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Packers Vs. Rams: First Impressions

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Packers Vs. Rams: First Impressions

My immediate thoughts on the Packers - Rams preseason finale.


Of the 88 players on the roster (not counting Ahmad Brooks), 28 will be inactive tonight. 60 players will be contending for roster spots.

Rough start for Brett Hundley. A few missed throws, pressure in his face, not ideal. Backup offensive line will do that to you, though.

Can't overstate how superb the Packers' defense has been in short-to-go situations this preseason.

LaDarius Gunter will be in a Packers uniform after September 2nd.

I'll just say this now, it's becoming a likely possibility that the Packers open up the season with four running backs. Both Aaron Jones and Devante Mays have all shown something impressive.

Reggie Gilbert is pushing offensive tackles aside en route to a roster spot. Don't be surprised if he sticks around after cutdown day. Unlikely now that Ahmad Brooks is (un)officially in town, but...

Four minutes left in the first half, and this is Jamaal Williams numbers so far through the preseason: 15 carries, 28 yards, 1.86 yards per carry. Less than ideal for the rookie tailback.

Brett Hundley's 2017 preseason is officially in the books. He finishes completing 63.15 percent of his passes (48/76) for three touchdowns, one interception and 482 yards passding. He also has two rushing touchdowns.

Hundley played the entire first half, a sign that the Packers may very well carry just two quarterbacks into the reguar season.

Jamaal Williams began the second half at running back. An indicator that Jones is RB2 at the moment.

The Packers are opening up their first drive of the second half (up to this point) burning nine minutes of clock and 11 of their first 13 plays were run calls. Trying to establish some work on the ground.

17-play drive and likely Taysom Hill's final audition (unless the Packers are on offense again in the third quarter) and the Packers get three points. 17-3.

Donatello Brown has been all over the field tonight. There seems to be at least one of these no-name guys making some noise every week.

Taysom Hill is running straight into a spot on the practice squad.

He's thrown just one pass for three yards, but his cool, collected on-field demeanor and his legs may be enough to keep him ahead of Joe Callahan in the QB3 race.

Meanwhile, I just got told on Twitter, and I quote: "Yeah and you're running straight to your sofa cause you would have zero chance of even playing junior high football." Because I said Taysom Hill is a running straight for the practice squad. OK.

 Nine minutes left. Derrick Matthews, Marwin Evans, Josh Jones and Brian Price are all tied for the team-lead in tackles with four apiece.

Taysom Hill's preseason is officially done with seven minutes left in the finale. He's completed 70 percent of his 20 pass attempts (14/20), 149 yards, two touchdowns through the air. He's rushed for 71 yards on 10 attempts and a touchdown.

Callahan-led Packers offense goes three-and-out Not off to a great start, despite the evident disadvantage in playing time compared to Hill.

I'm giving myself a migraine trying to figure out what the Packers are going to do at wide receiver.

Final thoughts:

The Packers are going to have some very, very difficult decisions to make come Saturday's cutdown day. Loading up on one position may very well be at the expense of an extra player at another, more weakened position, such as linebacker. Reggie Gilbert is one of those players who is on the bubble, but his arrow is trending up. As far as the overall look of the defense goes, the Packers have gamers. LaDarius Gunter being one of them, as Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette likes to call him. He's a fantastic depth addition to have, just not ideal to have coming out as a starter on the perimeter. The talent is there, it's just a matter of the cohesion of this group coming together and Dom Capers and co. giving the Packers their best shot at being formidable. A middle-of-the-pack defense is all the Packers seem to need to get Aaron Rodgers past the playoff plateau and back into the Super Bowl. The Packers have put together a strong preseason, indicated by their 3-1 record. Now, Seattle awaits in 10 days.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (58) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RobinsonDavis's picture

So who do you have, Zachary, on defense? I have:
11 DBs with Gunter and Hawkins both making the roster
6 OLBs because of the health issues -Gilbert makes
it....for now
3 ILBs D Matthews looked good in the last two games,
but don't think there is a spot
5 Dline - Adams to PUP and ?? Ringo or Price?

