at OLB. How different is that from past years?

2. The Backup OTs were as good last week as they were bad yesterday. There are 2 weeks left in the preseason. Let's let them both play out before we freak out. I'm worried about depth at OT, but not panicking yet.

3. The Safety position is SO MUCH better than last year. Hyde, HHCD, Richardson and hell maybe even Banjo are better than their play from last year. Only one that isn't changed? Morgan Burnett. What does that tell you?

4. Yes, Barrington looks good. But Brad Jones played well yesterday too.

5. Sam Shields had a bad series in Q2. Yikes. Hope that goes away.

packsmack's picture

This is an incredibly exciting preseason. So many potential stars could emerge this season, and our brightest stars are healthy. Aaron has had some VERY good receiving units, but he's never had one this deep. AND he has a monster running game. This year is going to be a great one.

real some guy's picture

watched the game again last night and have some different opinions.

1) outside of his opening series, Derek Sherrod was actually pretty good. just looked like he wasn't ready for the speed of the game on the 1st series. he's got a ways to go but there is so much talent there. hopefully he can be signed for another 3 years on the cheap this offseason and contine to develop

2) Elliot had sacks against a terrible guy. i'm not gonna get too low on Sherrod and too high off Elliot on a few plays. again, until he does it against someone real i'm not going to get too excited. lots of stuff there but not sure he's a top 5 OLB because he beat a scrub 3 times late in a meaningless game

3) Datone Jones is very up and down. for some reason, other teams decide to double him and leave Mike Daniels singled up. no idea why that is but Datone can't win in a phone booth. he does look much better than last year but is still a tweener. i'm really not sure what he excels at.

4) Yes, Janis is on the team. some guys you can just tell they have it.

5) Agree that Hayward makes this a very different defense. he has RIchard Sherman smarts and instincts on the field.

6) the starting oline is a top 10 O line.

7) i LOVE that Rodgers is looking to check down more for so many reasons. keeps the defense on its heels, keeps the chains going and limits hits. there were so many times he held the ball last year when he easily had 6 or 7 yards by checking down.

8) Flynn is still the backup. i always considered him the backup but admit that Tolzien is showing impressive stuff. i thought he looked great but so did FLynn. that drop by Sheppard was a perfect ball. i do however now believe they keep 3 QB's. i don't love it but i can't see them getting rid of Tolzien

9) Pennel is very solid.

10) special teams coverage has been decent. the penalties on the returns need to stop. that will lose a game this year we should otherwise win.

11) the depth at OLB is insane

12) i like Barrington and Lattimore as 2's. no great 1's at ILB. man, if we had 1 guy who was a slightly above average starter this D would be very good.

13) Rodgers is the best player in the league. the ball comes off his fingers differently than anyone else. if that line stays healthy, he is going to destroy people. might get close to 50 Td's

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Don't try to argue with Stroh GoldFinger. He's a genius in his own mind and nothing you say can dissuade him.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Um... I choose not to vote. You both are being ridiculous IMO. I'll ask once again for just a pinch of civility.

packeraaron's picture

You guys are worse than an old women's sewing circle.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"i LOVE that Rodgers is looking to check down more for so many reasons. "


Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Sherrod had a fairly rough night, no doubt about it. It looked to me like he settled down after the first series he was in for, or so. The false start penalty was called on him, but the RT and RG also moved. Other authors ( I believe it was Jersy Al) have suggested that the center was late snapping the ball. BTW, Linsley also had some lapses.

Goldfinger is premature. As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on Sherrod, who needs to shake the rust off, if he can. I, too, suggested before training camp that Sherrod's ceiling is higher than Bakhtiari's, and that there was a chance that Sherrod might supplant Bakhtiari at LT. I have been rooting for Bakhtiari (because getting quality play at LT from a guy on his rookie contract really helps the CAP) and I am delighted to suggest that it looks like Bakhtiari has made a jump in his second year. I noticed a lot of successful running plays towards the left side of the line (of course Sitton is over there too, but Bakhtiari looked better run-blocking than last year). Go Pack!

Tarynfor12's picture

What is with all the 'Pro Bowl' talk and how many get one,two ....doesn't mean crap and unless it surpasses what was last years new formula,it won't even have money consideration in future contracts....Most still want it abolished.

Imma Fubared's picture

1. No concerns with the offense. They will get their points. I think Flynn is gone unless the coaches still lack confidence in Tolzien.
I'm one person who believes he should have been farther along than he is. I watched Teddy Bridgwater who has now played parts of two whole games and looked all pro. Knowledgeable of the offense and where his people are. Tolzien still looks shaky to me after what two seasons?

2. The Packer D will be the down fall of this team. If they fail to make the playoffs it will be the lack of pass rush and defensive back play.
To me these guys are not playing man and trying to cover but more trying to play in zone's so they can gang tackle once the ball is caught. Teams will have a field day against the Pack if they don't shore this up. PS we don't need a center fielder like Dix standing around. He looks lost at times.

zeke's picture

" I watched Teddy Bridgwater who has now played parts of two whole games and looked all pro."

That's because you're a moron. Enjoy your 4-12 season. Come back when you learn how to troll.

Nerd's picture

If this team doesn't win the SB, it will be due to injuries. Just like the last two years.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Dude. I am as sick of the Sam Hype as anyone else... but why does it matter again if Sherrod gives up a sack to a man who happens to be gay?

Stanislaw's picture

The Irish have the 'St Patrick's Day Parade', African-American's have 'Black History Month' and Italians have the 'Jersey Shore' not to mention a multitude of other oppressed minorities (at one time or another) have something to promote their culture, heritage and way of life. If not to show other Americans (in this case) but to even their own peeps that what and who they are/were is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. In the case of Gay Americans, being proud of who they are is really important due to the high rate of suicide in gay teenagers.

By saying, "I don't have a problem with gay people as long as they keep to themselves and don't announce it to the world," you're wrong; what you are actually saying is you DO have a problem with gay people and you are homophobic.

Which is fine I guess, I could care less if gay people are proud and racist people are proud of their racism - ain't no thing . . . although it would be nice if people weren't racist, especially when it doesn't effect them (usually homophobes are self-hating gay people - who are afraid to reveal that they are gay so they put on a show of hate . . . I mean why else would you care what someone else does in the privacy of their own bedroom).

I myself am not Gay, Irish, Italian or Black but wish I was a Gay Black man so that I could dance really well.

To get back to football, I think the one thing we can agree on is that pre-season really sucks since both the bad (is Sherrod really that slow at LT) and the good (is Janis or Pennel for real?) have to be taken with a huge grain of salt since we won't know the truth until the regular season starts and I'm sure we all want that to happen right away.

Jersey Al's picture

"Italians have the Jersey Shore?" WTF? Yep, We're not allowed on the beach here without a big gold chain and a box of cannolis.

packeraaron's picture

Gold. Stroh. You're both close to getting banned. Keep it civil between the two of you or you're done.

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