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Packers Preseason Finale: Observations

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Packers Preseason Finale: Observations

The Green Bay Packers may have lost their first preseason game of the 2016 season against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, but some would say they came out winners.  Winners in the sense that they seemed to avoid any major injuries to key players and appeared to find a few more hidden gems that may prove vital in 2016.

The last preseason game is and always has been about the rookies and the bubble players.  Most starters didn't dress as the coaching staff needed one last look at the younger players to help decide how the Packers roster shapes up in the end.  The team has until Saturday to get down to the league mandated 53 players.  Here are some takeaways from week five and the preseason.  It's far from a comprehensive list and we'll have a lot more coverage of the final cuts along with more analysis.

Wide Receivers Galore

Rookie Trevor Davis hurt his shoulder during the Kansas City game and an update will be forthcoming.  This is significant as it could keep Davis from the active roster if it's deemed serious enough or if the Packers deem it necessary to round out the position group and protect him.  A fifth rounder with his speed is likely poached from the practice squad and with the Packers keeping Jeff Janis active, they have a logjam at receiver.  Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and Jared Abbrederis are also locks.  That makes six guys with undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison on the outside looking in.  The Packers will certainly try to add him to their practice squad.

Regarding Abbrederis, I have some serious crow to eat.  I greatly underestimated him coming into the offseason.  He has been the most consistent player, yes player, not just receiver, on this team throughout the preseason.

May Have A Punter After All

Jake Schum took his first snaps in a Packers uniform just two days after being signed in favor of six-year veteran Tim Masthay.  Schum averaged just over 45 yards per kick against the Chiefs and had a 57-yarder.  He placed three inside the 20 so overall, a good outing.  With only one preseason game for him to showcase his abilities, Schum certainly seized the moment and at least for now, appears to be the man.

Defensive Backfield Is Stacked

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix seems poised to take another step and Morgan Burnett, sore back willing, will spend some time at the hybrid linebacker spot too this season.  Add to that the dependable Micah Hyde and special teams ace Chris Banjo and the safety group looks as good as it has in a while.  Rookie Kentrell Brice suffered an injury against Kansas City and did return to the game, but it remains to be seen what the Packers will do with him, depending on his health.  He has played his way onto the team if he's good to go, edging out Marwin Evans who should end up on practice squad as long as his injury also isn't too serious.

At corner, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins are a year older and smarter. Sam Shields returns and still has wheels.  Behind them is LaDarius Gunter, who nabbed an interception to cap off his preseason.  Then it gets interesting.  Undrafted rookie Josh Hawkins played well again and I'd give him the nod over Demetri Goodson, who will miss the first four games due to suspension.  Behind Hawkins is Robertson Daniel and Makinton Dorleant.  Dorleant didn't play against the Chiefs.  Daniel was credited with seven tackles and a pass break up.  He spent a good amount of time on the special teams units so he could round out the cornerback group.

Jared Cook Is (Hopefully) Who We Think He Is

Cook caught the lone touchdown for the Packers and again was a focal point of the offense.  These are preseason games that don't count, but Cook certainly looks the part and with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, he'll become a big part of the passing game.  This is looking to be another great free agent add by general manager Ted Thompson, although Cook was sitting out there for a while before the Packers signed him.  

The Offensive Line's Health Is Key

Probably more than any other area simply because of the drop off from the starters to the back up's.  If Corey Linsley is able to return from his hamstring injury and fortify the group, that will improve the situation but until then, the Packers need their starting group to stay healthy.  Protecting Rodgers is priority number one.  Running lanes for Eddie Lacy, a close second.

Major Disasters Avoided

I mentioned it right out of the gate: Lastly and maybe most importantly, the Packers made it through the preseason without any major injuries to key players.  Last year at this time, Nelson was already done for the season and Cobb was nursing a shoulder injury.  Janis has the hand injury and Davis appears to have one as well so they weren't totally unscathed, but Janis can still play and the top six guys appear to be ready to start the season.  Besides Burnett's back, the defense appears healthy and ready to go.

With the early bye week this season, the Packers are going to have to hope they can somehow avoid the injury bug.  Their depth appears OK and they can still win some games with the guys behind the guys but there's nothing like the one's carrying a team through.

On to Jacksonville!



Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Nick Perry's picture

I didn't see the game and it seems it will be the last of the Thursday games to be replayed on the NFL Network so I have to wait to watch. To top it off it's being played at the same time as the Badgers this weekend in Los Angeles. Don't they KNOW California is filled with Packers Fans!!!