Zachary Jacobson's picture

DBs: (6)
House, Randall, King, Rollins, Gunter, Hawkins

S: (5)
Clinton-Dix, Burnett, Brice, Jones, Evans

OLBs: (6)
Matthews, Perry, Elliott, Fackrell, Brooks, Gilbert (might be swapped out for Biegel once he's activated. Can't have too much depth there.)

ILB: (3)
Ryan, Martinez, Thomas

DL: (5)
Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Jean Francois, Ringo (also could be swapped out for Adams once he's activated as well.)

So many difficult cuts to make on both sides of the ball.

Turophile's picture

Thoughts on your defensive 25.

I had Gunter as a tough cut, I think that is wrong now.

I think Elliott might have a difficult time making the 53 with all his back troubles. Only 5 OLBs with Biegel as an extra, when he comes of pup, looks very possible.

Tripp is a core ST guy, may make it as a 4th ILB

Price is a very tough cut after he has played well, but that is not to say Ringo has not earned a spot as well.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Just finished a piece on Gunter's performance tonight, should publish in a few minutes. I think his roster spot's in the bag now.

Elliott's a STs guy as well, he just has to stay upright and fight off his back spasms. He's been trying to play through them and I - personally - think he's making them worse.

Think a lot of people are counting out Jordan Tripp, so I'm with you. Very possible he makes it.

Brian Price has been a quiet performer this August. He was a tough cut for me, but I still have some time to make a post-preseason roster prediction, so maybe I'll change my mind. Decisions decisions...

Colin_C's picture

Unfortunately I missed most of the first half, but here are a few thoughts from what I saw.

-Allison is the clear #4 WR at this point. He broke several ankles at the LOS, is running very good routes, and can go up and make a catch in traffic. Hope he doesn't have a concussion, but at least he has an extra week to recover.

-Aaron Jones seems like the most talented runner of the 3 rookies at this point. All have had their moments, but Jones by far has been the splashiest of them all. Plus, he's the best receiver of the three. If he can improve his pass-pro, he'll be the #2 RB by mid-season.

-I honestly don't know how this WR depth will shake out, but I think McCaffrey deserves a spot at this point on the 53. From what I've heard, he's been very coachable, a team player, and has been extremely consistent. Cobb said some great things about him. With 12 throwing McCaffrey the ball, I think he'd open some eyes.

-I am near 100% certain Gunter makes the team. Beyond him, House, Randall, Rollins, and King, I have no idea who will fill the last spot(s).

-The interview with Jahri Evans interview was hilarious. If you didn't see it, it's worth the watch.

As much as I love pre-season, I'm ready for the games to count. Go Pack Go!

Turophile's picture

Having RB Jones AND Montgomery in the backfield is an interesting wrinkle, given their pass catching abilities.

Mojo's picture

Have to agree with just about everything you said Colin.

Allison did make what looked like an effortless cut on a pitch and catch with Hundley. Looked good for a taller WR.

In another year Max McCaffrey would crack the 53, but man what a log-jam. And did Clark get any snaps? Are they trying to hide him and get him on the PS? I do think they'll be a modest surprise coming from the WR group on the 53.

And Jahri seems like a righteous dude. Fits right in. Hope he has at least one more year in him. Still wonder why a O-Line deficient Seattle team let him go though.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Clark got 6 snaps according to APC, but I didn't notice them.

dobber's picture

You saved me the time of posting this. I agree with you on just about every count.

I like what Jones brought to the table at draft time, but really didn't expect him to outplay the other draft picks. Williams caught the ball well, too. Even though Mays looked good last night, I think backs like him (athletic, productive in limited action) are going to be plentiful come cutdowns and he goes to the PS.

I think the Packers take 6 WR to the regular season (Nelson, Adams, Cobb, McCaffrey, Davis, Janis) with Allison on suspension. Whether one of them loses their job after week 1 will depend on injuries, I think.

6 CBs: House, Randall, King, Rollins, Hawkins, Gunter. Another nice PBU by Hawkins last night. As much as we rail on Gunter for his speed, he's earned a job.

