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Packers 51 Steelers 34: Game Balls & Lame Calls

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Packers 51 Steelers 34: Game Balls & Lame Calls

The Green Bay Packers gave the home fans a light show to the tune of 51 points on the scoreboard.  They logged another preseason win, this one against the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 51-34.

Many preferred starters including Aaron Rodgers started the game and were in for a few series before turning in their helmets for baseball caps.  From there, we got another good look at the young players who will round out the roster.

Who helped their cause and who took steps back?  Let's take a look.

Game Balls

Tramon Williams

First play of the game, first game ball.  For those of you who are new, welcome to what Tramon Williams can always be: ready.  

Williams jumped the first pass of the game and promptly took it to the end zone for a defensive score.  Not bad for an "old" guy who was signed to provide experience and depth to a very young cornerback room.

I said last week on Twitter that Williams is going to make a game-winning play this season.  He showed why in this game.

Josh Jackson

Let's stick with the cornerbacks, shall we?  Jackson looked the part of a veteran, baiting a bad throw that he also picked off and took to the house.  These are the types of plays that made Jackson a coveted asset in this year's draft.

If he keeps making plays like that, the Packers may have scored a loot in the second-round pick.

Reggie Gilbert

Gilbert earned himself a roster spot with this game's performance alone, if he hasn't already.  Gilbert had two-and-a-half sacks on the night and was everywhere the ball was while he was on the field.  

The pass rush still has many question marks with the current depth and Nick Perry yet to put on pads.  Gilbert adds a nice element of security and could be a real gem if that play carries into the regular season.

DeShone Kizer

It was against the Steelers' third and fourth string defense but Kizer put up some good numbers.  Seven completions in 12 attempts for nearly 150 yards and two touchdowns.  

Kizer showed some nice poise in the pocket while under pressure and threw a beautiful fade for a score.  It was the type of throw that showed some maturity for the second-year quarterback.

The Packers staff will likely take the remaining two games to decide who will back up Rodgers.  Kizer likely pushed himself squarely into that spot for now with this showing.

Lame Calls

Demetri Goodson

Goodson gave up a touchdown in the back of the end zone that he was actually in position to break up or even intercept.  He may have made a few other plays but giving up a score like that will get your team beat.  

Goodson has long been a liability at cornerback and his spot on this depth chart still puzzles me, frankly.  It may be time to cut bait with the former basketballer.

Safety Play

Starters Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Kentrell Brice left much to be desired with the little time they had on the field in this game.  The two presumed starters this season, they both left more questions about the safety position than they provided answers.

It's still preseason and it's not a foregone conclusion that either Clinton-Dix or Brice can't recover and have a solid season but it's always nice to see hints of that sooner than later.

Streaking at Lambeau Field

Another preseason game, another streaker.  It's an age-old tradition at sporting events but it's also so played out.  Major lame call.


Others to mention

  • Ty Montgomery with a fumble on his first touch.  Not great.  Never great
  • Kyle Murphy wasn't put in a great position to succeed at left tackle.  He's a right tackle as his ceiling and guard depth otherwise.  Fortunately, it appears that the injury to Justin McCray wasn't serious
  • The young cornerbacks didn't put out much good tape in this game.  We already covered Goodson.  Josh Hawkins got beat deep and Donatello Brown was lethargic.  Davon House should be on the final roster after what we saw in this game
  • Oren Burks flies around and has a magnet for the football.  He's becoming more likable with every passing game
  • Jake Kumerow showed some nice savvy with his long touchdown catch-and-run.  With Trevor Davis's injury and the rookies not blowing anyone away yet, Kumerow is starting to put a lock on his roster spot
  • Last but not least, how nice was that Rodgers-to-Jimmy Graham touchdown connection on the first possession?  Hopefully the first of many times we see that this season



Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (47) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Klincker's picture

Look, its great that Tramon got the INT, but lets consider who was QBing...a rookie, and his first pass of the game.
Show me that he can do it in a regular season game, then we've got something.

MITM's picture

Rookies dont start regular season games? .....and I guess you werent a Packers fan when Tramon Williams was in his first tour with us? I sure hope he's able to earn your respect this season..