The Packers did stay relatively healthy which has to be priority one. Abby did exactly what I thought he would and so did Janis. I'd hoped the light might go on but it seems to remain dim. Thankfully the guy is one of the best Gunners in the NFL so maybe there's still time he'll shine bright as a WR. MM needs to throw him out there on game days this year though, no matter HOW he looks in practice. I mean you gotta try a few times at least don't you?

Clark's injury is really bumming me out. He didn't play horrible when he did play, but he looked 20 years old most of the time this preseason. I have to believe Thompson adds someone (Knighton please) to the DL. I'm not sold on Pennel myself so even if they hold it down till week 4, the Packers are still really thin on the D-Line. The rest of the defense is really good, maybe great, Top 7 for sure.

Go Pack Go!!

sheppercheeser's picture

I know they won't, but I'm gonna state publicly that GB should toss Lane, Davante and Barclay. Alas, I envision TT hanging on to all 3 guys. Glad to see Schum have a good game- I hope that continues. Callahan has proven himself as an aspiring QB- GB is stacked at that position- I'd be fine with AR starting and BH or Cally backing him up.

egbertsouse's picture

Needed to be said, man! Those guys are awful. Adams can't separate against 3rd stringers and Barclay's shotgun snaps look like wounded ducks. But TT has man-crushes on them all so we're stuck with them.

RCPackerFan's picture

The biggest question I have coming from the game is Davis' injury. Is it serious or not? And now what happens at WR?
IMO, they will keep now 6 WR's. Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Abbrederis, Montgomery, Janis. Davis to IR, and Allison to PS.
But if Davis is healthy and doesn't need to go on IR, I can see them keeping him on the 53.

Schum really impressed me. His hangtimes were really impressive. And his ability to pin a team back deep was also impressive. 2 punts fair caught inside the 10, and another that was hovering around the goal line and barely rolled in. Just need someone to be there to down it before it went into the endzone.

Brice made the 53. Hey maybe one of the most impressive UDFA's to come into Green Bay in a while. I'm not sure how he wasn't drafted.
Evans didn't show up as well last night I thought.

Hawkins making his 2nd Int in preseason games, could have locked up a spot on the 53. My guess is they keep 5 CB and 5 Safety's. Hawkins is the 5th CB and either Banjo or Evans will be the 5th safety.

Packer_Pete's picture

I think what we've found out is that the depth of this team is not very good. Many of the cuts will be relatively easy. One can only hope that there won't be many injuries to starters during the regular season. Especially on OL and DL, depth is practically non-existent.
I surely hope Ted can swing another trade, maybe where some team needs some help in areas where the Packers roster is deep - DB especially.
ILB and OLB are exactly who we thought they are... I am not sure Elliott should be on the 53. WR situation just sorted itself out.

RCPackerFan's picture

'I think what we've found out is that the depth of this team is not very good.'
Through the first 3 preseason games our depth was very good, and after the last one its not good? Which is it?

OL depth is better then what we have had in a long time.
DL probably lacks the most depth. At the same time when they typically play 2 DL at a time how much depth do they need?

dobber's picture

"At the same time when they typically play 2 DL at a time how much depth do they need"

This is the Achilles heel right now, and you can bet opponents will find ways to exploit it. Maybe not a throwing team like Jax, but the Vikes? I think there's going to be an acquisition here at the deadline to shore up the interior DL. I'd hoped that Ringo would take a step and allow this team to show some 4-3 looks to take advantage of personnel in the early going, but Ringo will be lucky to land on the PS, IMO.

RobinsonDavis's picture

The future is NOW Ted!!....Go get a stud D-lineman.

Packer_Pete's picture

"Through the first 3 preseason games our depth was very good, and after the last one its not good? Which is it?" - I never said that. In fact, looking at the whole preseason, I maintain that depth on both DL and OL is not very good. Browns and 49ers will be bottom dwellers in the NFL, Raiders will be decent but it was the 2nd preseason game.

And the game is won in the trenches. OL I think could handle one starter going down, but just imagine Daniels goes down on DL, and Ted doesn't sign another player now after final cuts. Does anyone truly think Pennel is that good that he is the big hope after game 4??? Throughout the whole preseason my thoughts were that the Packers will have issues defending the run this season.

RCPackerFan's picture

OL Depth is good. DL, I agree is our weakness.

If Daniels goes down yes we don't have another Daniels on the roster. The same can be said of any of our star players. No team has a star behind a star ready to play.
I am hoping they can find more help for the DL though. Someone better then Price/Ringo.