Denver's picture

I really like Hill...just wish he wasn't a 40 year old rookie with a buttload of injury history. But yeah, I'd trade places with him in a heartbeat.
I think Spriggs did OK...his LG counterpart was not good.

holmesmd's picture

Spriggs was awful, a complete turnstile

Denver's picture

Do I think he is a starting LT? Did he look like a "turnstile" tonite?

dobber's picture

Agreed. I thought this was his best game of the PS.

Turophile's picture

Hill is 27, just.

His injury history is less worrying if he is spending most of his time on the bench, recovery time for his body.

How long do you keep a backup QB anyway ? It's often for just a few years.

dobber's picture

His injuries have been mostly contact injuries, and you don't have to worry about contact injuries for a guy who isn't going to play.

Since '61's picture

I thought all of the RBs looked good this evening and remember they were playing behind the 2nd and 3rd string OLs. Vogel was excellent all game. Josh Jones all over the field. Allison made some tough catches especially his last one. He has until Week 2 to recover if he has a concussion. I think Gilbert may have given himself a chance to stick. Fackrell looked bad again. He could be gone with Brooks on board now. Ringo has really come on this preseason, he'll stick. Donatello Brown may have a shot to stick at CB over both Pipkins and Gunther. Many tough decisions over the next 2 days. We'll see how it goes. Thanks, Since '61

Turophile's picture

Always like your posts, but they can be hard to read.

it would be much easier to read if you seperated you post into bitesize paragraphs. This post isn't that big, but you sometimes write a huge wall of words with no para breaks. I did thumbs up your post anyway.

Since '61's picture

Turophile - thanks for the feedback. Good point.
I will try to keep in mind for my future posts.
Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

I know that someone had to play, and if the starters sit, that means you see a lot of some secondary players, but I was surprised that Jones played as many snaps as he did last night. I think he played pretty much every defensive snap.

RobinsonDavis's picture

I wonder if we still may see an addition or two to the offense. With 4 interior linemen free agents next year, and a lot of questions, regarding the 2nd string guys, wouldn't you want to sign someone if there is a decent fit out there?
I count at least 6 teams that have cap issues and maybe a trade/or FA pick-up is out there. Who knows?

Turophile's picture

I did say (on Andrew Herman's excellent game breakdown) to watch for Hill to come in before Callahan against the Rams, as a signal of change to the depth chart. It happened, So Hill is 3rd QB now and will either be on the 53 or more likely the PS.

I see no compelling reason that Yancy should avoid the PS. At the moment I rate McCaffrey and Clark above him in developmental potential. Either of them could also be a placeholder for Allison in week one.

Gilbert has less upside than Elliott or Fackrell, but he's making more noise now (Elliot is suffering back problems).

dobber's picture

I tend to agree: Gilbert might not be flashy, but was the most consistent of the three. The guy can set the edge and doesn't get run out of plays.

RCPackerFan's picture

Good game overall.
I absolutely hated seeing Brice get hurt late in the game. Hopefully it's not a major injury.

After watching the game I think they keep all 3 rookie RBs. Jones may have moved ahead of Williams though? If not he at least looks like he earned more playing time.
With as much as they ran the ball it really seemed like they were trying to hide the WRs from doing anything major to get swiped by other teams.
Speaking of the WRs, I have no idea what they are going to do there. My best guess they will keep Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Davis, Janis, Yancey, Dupre for the first week. 2nd week probably release Yancey or Dupre. I think they will try to get Clark and McCaffrey onto the PS.

I thought the young CBs played well. I hope they can get both Pipkins and Brown onto the PS.

Also Vogel earned the punting job officially.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Brice told Michael Cohen after the game that his shoulder is fine, he was just agitated that he was playing in the fourth quarter. So that's something...

I initially thought Jones was RB2 while I was watching the game, but then once I saw Williams start the second half, then Mays, then Jones... It left me in limbo.

lebowski's picture

I noticed Michael said Brice seemed frustrated to be playing so late in the 4th quarter. This bothers me a little, like he's been reading his own press clippings already. Our special teams have sucked longer than our defense has, and preseason is the time to work on things. It means your probably going to be on the 53. Shut up and be happy you're on an NFL roster. Rant over.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The translation is that Evans might have passed Brice on the depth chart. Brice always had trouble in coverage. Evans hits just as hard and is better in coverage. We will know soon enough. When Burnett moves to ILB, does Brice or Evans play?