Klincker's picture

Uh, yeah, I was a Packers fan.
But a veteran picking off a rookie, first pass of the game, that doesnt impress me a whole lot.
If the pick was off Ben, then you got something, but Ben may not have thrown that ball knowing who was out there.

MITM's picture

Maybe if it was twice as long, off Matt Ryan, in a playoff game in Atlanta you would have been more impressed? I see your point now i apologize

Coldworld's picture

While a starter might not throw that one, the skill is in the ability to see it, react in time and complete it when an opportunity presents. So, it did, he did, that’s what there is to be pleased about.

dobber's picture

I never fault a guy for making a play he should make.

jasonperone's picture

Downplay it all you want. You're also downplaying how savvy the play was, regardless of who's throwing the ball. He baited the throw and took it to the house. You can't be doing your job any more than that. Make the plays that are put in front of you. That's what he does. The point is to win games. Points help teams do that. Easy game ball

RobinsonDavis's picture


Klincker's picture

I just thought it was a little gush-gush, over a play that I would expect him to make on a rookie QB. Maybe I'm being a little hard on him. But we are gonna need that all year long, and I hope we dont come back to this moment, where we were all, "gee, he got that pick-six in pre-season game #2, and now he cant get a turnover."

RobinsonDavis's picture

Totally get-it, Klincker....we need this in the regular season too. Watch the replay, his recognition and break on the ball were so darn smooth. It's been awhile since we have seen this.

Oppy's picture

Perhaps the most encouraging thing was during the telecast when they replayed Josh Jackson's interception- exact same situation as Tramon's play.. You could see Jackson recognized the play was coming back to his side of the field and he immediately started to brake on the route- before the QB even had his arm cocked back.

Really great seeing J.Jackson finally getting comfortable and playing like he belongs!

stockholder's picture

I'm giving a game ball to the coaches. This team is MUCH, much, better than last year. You can see it on the players faces. The improvement. Just remarkable! I've been impressed! Lame Call; Tough cuts ahead.

Oppy's picture

I sure hope they're much improved. So far, I don't know what to think about them, to be honest.

There's individual efforts that look great, but first team units seem like a mixed bag at this point.

MITM's picture

Just a couple of quick things.

The safeties make me sick. Ha Ha Clinton Dix is still awful, Brice had a rough showing and what the hell is wrong with Josh Jones? Why does he look completely disinterested? I guess he is just gonna give Kentrell Brice the job at SS.

Its only been 2 preseason games and theres for sure been missed assignments etc but - I tried to tell you guys since draft day about Oren Burks

dobber's picture

If that defensive front can keep OGs off Burks, he could be what we've been asking for at ILB for a long while.

MITM's picture

The combination of that, and also priceless consistent reps playing the position full time are going to lead to alot of big plays in the future

Oppy's picture

Burks has been a very pleasant surprise. He's definitely taken a hold of the opportunity thus far.

Demon's picture

It appears that Kumerow and Gilbert have made the team. Gilbert should have last year! (Knd of a head scratcher there Ted.) These 2 have proven that they can play. I just hope that they dont make the team then be game day inactives.

Nick Perry's picture

I still can't believe when someone calls out Thompson they get a dislike for it. I get it, he built a SB winning team...8 YEARS AGO! In the ultimate what have you done for me lately game Thompson really didn't do much. I mean did you watch the OTHER 52 players last season after week 5?? That was Thompson's work shinning through.

Blame deserves to go to Capers...Lots of it...But Thompson's job is put the best roster together EVERY year to win SB's...Especially when you have a guy like 12 playing QB and he didn't do that.

Totally agree with you on Gilbert and Kumerow. Gilbert does NOT give up on a play and Kumerow may be starting to push G-Mo back to the #4 WR. Stay tuned.

Demon's picture

Thanks Nick!!

Pierre's picture

Boyle has a lot of potential at QB. He’s 6’4” and has a great arm to make all the throws. He stands in the pocket and faces the rush impressively before throwing. Classic drop back passer. Receivers have dropped several long passes by him in both games. He doesn’t get much playing time but I could see him being a starting NFL QB in the future with the skill set he has and displays. He may be a diamond in the rough that the Packers would wise to hang onto or they are gonna regret it IMO.

croatpackfan's picture

Jasone, everything on the spot!