Packer_Pete's picture

"OL Depth is good" - really? If Linsley ends up on PUP, as we all expect, then he'll be gone for almost half the season, if not more. Then you'd have Donnie Barclay as your C in case Tretter gets injured. Backup OT is who? Spriggs (who I think will be a great OT in the years to come) is not quite ready yet IMHO, and also got injury issues with finger and the cast at the moment. Your backup OG is Taylor. Marginal at best. Murphy is not ready yet, as evidenced during the preseason. So I am not sure I would categorize the depth as "good" for that position group. And we all know you simply cannot count on all your starters making it healthy through the full season, especially considering that Bulaga is often injured, and your starting OGs are getting a little long in the tooth, and Sitton and Lang had their little nagging injuries the last couple of years.

Don't get me wrong, the starting OL is one of the best in the NFL IMHO. But the depth behind it is not "good". Let's hope we'll never have to find out.

holmesmd's picture

Apparently Clowney has looked solid;/ Lol

Oppy's picture

I think Lowry is going to shift things on the DL for the better.

He's playing ball like a true NFL 3-4 DE (even despite his worrisome arm length.). That allows us to shift Guion or Pennel (or even Price is he's kept) into the NT position. All three play double teams better than Raji ever did. That's not hyperbole. Clark will come into his own in a year or so, He'll contribute, but he's not read for nose duty right now.

Watch how many people will praise the increased play of our ILBs this season. It will be in large part to better interior line play vs. the run.

Nick Perry's picture

Clark is SO young right now and suffering from the Packers curse...Injured. As long as he can go in Jacksonville, give them 20 to 25 snaps in week one and hold his own 80% of the time I'll be happy...for now. I think he'll come into his own too. I mean 20 years old?? He can't even go to a bar in California.

The ILB's will make all the difference in this defense this year. People keep talking about the Vikings Defense like it was one of the top ranked defenses last year. Look at the Packers and Vikings defensive stats.. Almost identical across the board, yet the Packers don't seem to get any respect.

Oppy's picture

Pack D carried the offense to a great extent last year. They have been on a year and a half uptick. From the looks of things this offseason, and just the energy.. I think they continue to gain steam.

I'm liking what we've been seeing from our D lately.

Nick Perry's picture

I'm agreeing with you Oppy. The Defense has gotten better since week 9 of the 2014 season and it's carried over to 2015 and now 2016. I was merely pointing out how many of the "Experts" seem to suggest the Vikings have this "Great Defense" that's so much better than the Packers and all the stats suggest that's just not the case.

Oppy's picture

Lol, I wasn't disagreeing with your agreement, just reaffirming :)

Oppy's picture

I never said Mortell was going to beat out Masthay for the job- I said I was prepared to let it go to the wire and see how it played out. I did, however, state that Mortell was out-performing Masthay (and not by a little, by a lot) in actual in-game production, which I backed up with concrete stats ad nauseum, but hey, change the story to fit your narrative. That's your prerogative I guess.

IMO, the Packers fell in love with Raji's ability to penetrate at the LOS, because he's a very nimble and athletic man at 340 lbs. However, all you have to do is watch the man actually play football, and what you find is a 340lb man who gets pushed off the spot more often than not vs. double teams, frequently by 2 yards or more, and never really played a two gap assignment too well. Pickett was a better NT, and Raji never filled his shoes. As far as Guion and Pennel, and yes, Price, all I can tell you is, as a person who has gone to practices over the years, and actually watches line play as closely if not more closely than most watch the ball, all of these men anchor vs. the double team better than Raji ever did. As in, not even close. You won't take the time to watch, because it doesn't agree with what you've blindly stated for the last 5 years running. Those of us who DO watch line play, know Raji was weak at the nose. No anchor.

holmesmd's picture


Dude, really? What team have you been watching?! ESPN has stated that GB is favored to win every game?! Lol. You make them sound like some bush league semi-pro team! Get out of the worry chair and remove your head from your poop chute. Lol. This GB team is loaded. As Vic wrote today, every team has deficiencies. Magnifying them like Bovine and some others do, just suggests they spend too much time in the worry chair. Have fun! Football is back. Enjoy the journey. You don't play, none of us do. Just watch and enjoy...and God forbid...try to be positive. What do you have to lose!?;)

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I was happy to see Brice come back in. They way he was limping off I was worried about a hammy. Now we just need to cross our fingers about Davis and hope Schum is a good holder. Overall this was a really good preseason. I don't envy Thompson and Wolfe the descisions they have got to make here.

RCPackerFan's picture

Very good preseason overall.

Brice has earned a spot on the 53. Hopefully his injury was nothing more then cramps.

I would like to know what Davis' injury is. If its a long term thing or not.