RCPackerFan's picture

The one thing I disagree with is Evans hitting as hard as Brice. Brice is probably the hardest hitting player on the roster. At least pound for pound he is.
Evans though I do believe is better in coverage. At least has more range.

What I have seen from this preseason though is that Brice seems to have gotten a lot better in coverage, and Evans seems to have more pop.

Regardless, both those guys are really good and I'm happy to have both of them on our team.

dobber's picture

Remember that Brice was hurt playing gunner on punt coverage, not on a defensive snap. Someone's gotta play...

Evans has been good. This is a nice problem to have. They might very well be 3a/3b at safety.

RCPackerFan's picture

Ok, I didn't see that. Thanks for sharing that. I just noticed he came off with his arm hanging.

I think Jones is the number 2. Or at the very least the 2b to Williams 2a.

It seems like they were running the RB's in order. Williams, Mays, Jones. out of the 3 Jones was the most impressive all night. And that was with the same OL and mostly the same defense.

flackcatcher's picture

And a certain long snapper survives again. Ted's Search for the next Rod Davis continues...

flackcatcher's picture

MM post game call this the best training camp he's had. The coaching staff as a whole has been very vocal about how good this camp has been. I been surprised about that. I think the packers know who they want on the 53. There is in all reality only a few slots open this year for both rookies and street free agents. This battle is not for the 53, but for the practice squad and the packers ready list. This is going to be one really tough cut for the packers. Good article Zach.

Mojo's picture

I'm going to throw out an idea for CHTV. Wonder if you would consider putting out some type of contest where we the posters pick the 53 (obviously the CHTV staff would be in too). Maybe one point for each correct answer and some bonus points for the PS, PUP and IR or something like that.

The winner could get the spurious Dunning-Kruger award for roster prognostication.

Most would pick the same players until lets say the bottom ten where it gets tough.

What could really earn extra points would be if someone picked a player not currently on GB's roster.

Or not.

Nononsense's picture

I don't care that Brice was mad about playing in the 4th quarter, what matters is he was still playing hard and laying it all out there.

My 53


QB - Rodgers, Hundley

RB - Monty, Jones, Mays, Williams

FB - Ripkowski

TE - Bennett, Kendricks, Rodgers

WR - Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Davis
Janis, McCaffery

OL - Bakhtiari, Taylor, Evans Linsley, Bulaga, Spriggs, Murphy, Amichia, Barclay


DL - Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Francois, Ringo

OLB - Matthews, Perry, Brooks, Gilbert, Elliott, Fackrell

ILB - Ryan, Martinez, Thomas

CB - House, Randall, King, Rollins, Gunter, Hawkins

S - Clinton-Dix, Burnett, Brice, Evans, Jones.

K - Crosby
P - Vogel
LS - Goode

WR Allison

OLB Biegel

DL Adams

PS (10)

WRs Dupre, Clark, Yancey

DBs Pipkins, Brown

OL Grey, Pankey, Patrick

TE Peck

QB Hill

Spriggs and Fackrell really havent earned their spots but I'm just not ready to give up on them yet. Fackrell might be first out though if someone better comes along the waiver wire.

McCaffery loses out to Allison after week 1 unless they lose someone else to injury against the Seahawks.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

You cannot put Adams on the IR. Choice is to cut him or keep him on the 53. Brooks doesn't sign until Sept 3 so there is a spot to carry Adams until cut downs are official, and then Adams goes to IR. This assumes that Adams injury is fairly long term, at least 8 weeks from now.

I'd dump Gilbert, and Amichia, and I think Janis, though I am still thinking about that.

lou's picture

Excellent projections, I would cut Mays because he will make it through waiver claims and onto the practice squad and keep Kerridge who is a Kuhn like hammer (insurance for "Rip" going down) and a special teams ace, that would be my only change to your roster. Rogers and Brown really stuck out tonight, you can't coach instinct, Rogers has it and Brown was solid play after play, especially in the red zone.

