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Packers vs. Patriots: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 22-11 Win in Preseason Opener

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Packers vs. Patriots: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 22-11 Win in Preseason Opener

The Green Bay Packers opened the 2015 preseason with a 22-11 win over the New England Patriots, using strong performances from all four quarterbacks and swarming depth on defense to outgun the defending Super Bowl champions at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. 

 

It was over when…

…rookie quarterback Brett Hundley connected with rookie running back John Crockett for a 10-yard score with under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, giving the Packers an 11-point lead that held on for the final. 

 

Game Balls

Scott Tolzien: Packers quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt said Tolzien should “look the same as Aaron” Thursday night, noting his improvements as a player and within the offense. The 27-year-old backup certainly gave his best No. 12 impression. He completed 10 of his 16 passes for 102 yards and a 26-yard score to Jeff Janis, giving him a passer rating over 100.0 for the fourth time in his last five preseason games. Tolzien looked comfortable and confident in the pocket despite sometimes shaky protection, and the improvements in his arm were obvious. This was a strong start for the Packers No. 2 quarterback. 

Jayrone Elliott: The Patriots couldn’t block No. 91 after he entered the game with the second-string defense. A preseason star last August, Elliott had eight tackles, a half of a sack and one other quarterback hit. He was consistently in the backfield. But he wasn’t alone. Rookie cornerback Quentin Rollins was all over the field, and Ladarius Gunter continued his strong summer with a pick of Jimmy Garoppolo. Datone Jones used his extra snaps to register two sacks. Rookie linebacker Jake Ryan made a few flash plays. 

Ty Montgomery: The rookie looks like a natural catching kicks. His 14-yard punt return was his only true highlight on special teams, but there’s something to be said about zero mistakes for a young player in his first professional game. Expect Montgomery to be the opening day returner. Side notes: Rookie fullback Aaron Ripkowski looks like he could be a real special teams asset, and Mason Crosby made his first long extra point. 

 

Stat of the Game 

32: The Packers ran a ridiculous 32 plays in the first quarter alone, including 19 passing attempts from Rodgers. Mike McCarthy said pre-game that he wanted to play his starters for an entire quarter, but he couldn’t have ever expected to get 32 plays from his first-team offense. The unit was efficient moving the football, but two scoring chances ended on fourth-down misses inside the red zone. 

 

Other Notes

-- Davante Adams’ night was underwhelming. He made one tough catch in traffic, absorbing a big hit from behind but holding on. He caught just two of his other six targets, missing on two would-be scores. The first was just off his fingertips on a fade route, while the second came on a difficult adjustment off a scramble drill in the back of the end zone. Still, Adams has been labeled a “star.” Stars probably need to make those plays. 

-- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looked active, as usual. The second-year safety is consistently in the right position. His biggest problem remains finishing plays. He blew up a run early but whiffed on the tackle. Later, he failed to set the edge and took an ugly tumble on New England’s long touchdown run. He could be a monster if he starts finishing. 

-- The Packers must be pleased with the debuts of cornerback Quinten Rollins and linebacker Jake Ryan. Rollins made a few strong plays on the ball and looked comfortable tackling. Fellow rookie Damarious Randall (groin) better hurry back, because No. 24 won himself some snaps Thursday night. Ryan still looks a little green, but there’s clearly something there. He was active, and often slippery getting to the football. Both youngsters put some encouraging football on tape in their first professional outing. 

-- Carl Bradford might not be long for this roster. After a redshirt year, he still looks lost. Maybe the position switch is too much for him. Too much thinking, not enough reacting. And this problem is compacted by the fact that he isn’t athletic enough to make up for it. No. 54 in space wasn’t pretty. 

-- Jeff Janis can fly, as we witnessed again during his rather easy-looking 26-yard score in the first half. He simply ran right past the New England corner. Now, the most hyped receiver in a generation must prove he can win on short and intermediete routes. Janis failed to come up with a contested throw off a short slant. His progression as a player in the Green Bay offense probably depends on him getting better in these areas. 

-- Strong night overall from all the quarterbacks, which can’t always be said in a preseason opener. The group of four completed 27 of 43 passes for 273 yards, two scores and no interceptions. Matt Blanchard completed both of his attempts, while the other three all provided big moments. You only need to think back to Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman to remember how bad things can go at quarterback.  

-- The Packers have won their preseason opener for the first time since 2009. Green Bay goes back on the road next week, traveling to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on Sunday afternoon. 

 

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.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Reminds me of the 90s when the Packers backups were clearly better than the other teams backups. This team is deep.

HankScorpio's picture

If this game is any indicator, the Packers will have to devote 3 rosters spots to the QB spot because it's dicey to think one would make it through to the PS.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yes. I hope they showcase Blanchard some more later. Can't keep 4 QBs and it is not clear whether he would be safe on the PS.

barutanseijin's picture

I was thinking Bradford brings nothing and then he gets a sack. Still, I'd be surprised if he's still in the nfl after pre season

packerfan9507's picture

The depth of defense is really encouraging.

