Preseason Week 2 - That's What Cheese Said

Breaking down locker room interviews and press conferences from Preseason Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens.

When Head Coach Matt LaFleur was asked about this past Thursday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, he echoed what a lot of Packers fans have expressed. There was some good, but overall it just wasn’t good enough. 

“I know we’re capable. We’ve shown it. We’ve shown some flashes of some really good stuff. And again, it just keeps coming back to the consistency,” said LaFleur. 

“10 guys can do their job right, and if one guy doesn’t, the play can turn to not being a good play.” 

The Packers missed 19 tackles on defense, and while that’s an improvement from the Texans game (24 missed tackles), that’s still a staggering number. Sure, arguments can be made that the starting defense wasn’t on the field for most of the game, and that no other NFL team has Lamar Jackson on their roster, but 19 missed tackles won’t get the job done during the regular season, and LaFleur knows it. 

“By and large, I thought they were more physical as a team last night,” said LaFleur. “I thought there were a lot of missed tackles out there. It’s not good enough.”

Not good enough. The theme of the night. 

“I think we were 3-of-12 or something like that on third down. That’s not good enough.”

But, as even LaFleur himself noted, there’s still some good to go with the not-so-good. 

“I thought we did a nice job in the red zone,” LaFleur said of the first-string defense. “We stiffened up in the red zone and it makes a huge difference when you’re holding teams. Instead of giving up 14 points, it’s a six-point game.”

Starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga agreed. There was some good to go along with some not good enough. 

“For the first few series, I thought we moved the ball well, up and down the field,” said Bulaga.  

“I think we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit on a couple of drives moving ourselves back, a few execution problems that we’ll watch and clean up, but for the first overall time in a game situation against an opponent in that environment, I thought we did okay.”

Bulaga noted the offensive line’s play specifically, indicating that in quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ absence (back tightness), DeShone Kizer still had time to stand in a protected pocket and complete passes. 

“One thing we’re going to watch and feel, I think pretty good about, is that he had time to stand in there and make the throws he needed to make,” said Bulaga. 

Defensive standout and new Packer, Za’Darius Smith, returned to his former stadium and had plenty of observations in the process. 

“We’ve just got to harp on the little things,” said Smith, who’s already become a vocal leader in his short time in Green Bay. 

“I just talked to the defense and we’re actually going to go in after we get back and go watch the film. We’ve just gotta keep working. Watch the little things that we did wrong and correct our mistakes at practice.”

Undrafted rookie inside linebacker Curtis Bolton, who stood out on a struggling defense, shared similar thoughts on the team’s defensive performance. 

“First glance, I’m not too happy. I thought I played a little bit too aggressive when I didn’t need to and I thought I played too passive when I needed to be more aggressive,” Bolton said.  “Nothing to be excited over.”

While Bolton might not be too impressed with his own performance against the Ravens, there’s plenty for him to build off of as the preseason progresses, especially at an inside linebacker position that has no designated starter opposite Blake Martinez currently. Bolton had one interception off a tipped pass from second-year cornerback Tony Brown, and six combined tackles against Baltimore. 

Perhaps the two biggest standouts for the Packers at M&T Bank Stadium were wide receivers Allen Lazard and Darrius Shepherd, who both earned their fair share of praise from LaFleur. 

“They’ve done a great job,” he said at his press conference yesterday. “I think you see it by the number of reps they’re getting. Shep was starting at kick return and punt return. And Allen has just done everything we’ve asked him to do, not only on offense but on special teams as well.” 

Furthering that sentiment, he added, “I do think you have to reward guys for, not only really good play, but the effort that they show on a daily basis. It’s consistent with both those guys.”

When asked about his individual performance in Baltimore, Lazard took an even-keeled approach. Against the Ravens, Lazard had three receptions for 63 yards, with all three receptions moving the chains for Green Bay. For the offense as a whole, Lazard currently leads the team in yards per reception with a whopping 22.5 yard average. 

“It’s just kind of an everyday mindset,” he said. “I’ve always kind of stood by the motto of play the next play. Whether the last play was good or bad, just always stay positive and put forth your best effort.”

Shepherd felt similarly about his own performance, even after snagging the team’s lone touchdown against the Ravens. On the night, he had three receptions for 11 yards and one touchdown, with two first downs of his own. 