Oppy's picture

Brian Price led all Packers' DL this preseason with 11 total tackles (6 solo), 2 forced fumbles, and a sack.

I don't know how he ranked on a per-snap basis.

It's no secret I've been pulling for this guy since I noticed him raising hell during last year's training camp. That said, I'll be very disappointed if the Packers cut Price in favor of keeping Ringo.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Finally, there is a second person who prefers Price to Ringo besides me. I have to tell you, Oppy, we are in a very small club. One might need to be over 55 to be in it.

Oppy's picture

Ringo is a familiar, catchy name and was a draft pick.

Price was an undrafted FA.

The overwhelming majority of people do not actually watch line play, they typically only pay attention to a defensive lineman if they are rushing the passer. This coincides with most fans believing sacks are the primary metric in a lineman's worth, followed by tackles.

Guys who play in the middle of the line, their worth often doesn't show up on stat sheets and some of the time, when they're doing their job to a very high level, the ball is nowhere near them (because they're doing their job to a high level), and if you don't actually watch line play, most people will never understand that.

This young man has a bunch of talent and his play is extremely physical. He has the ability to absolutely command a double team. He could be in the league a long time.

Oppy's picture

Am I the only person who is kinda thinking- and I know this is crazy- but maybe the Packers ought to think about cutting Hundley free and work on developing one of these other guys?

I know Hundley's arm, specifically his precision, can actually give Rodgers a run for the money at practice. I know he's poised and in control in practice. And I know his time in the system means he knows the playbook inside and out...

Yet, when he's on the field in real game situations, he just seems to fall short of the promise he shows in practice and fails to impress. He's not bad by any means.. but he just lacks "it".

Meanwhile, guys like Taysum Hill and even Callahan seem to just make plays when they are on the field, even if it isn't textbook or pretty, they seem to just get things going.

Just feels like Hundley isn't going to get any better. Why not move on and see if someone else develops.

Ugh. I'm torn. I like Hundley. But he's just missing something.

Slim11's picture

I thought I might be the only one who noticed this.

Hundley has the physical tools. Going into this season, he's expected to be well versed in the offense as the #2 QB, especially compared to Callahan and Hill.

Last season, I didn't see anything particularly impressive from Hundley during the little action he did get. The 2016 preseason was lost time for Hundley due to injury and Callahan made the most of it.

If I'm a GM needing a QB, I'm not certain I'd trade a draft pick higher than a sixth round for him. At least, not now, based upon the body of work from two out of three preseasons.

Finwiz's picture

>Am I the only person who is kinda thinking- and I know this is crazy- but maybe the Packers ought to think about cutting Hundley free and work on developing one of these other guys?<

Yes. Have this same gut feeling they can't let Hill go. Somehow I think he may just be better than Hundley, and may have passed him up in their eyes. The only big question mark with Hill is, can he stay healthy if he has to play for an extended period of time, given his college injury history?

snowdog's picture

Reminds me of RGIII

Colin_C's picture

Yep, I agree completely about him not have the "it" factor. Not sure about cutting him, but I do think Callahan and Hill have more upside. To my eyes, Callahan has the "it" factor of a good NFL QB. Now, if Rodgers went down, having either of those two guys at QB this season would be a scary thought. Still, trading Hundley before week one would be an interesting move.

Oppy's picture

I don't know that there's much trade value. I suppose, the Packers way would be get what you can for him. Sometimes 7th round picks turn into Donald Driver.

dobber's picture

I see zero chance the Packers go into 2017 with Hill or Callahan as the primary backup, and I don't see them picking up someone at cutdowns and installing him immediately as the #2.