There isn't too much to complain about except Bahktiari's and Barclay's performances. Both were just awful.

Duke Divine's picture

You are correct, sir

gr7070's picture

Bahktiari is the second most overrated player on the team. Unlike the first one, he's not good either. Aaron bails him out routinely. I don't understand what some fans and writers see in him.

croatpackfan's picture

While David has some bad plays, he is one of better LT in the league... 2 bad plays does mean nothing. You have to see whole picture. Yesterday, there was Josh Sitton who was guilty for 2 QB hits too, but nobody talks about that, because he is guard and it is not easy to see who is gulty when you have bunch of the guys there. David was left on wide space one on one and had problems. This can be corrected before the season starts...

All together, O-line looked like they really played some kind of show play, not real football....

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Bakh had 3 bad plays. Gave up two inside moves and gave up a fast outside rush too when he whiffed on a cut block. I agree with GR7070 that Bakh is the most overrated player on the OL, but temper that with suggesting that he is an average LT in the NFL and has been a Godsend, both in terms of actual quality of play and in terms of the cap. Linsley and Sitton were both up and down too. Barclay was bad. Early days yet, and I still expect that the OL will be a top 3 unit. Obviously, they still can't just push the DL back when GB needs a yard, but that is nothing new.

Dan Stodola's picture

Bahktiari is probably in the bottom 1/2 of LT in the NFL. He's serviceable and still might get a little better, but he is a LT that gets by. I think LT has to be a consideration going forward if one happens to be available in the 1st rd of the draft.

It all depends on him continuing to get better. If this (last year) is as good as he gets, he's serviceable not more.

All LT are on an island. That is the nature of the position and why LT get far more money and accolades than RT, OG or C.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"Bahktiari is probably in the bottom 1/2 of LT in the NFL. He's serviceable and still might get a little better, but he is a LT that gets by."

It took you how many games to say that about Bahk?

He's fine. We're great at all positions of the O-Line.

EdsLaces's picture

Quinten looked great ...minus the 2 dropped ints. Bradford did in fact look lost. Jake Ryan reminded me of another guy that used to wear the #47 in college as well....AJ Hawk. Always around the ball ..not a freak athlete but definitely goes hard every play. Davante looked like he tried to one hand that first td I believe and could have caught it with both hands. Quit going for the highlight 17. Tolz threw a few lazers. Oh and from what I saw (I was at work while watching ) Puerillo seems like a slow Gronk haha.

cheddarhead's picture

In a real game situation the Pack would of dominated.

Wiscokid's picture

You stole my gravitar

Duke Divine's picture

Nice to see green and gold #24 doing lots of positves for a change. Upgrade

DrealynWilliams's picture

Wish we could say the same for #59. I don't know his name, but he sure did look like Brad Jones out there

cheddarhead's picture

I did get sick of all the Patriots sideline camera shots. Brady this and the Patriots that. They hardly showed the Packers at all . I hope we win the SB to make it go away.

murphy's picture

Were you watching the Patriots' TV broadcast?

LeagueObsrvr's picture

They were using the Patriots local TV feed.

jmac34's picture

I was trying to remember BJ Coleman's name earlier tonight. The preseason with Harrell, Vince Young and BJ Coleman was rough to watch.

4thand1's picture

That was the worst stretch of back up QB's I can remember.

RCPackerFan's picture

Our young DBs really shines tonight.

Rollins definitely earned playing time tonight. He could very well be our Nickel and/or Dime DB. More then likely he will start out as the Dime CB and have to earn more playing time. He just has the rare ability to find the ball and make a play on it. He also showed he is a physical tackler.

Gunter I feel like has earned a roster spot tonight if he hasn't already.

L's picture

I still think that it's an open and ongoing battle between Rollins, Randall, and Hayward for that starting outside corner position opposite Shields with Hayward awarded initial dibs because of his veteran experience. The Packers will have a good idea of who that guy should be by the end of preseason; I wouldn't be too shocked if it ended up being Rollins if he keeps looking as good as he did last night. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Hayward if he's beat out by either of the two rookies; will he be used ahead of Hyde as the inside Nickel Corner? Personally, I expect that to be Hyde's primary position.

I too think Gunter has moved ahead of Goodson to earn a spot on the 53 man roster; thus leaving Goodson to compete with Banjo, Glover-Wright, White, Sebetic, and Fanor along with many other positional bubble candidates for making the 53.

CB:
1. Shields
2. Hayward
3. Randall
4. Rollins
5. Gunter
w/ Hyde as a CB/FS who's main position will be as the primary inside Nickel Corner and Dime Corner.