“I just wanted to do my job and be consistent throughout the night,” he said. “Go in each day and take advantage of my opportunities when they come. I just try and work my technique and hone my craft, and do what I do in the slot.” 

LaFleur has yet to determine the amount of playing time the quarterbacks will see in Winnipeg on Thursday night against the Raiders. The hope is that Rodgers will get the start, but there’s no word yet as to whether Kizer or Tim Boyle will get the second-team reps behind him.

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (9)

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LayingTheLawe's picture

August 17, 2019 at 03:17 pm

I could care less about the score of a preseason game. Never forget the Detroit Lions were 4 - 0 in the preseason and then went 0 - 16.

What does need to happen is that the team needs to be more sharp. By all accounts practice has been more "relaxed" under the new regime and I worry there is a tendency to not pay attention to all the details when that is the case. Bad tackling and penalties might be indications of this.

There's a lot of time before anyone starts making pronouncements about how good or bad this team is, and the "Number 12 Deodorant" may cover up a lot of bad smells. We need to pay attention to the little details to see the progress of this team.

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stockholder's picture

August 17, 2019 at 04:36 pm

WEAK. I don't like the response. I understand Matt's sign reads, "Team Under Work." But it's just to much sugar coating for me. It's time to remove that 11th guy. Get OUT! See screw up. Get out. Take a play off. It will never end if he doesn't. Being passive doesn't expose their wrong. ( 10 others guys just did their job? ) LeFleur's coaches must be brave and show no fear. New players must understand this. Sure nobody wants to be caught on camera. Adams didn't. But sometimes it makes a player realize he can, and must do better.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 18, 2019 at 02:41 am

It is easy to be judge with no responsibility... First of all, no coaches, not even HC can release any player. It is the duty and obligation of GM! Coaches job is not the roster composition. Coaches may ask for player with specific characteristics, but rarely for player XY.

Second, after you release all players that made mistakes, are you sure you can find better? And how do you imagine to build chemistry of the team with constantly changes players because of one mistake, or several mistakes (different mistakes) which player will never do again.

What is training camp? What are preseason games? This features is meant to allow coaches to teach players and player to learn. Not for punishment.

It is one proverb our nation has: "It is easy to strike repeatedly a nettle with someone else's d*ck!"

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stockholder's picture

August 18, 2019 at 08:57 am

Craot read again. I didn't say anything about releasing any player for a screw -up. I said get them out of there for a play. Every player can screw up.

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sbransbottom's picture

August 19, 2019 at 01:36 pm

In croats defense, you never specified whether you meant removing said player from the game or the team. I myself also thought you were saying from the team.

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Packer Fan's picture

August 17, 2019 at 07:34 pm

I will say this again. Too many preseason games. What we get is a football game from the bottom half of the roster. Sloppy game. How about 2 preseason games which the starters play at least the first half for each game. What do you think?

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dobber's picture

August 17, 2019 at 09:35 pm

"What we get is a football game from the bottom half of the roster. "

45 guys fighting for half a dozen spots, or a shot at someone else's roster. Everyone's trying to put something on film.

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4thand10's picture

August 17, 2019 at 09:48 pm

In the past, on newerish teams....and I’d say this roster has had a work over, they have played starters well into a half. I’m all for it. You have to see what your working with and I don’t think practice tells the whole story on that. Don’t have to open the whole playbook but audibles, checkdowns etc ... need to be put to the acid test.

So far, I thought we were going to get a little bit bigger on the d-line...but we didn’t ( again) . That 2-4-5 alignment just gets smoked by RPOs and double tight end sets. Doesn’t mean the players are bad, and it’s early but ya just can’t play certain types of defenses against certain types of offenses .

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Coldworld's picture

August 18, 2019 at 08:26 am

I don’t know, Clark & Lancaster together remains an option. We got bigger with the Smiths and Gary. I think it all depends on who does what and from where in this D.

LaFleur mentioned that they won’t be using Gary in September as he will be used in the Preseason. I don’t think he is the only one on the team to which that applies. They seem to be testing players to determine areas to work on and to better establish strengths and weaknesses against opponents. I have to say that has a certain appeal.

LaFleur does things differently to MM. it’s not an in your face revolution, but I think changes in philosophy towards the preseason are becoming identifiable. Let’s give him a chance to show what those yield.

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