In Edit: Does nobody remember the year of the collarbone? Hill is a great story, fun to watch: I get that. But he hasn't had to beat a defense that's game-planning against him and he's done very little from within the offense itself. He's been playing against mostly #3s and lower. He's been improvising and making plays and it's been fun to watch, but if he had to come into a game and play in place of #12 behind a GOOD OL that can protect him, any defense worth it's salt is going to shadow him with a speed guy, pass rush to contain him in the pocket, and dare him to make his progressions and throw the ball. He hasn't shown he can do that. I think Hundley gives the Packers a better chance to steal a game or two if #12 gets hurt.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agree with all you wrote, Dobber, while at the same time thinking Hundley is worth a 6th round pick. I don't think Hundley can read a defense, and hope never to find out.

Oppy's picture

Conventional wisdom agrees of course. However, what I see when Hundley in under center does not look, smell or feel like winning football. Callahan plays his ass off and tends to make things happen. That's also what we're seeing from Hill. With Callahan in particular, it feels as though the other ten guys on the field rally around him- something I also do not detect with Hundley on the field.

I just don't feel like Hundley is a game-winning QB. I wish I did. I like him. I see the skills and I know he's got a grasp on the playbook. But I feel no energy, momentum, or faith when he's under center.

Finwiz's picture

I agree they will keep all three RB's, and I don't know how good Williams really looks, other than catching passes.

I'm not so sure that Taysom Hill isn't better than Hundley. I think they would take a 3-4th round pick for Hundley and be fine with Hill as a backup. Very surprising find. TT has a talent for finding some very good QB's.

I think Donatello Brown looks better than Gunter. The INT Gunter had was a gift. He's standing 3 yards behind the receiver, and the receiver lets the ball go right through his hands and pops right into Gunter's arms. I could have made that interception with one hand. (I have big hands) Plus I'm old, and I could have still made that INT. Based on 40 time alone, I'd keep Donatello over Gunter. He showed very good anticipation and feel for where to be on his INT. Impressive.

I wouldn't be surprised if Fackrell gets cut, but I just don't think they will give up on him yet. Flip a coin.

As much as I want not to like him, and think one of these younger receivers might be better, Allison really impressed me last night, and the entire preseason for that matter. He's a lock to make the team, and make a contribution this year.

Colin_C's picture

Why don't you like Allison? Just curious...

Finwiz's picture

I guess I wish they could find a really fast type of guy that can stretch the field - just one. Unless Jordy gets his speed back, they won't have that. It's more about what I wish he was, vs. what he can actually do. He's a really good possession type receiver in my eyes, but maybe I'm underestimating him a little bit. He looked really good last night, but I think he lacks break-away speed, and we DO have plenty of those types.

dobber's picture

"The INT Gunter had was a gift..."

One of the rare instances where a guy gets ridiculed for actually making the play.

Finwiz's picture

Don't you think there's a difference, when evaluating personnel, between making a play on a ball due to athleticism, speed or reading the receivers move, vs a ball that pops up in the air like a balloon, and all you have to do is grab it?

Donatello Browns INT was far more impressive because he actually read the offense, watched the play develop, positioned himself perfectly - and caught the ball, thrown at full speed by the QB.

dobber's picture

There's absolutely a difference, but the fact remains that he made the play. Very easily, on a ball with COD, could have whiffed on it...but he didn't. I'm just saying that it's odd for a guy to get ripped on for making a play.

Finwiz's picture

A ball with "fish oil" on it? What the hail is COD??
You guys with your acronyms and assuming people know what you're talking about.

dobber's picture

"Change of direction"...gets used here all the time.

Finwiz's picture

So what was the reasoning for the LAME gameday chat, where it's all the sports writers talking to each other? Nobody else gets to comment, because you guys have the monopoly on football wisdom? You were all the guys claiming Janis was going to be cut about a month ago.

L's picture

Was fun to watch.

A Pickled Packer's picture

McCaffrey looked solid and secure covering punts. Davis put it on the ground twice. He takes his job. Gilbert got to the quarterback, Frackrell was a ghost and had a special teams holding penalty. G takes his job. On the only play Callahan gets to throw, he looked Tarkentonesgue out there with that spin move. The Packers find a way to keep him. Hundley looked quite pedestrian, and Hill too stiff. I like the idea of getting something for Hundley, anything. Maybe the Jags bite. tomorrow is cut down day. Will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

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