S:
1. Burnett (SS)
2. Clinton-Dix (FS)
3. Richardson (SS)
4. Hyde (FS/CB)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Very good list. Clearly 8 of these guys are locks for a roster spot. I liked Gunter and would call him a good bet at this point. GB usually keeps 10 DBs. Since you listed 9 DBs, that leaves the following fighting for 1 spot:
Banjo, Goodson, Glover-Wright, Sebetic, and Fanor.

I have no feel for what TT will do. We know Banjo can play on defense - serviceable, I suppose, and that he can contribute on STs. But he might have reached his ceiling. Other guys might have more potential. Give these guys 10 more practices and 3 more preseason games and then evaluate, I guess.

Phillthy's picture

You know how they say "his name wasn't called all nite, he must've done his job" I heard nothing about Hayward tonight.

gr7070's picture

Hayward is a stud.

WKUPackFan's picture

I agree with you, hope he shows it this year.

MarkinMadison's picture

The only thing I didn't like was Datone Jones' sack celebration late in the 4th. Hey Tone, if you were living up to expectations you wouldn't even be out there against the 3rd stringers. Step it up and do it against guys who will have a job in the NFL in 4 weeks, then celebrate. The Packers need you.

Nick Perry's picture

Amen to that!

DrealynWilliams's picture

And really, someone else beat him there. Datone just grabbed the other leg (which I never liked from a D-Lineman....go hard or go home!)

WKUPackFan's picture

I've been a big Datone supporter, but I'm starting to think Jim Mora neeeds to visit from UCLA and give him a talking to.

Tundraboy's picture

Perillo can catch. Nice to see screen pass used more. Rollins is a player. Janis is fast and sure knows how to catch TDs.

Handsback's picture

I liked Perillo's contested catch and his play in general. If the concussion isn't too bad, he's the new Number 2-3 TE.
I wonder what the film says, but Myles White has been consistent in practice and Janis disappears. In the game, Janis makes a play and Myles drops one or two passes.......
Did Jones have a good game or was he shinning because of his competition being 2-3rd stringers?

Nice to watch football again even with the NE announcers.

gr7070's picture

Those announcers were painful.

lou's picture

I agree, Harlan is better suited for the NBA and you would think being this close to "home" he would have done his homework better ". After Gunter's great pick he hollered about his "Blazing Speed", even the novice follower knows the kid wasn't drafted because of a poor 40 yard dash time. Harlan, based on his fathers accomplishments will never be replaced, it can be argued that Bob Harlan ranks with the teams founding fathers, he turned the franchise completely around. Gannon is OK, but does need to be a bit more negative when poor play is obvious, you just can't "love everyone in Green & Gold" and still be doing what you are paid to do. I miss Paul Hornung doing the color commentary, he and his pal Max were as good as it gets.

gr7070's picture

FWIW I had the NE feed on the NFL Network. The Pats announcers were not just Homers, but awful to boot.

Steve Cheez's picture

After watching that I have vowed to never shop at Bob's Discount Furniture Warehouse!

WKUPackFan's picture

i don't know, Bob has some pretty sweet deals!

I really don't mind the homerism, sometimes it's neat to hear the local perspective, especially for good teams. However, these guys have to know the game is nationally broadcast, and that at least brushing up on the other team would be appreciated by a lot of viewers.

Tundraboy's picture

And I watched game twice. Horrible

DrealynWilliams's picture

Watching the game over again...

That failed 3rd down run at the goal line was C. Linsley's fault. He was put on his ass. There's no doubt in my mind that if the Pack sees that same defensive setup Rodgers will audible to the same play and 9 times out of 10 Lacy scores -- easily.

4thand1's picture

I watched that replay a few times too, DW. Linsley was pissed off himself, I'm sure it'll be pointed out to him when they watch game film. If he takes care of the lb'er, no way the d back keeps Lacy out of the end zone.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I agree. I'm not sure why Linsley even attempted the double-team there with a free guy right in front of him. Luckily he didn't blitz...

But it's preseason. Better now than any other time during the regular season.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Annnnnd another thing!

Our first 4th and Goal situation:

When Rodgers scrambled to his left before throwing to Lacy (or Adams) in the back of the endzone a Pats CB mauled Jordy. I know you can do whatever to a WR within 5 yards, but are all bets off when in the Endzone?

4thand1's picture

Yes he completely took him out. I was wondering about the 5 yard rule also. How can you judge distance with no yard markers in the end zone?

Grandfathered's picture

Adams hesitated after his cut in the end zone and did not catch up to the perfectly placed ball. Underwhelming indeed.

Otto's picture

I'm reading some pretty, maybe overly, excited posts. Before getting too heady about this game, remember NE sat 9 starters. I don't think this would have been a "blowout" in the regular season.
That being said, this is clearly a deep team. It still amazes me how this team amasses talent. TT and his team do an excellent job.

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