JohnnyLogan's picture

Still have no faith in the back end of this D. The tackling was simply awful in the first Q. Need to sign Eric Reid today. Rodgers has no problem with his kneeling and I think he'll fall in line and cut it out to play for a SB contender. I know Bryce is supposed to be a hitter but he's often out of position. Ha Ha is a mystery. Doesn't have the speed or tackling ability to scare guys over the middle. And as improved as our new CB's are they aren't exactly big hitters. This D is still a big question mark.

Lare's picture

Without a doubt, the Packers safeties are going to cost the Packers some games this season. Time for Gutekunst to add some upgrades to the position. It's looking like Brice, Dix & Jones aren't starting material, more of Ted's misses in the defensive backfield.

cap'n kirk's picture

Good -
Jimmy G

Bad -
JK Scott

Ugly -

Please, God, keep Bahktiari healthy this year.

PatrickGB's picture

I would add to “The Ugly”, our run game and our run defense. But perhaps with the starters in it will change. One can hope.

kevgk's picture

The run d on the first team was poor, but it was two consecutive plays before adjustments were made. Perry and Daniels will certainly shore it up in the season, theyre probably the best run defenders on the team.

kevgk's picture

Lance Kendricks was playing with the first team and looked good.
Montgomery isn't worth keeping around. He carries the ball like a reciever.
Rollins was actually decent at returning punts. If being a safety finally clicks, he could both save his career and help with depth.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Good point on Rollins. I had written him off, but I'd like to see more of him at safety. If he can continue looking good on punt returns, we could release Davis and save a roster spot.

Oppy's picture

Rollins averaged 7.7 per punt return on three returns. That average would have placed him at 18th in the league during 2017 among qualifying returners (he's tied for 26th in the 2018 preseason thus far with his average, but the small sample size definitely puts a choke on statistical relevance here.)
The biggest issue is, Rollins also fumbled a punt. That's a killer.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Nice recap, Jason! Here are my thoughts:
*Hundley is playing better & with confidence. It's still too early to know, but he is beginning to separate as the #2 QB IMO.
* We need to resolve issues at Safety & middle of the field defending the pass.
*D-line and OLB were soft vs. the run and really have not played to the hype surrounding them. But with Daniels and Perry not playing, and Wilkerson limited in playing time, we have not seen what they can bring as a unit.
*Besides Kumerow, Jackson, Burks, & Gilbert from our young players, Bouagnon & Tonyan stood out.
*Does anybody notice the havoc our 2 TE alignment was presenting in coverage? Nice Contributions from this position as a group this preseason game.
*Does anybody else hold their breath when our back-up tackles are playing? Inconsistent..You see some nice plays and then ??. Watch Spriggs playing Rt. Tackle during the touchdown to Tonyan from Kizer. Block somebody!!
* Kumerow and Gilbert make the roster. If not, it will be harder to attract the top-line free agents in the future.
I really don't care if someone is a blue-blood athlete, draft pick, free agent, or trade. Your best players should be on the roster. I'll take performance over potential any day.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Lack of pass rush, even with Gilbert's good play yesterday, means safeties will have to step up. There's not enough talent there. HaHa, Bryce and Jones just never seem to be in position. Burkes is fast but doesn't hit hard. Blake can't be everywhere. None of the CB's are really big hitters. This is a weak D. Needs some muscle behind the D line. Sign Reid and maybe even Bowman. This simply isn't a very tough kick a** D right now. Biggest problem though will still be the pass rush. Clay, Perry and Gilbert are average, Fack and Biegel don't have the strength or speed to beat 1st string tackles. Not sure Pettine can overcome lack of muscle and
talent on the D.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

When is Ha Ha Clinton-Dix going to learn to tackle like a pro football player?

TXCHEESE's picture

You are absolutely spot on. I have yet to see anything out of Dix that gives me comfort about him being the last line of defense. For all of his physical attributes, he just can't tackle like an NFL safety. I'm usually not one for hitting the panic button, but Gute needs to contact Reid ASAP.