Its going to be really tough to make some of these cuts.

holmesmd's picture

Nick Collins metrics, that's for sure!:)

egbertsouse's picture

And Jake Ryan looked like AJ Hawk's younger, but slower, brother. I hope Martinez is as good as the hype.

ShooterMcGee's picture

Running back is thin behind Lacy and Starks. I hope TT is checking the waiver wire because some teams are stacked such as Titans, Washington, and even New England. Love that kid from AZ state DJ Foster now on the Pats. Mack from Washington looked good too. There has to be better options than Burks and Ross.

RCPackerFan's picture

I would have liked to have seen what Burks could have done with the holes to run through that Mack had the other night.

holmesmd's picture

Uumm, how many teams have 3-4 studs at RB? Lol. There is a salary cap and every team in the league has areas of "weakness". GB doesn't have a RB problem IMO. Lacy & Starks are one of the better RB tandems in the NFL. Anything Burks becomes is gravy. By the way, Monty could easily play HB if someone goes down. He played there's fair amount at Stanford and the guy is built like a tank. They'll be fine at RB.

croatpackfan's picture

Well, as I see, fringers down are for:
1. Jake Ryan
2. Don Barcley & Lane Taylor
3. Kyle Murphy
4. Casey Pierce
5. OL blocking for run and for pass
6. Davante Adams

Fingers up:
1. Jacob Schum
2. Jared Abbrederis
3. Brian Price
4. both RB to fight for yards w/o blocks in front of them
5. Ty Montgomery for blocking punt and KR
6. Joe Callahan (for surviving!)

Finwiz's picture

Whereas the Packers have outplayed the other 3 opponents in preseason with their depth, this particular game they were shoved around at the LOS. I'm going to caveat that comment with the fact that 20 players did not suit up including most of the starting defensive front seven. I think we will be vulnerable to the run as usual, but it looks like we might have some back 4 guys and a couple of linebackers with speed that can actually cover a RB and other WR threats. Last night the offensive line looked like a sieve, but I'm sure there were individual performances that were O.K. It's one game and it doesn't mean much, but I would have like to see a few more points out of the offense. Oh...and those of you that were doubting Mr. TT about cutting Masthay, well I think you got your answer last night. Schum looked very good, with great hang time and some leg when he needed it. One game doesn't tell the entire tale, but he sure looked like an improvement last night.

croatpackfan's picture

I hope you are right about Schum, but I have to say, that was only one game. He has to show consistency in good punting, not like Tim in bad punting!

EddieLee's picture

Brice is in the roster. No way he gets cut.

I thought Daniels showed he belonged on a NFL roster. I think they find a way to make that happen.

With all the talent at WR and Secondary, it wouldn't surprise if they surprise and go real thin at other spots. Might only keep Lacy and Starks at RB with Montgomery and Cobb being the emergency back. That would put the two young backs on the PS and easily called up if needed.

I also don't think they have a 3rd TE worthy of a roster spot but my guess is they stick with Perillo.

Same with ILB. The 4th ILB will probably stick but isn't NFL quality. It wouldn't surprise me if they kept 3 ILB's so they could keep an extra Safety instead.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

TT has tough decisions at CB, S, ILB. My own questions:
Should we keep:

<> just 4 at DL? 5th guy can't play now, so PS. Rotate Peppers and Jones in until Pennel returns;
<> just 2 at TE? Perillo could play now, so keep 3;
<> just 5 at OLB? Elliott can't play except STs;
<> just 5 at WR: Janis, Davis, Allison can't play now. Keep Janis for STs maybe, so 6;
<> Keep 4 at ILB: Thomas > Bradford?
<> Keep 5 at CB: big 3, Hawkins, 1 of the rest;
<> Keep 6 at S: Brice is on the 53. Issue is Evans.

Bradford should be safe to put on the PS: he took 2 years to figure out our D; no team is going to add him to their 53 and wait 2 years for him to figure out their D? Thomas can back up Martinez in coverage now, while Bradford (from the PS) backs up Ryan and Barrington, who might be on the bubble.

At CB, I thought Gunter had some bad games, and despite the INT, was bad in the slot vs. KC. I'd rather dump Gunter than lose Hawkins. So, Shields, Randall, Rollins, Hawkins, and best of Gunter, Dorleant, Daniel which means still Gunter.

(9) OL is the 5 starters, draftees, and not even the least horrible of the rest, but who is healthy and plays the right position. Need back ups at center and guard. Plug in the horrible Barclay and the guy who regressed the most for unknown reasons, Taylor. Done, and let the football gods be kind. I think Murphy would get poached and has to be kept on the 53.