Tundraboy's picture

I'm with you. Kind of need that at Safety, especially if you don't really seem to want to hit anybody.

MITM's picture

Im interested to see how Damarious Randall looks at Free Safety for the Browns, which is almost certainly the more natural position for him. Its not gonna take much to look better than Ha Ha has for awhile now though.

Jonathan Spader's picture

In an interview with Williams he mentioned his versatility with playing inside or outside. Also brought up playing safety for Pettine with the Browns. I'm hoping Jackson, King, Alexander can take over and Williams can move to safety similar to Woodson.

Grandfathered's picture

Problems with Ha ha are no laughing matter. he wanted to be drafted by Philly; had a slow 1st year. It took an argument with Peppers on the sidelines at Carolina to get him to come on strong in the second half of his second year; then last year - uninspired. Looks like he is lacking effort or excitement so far in his contact/option year. Either get him fired up, or let him walk next year.

LayingTheLawe's picture

At the end of the game they said Kumerow had a shoulder - any word on that? Montgomery and Williams also both hobbled some.

The only thing we have to wonder about GIlbert now is why didn't they put him in the active roster last season.

Montgomery looked like he had a good role in this offense running and receiving but that kickoff fumble was WEAK! Hold on to the ball!

It will make people cringe but House looked good and seems like he will be out there.

Both Jackson and Rollins looked good returning punts. No one did returning kicks but it might be how MVS is the rookie on the active roster.

The running game and backup line still is weak.

Chuck Farley's picture

Hundley is your back up. That decision was made a long time ago. My issue, you have guys playing the same crappy way they did under capers and petine has done zilch to change or improve it. Hey one probability is petine sucks worse then capers.
There was zero run defense. Capers run d was pretty good.

zeke's picture

I think after two preseason games you can replace "probability" with "fact." All of this "we didn't scheme" and "the starting OLB's didn't even dress" is just nonsense. The second preseason game foretells all. It has been written on a message board. All is lost.

4thand1's picture

Chuck, they are just practicing. This defense is not what we'll see when the season starts. There's a lot of guys playing these games just to get on the roster. The starters are set in stone with a few surprises at final cut down.

Since '61's picture

I rewatched the first half of the Steelers game and Dix actually made a few tackles while he was playing. Yes, he missed the tackle on the long TD run but he wasn't the only one. I won't give up on him until I see him play in the regular season.

It's good to remember that veteran players do not play at full speed during the pre-season. Also, the teams are playing very vanilla.

As for the Packers run game let's remember that both Aaron Jones and Davonte Mays are not playing. Except for his KO return fumble I thought that Monty looked fine as a runner and a receiver. Also, it's difficult to evaluate the run game once the starting OLs come out of the game.

Murphy was OK at RT but terrible at LT. The key for the OL is to remain healthy so they can come together and gel as a unit. Health of the OL is my only concern for this team at this point. This team will go as far as the OL takes them.

In spite of some sloppy play by the defense they will be fine if they stay healthy. They might not be great but they will be good enough. Rodgers and this offense will score 30+ per game.

No reason to make a big deal of only the 2nd preseason game. Thanks, Since '61

cheesehead1's picture

Any chance we take a flyer on Earl Thomas? He’s a stud when healthy, but not sure Seattle would trade him to an NFC rival. Any idea what it would take to get him??

LambeauPlain's picture

I would pass on Eric Reid. Sure, he could be a problem in the locker room but he isn't even much of a Safety now.

Last year he played a lot of LB so he would be competing with the rapidly emerging Burks and rookie Thomas who is also looking good. So is Martini at times.

But isn't Tre Boston available yet? He's only 26 and is a very good Safety.

HHCD really has me puzzled. I thought Pettine would light a fire under him. Josh Jones too. Don't get it.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Every year we get excited about undrafted free agents. Thomas and Martini are getting some love but I watched as Martini was too slow to get to a ball carrier and I haven't seen anything to make me think we should pass on Reid for Thomas. Eric Reid is better than they are. It's that simple.

MITM's picture

I agree. The first pre season game looked alot better for both of them. We NEED to sign a veteran ILB period. And that was the case even before Burks has put out the tape he has

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