(4/5) DL: Daniels, Guion, the underwhelming Clark, and Lowry. Could just keep those 4, but if we just have to have a 5th body, it hardly matters if it is Ringo, Price or Kuder: if any of the 3 get on the field, we are in trouble. (Makes a difference which one goes to the PS though.)

(5 + 1 ST) OLB: CM3, Peppers, Perry, Jones and Fackrell. Is there really anyone else worth keeping? Gilbert to PS. I'd lose zero sleep if Elliott gets cut; keep him as a ST guy if necessary.

(5 + 1 ST) WR: Nelson, Cobb, and the best of the 'might turn out to be something' guys, probably means Adams, Abby and Monty. Janis for STs is the only issue. Allison and Davis can't help now, so PS for them.

Oppy's picture


I don't think the question should be Joe Thomas > Carl Bradford, but perhaps it should be, Are Thomas and Bradford > Ryan and Barrington at this point.

I have not been sold on either Ryan or Barrington at being anything more than average players. Thomas and Bradford both looked impactful in preseason play.

I'm not saying anyone should be shown the door. But I'd sure like to see some PT for all involved and sort it out. I'm optimistic about the state of ILB, but I'm also looking at it like it is still just as full of uncertainty as it was for the last many years.

I do think improved line play with help make the LBs look better.

al bundy's picture

Havent seen last nights game. Not sure of Trevor Davis. Has he shown anything in pre season making him a 53? Even if you stash him on the PS, isn't there someone better in next years draft?
Ditto Janis. Yes injured but please folks its been three seasons and he just has not shown he deserves a spot. Hell Jeronomo has more catches in pre season then Janis has in his career.
Time to remove deadwood and players that can be easily replaced. Receivers and running backs

Nick Perry's picture

The Packers allowed the fewest Punt Return yards in the NFL last season and the biggest reason for that was Janis IMO. Bush kept a spot on the Roster as a ST Player and emergency. Janis is the new Bush, at least for now.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

(2) QBs: AR, Hundley;
(4) RBs: Lacy, Starks, Rip, + Burks or waiver guy;
(3) TEs: Cook, RR, Perillo;
(9) OL: 5 starters, 2 draftees, Barclay, Taylor (P - U!);
(6) WR: Nelson, Cobb, Abby, Adams, Monty, Janis;
24 offense

(4) DL: Daniels, Guion, Clark, Lowry (waiver PU?);
(4) ILB: Ryan, Martinez, Barrington, Thomas;
(5) OLB: CM3, Peppers, Perry, Jones, Fackrell;
(5) CB: Shields, Rollins, Randall, Hawkins, Gunter;
(5) S: Dix, Burnett, Hyde, Banjo, Brice;
23 on D;
(3) STs: Schum, Crosby, Lovato (waiver LS/P?

50 so far.

(3) Who ever TT thinks won't make it to the PS from these candidates: Callahan, Bradford, Davis, Evans, Allison, Dorleant, Daniel, in that order. One less if TT can fine a waiver pick up at DL. [Gilbert, Price, Ringo high priority guys for the PS.]

I'd just say goodbye to Jayrone Elliott myself: I don't see him as a ST ace like Janis, but if he is too important to STs, I could live with him on the 53.

PUP: Linsley

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

I only watched the SF game this year. Haven't gotten much info. With the exception of a couple of Futures bets, I'm all done betting football. My health keeps me from going in the crowds.

GB is #1 on the board out here. Once again, I think this is their year.

Heard a week or so ago, a lot of Smart Money was showing up for Oakland, Why I don't know? I see they are -1 this week, Interesting??

Hope GB can stay healthy. Probably won't make the team, but I liked what I saw out of that 3rd string QB. Reminded me of Majik.

4thand1's picture

What to do about Callahan? This kid has football instincts (skills you can't teach) and a decent arm. He won't last on the practice squad, bet on it. Good to see you Tom.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Hey 4thand1, I agree with you. I think Callahan has the makings of a good QB. as I said, I see some Majik & a young Brett Favre in him. From what I see, if he has 1 downfall, I think he's too small. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought they said he was listed at 6'1 which means he's probably 6'. I like what I saw. I hope he makes it somewhere. Good to talk to you again.

Tarynfor12's picture

Oakland to be taken with any serious notion of playoff caliber needs to start quick and a lacking Saints team is perfect even if on the road.
I'm not sure it's smart/wise money you mention but you'll know when they do.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Hey Tarynfor12, I agree with you 100%. I only mentioned it, because it actually made the local nightly news one night, which I thought was unusual. Maybe that is the reason for the -1 this week. Usually if someone knows anything, you don't hear it until it's too late. It'll be fun to see how they do this week. Hope I'm not sorry I didn't bet. Nice Talking with you again.

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