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The Good and Bad, Preseason Week 2 Edition

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The Good and Bad, Preseason Week 2 Edition

Aside from watching players on the fringe of a roster spot, I’m sure we’re all about ready for preseason to wrap up. Injuries are mounting for the Packers after their first two games of August. But there were marked improvements in Saturday’s win over Washington. With that, the following are some takeaways from Saturday—starting with the bad, so we can leave on a high note. 
 

The Bad 

 

Spriggs regression continues

The second year former second-round pick is off to a rough start—and that’s putting it mildly. Spriggs followed last week’s bungle against Philly with an even worse performance against Washington. What’s more, there hasn’t been a singular weakness—Spriggs has been all-around bad. Here’s what Zach Kruse of PackersWire scribed in a Monday post
 
“The worrisome part of Spriggs’ start to 2017 is he’s getting beat in a bunch of different ways. He’s losing the hand battle. He’s losing against power. He’s losing against speed. He’s getting beat to the outside and the inside. His technique is sloppy and inconsistent.”
 
Through two preseason games, the Packers’ depth on the offensive line has become a cause for concern—particularly after the injury to swing man Don Barclay. Spriggs isn’t a player penciled in to play significant snaps in 2017, but he’s a reserve at a position of significant importance. If David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga succumb to injury, the Packers could be in trouble protecting their most important player. 
 
 

Concussions pile up as injury bug bites again

This year’s version of the dreaded hamstring injury may well be concussions if these first few weeks of preseason are any indication. Cornerback LaDarius Gunter and linebackers Derrick Mathews and Jordan Tripp have been evaluated for concussions following Saturday’s preseason win at Washington. All three injuries occurred in the second half, the result of a blitzkrieg of dangerous head collisions and just a week removed from potential starting “star” slot corner Damarious Randall suffering a wicked blindside hit from Bryce Treggs. (Treggs was slapped with a deserving $25,000 fine Monday.) 
 
Concussions are scary, and though from a timetable perspective are usually favorable compared to significant ligament injuries, they’re nothing to mess with. Just ask Sam Shields. Some may speculate that the absence of hits in practice setting leads to players being less equipped to handle contact in a live game setting. That’s hogwash. The science says cut down on overall collisions and you cut down on concussions. So far, the Packers are unlucky. 
 
The injury bug has bit others, as well, including Davon House (hamstring) and Dean Lowry (knee), the latter of which occurred on a nasty hyperextension. The Packers need a few weeks of good fortune if they’re not to hobble into the regular season. 
 
 

The Good 

 

Versatility is the magic word

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ first-team offense orchestrated a 15-play scoring drive against Washington that provided a glimpse of how difficult it could be for opposing defenses to stop the unit this season. You’ve already heard it in the offseason, and it’s not likely to go away: This team is versatile. The fade route touchdown to Martellus Bennett, a play set up by a pre-snap formation shift against a heavy Washington front, is a prominent example of the team’s offensive adaptability. Green Bay has running backs who can catch, tight ends who can block and catch, an assortment of receivers with perimeter and slot skills and a mobile quarterback with the best arm in the league. 
 
This is a team that may be at its best when a ton of players get involved, rather than depending upon the likes of Jordy Nelson to carry the load. 
 

Defensive back end in safe hands

Another reserve defensive back, this time Marwin Evans, performed this week at a level that should just about guarantee a roster spot come September. While the corners are currently banged up, the team is rich at safety with starters Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett and reserves Kentrell Brice, Evans and Josh Jones. Each of the backups is blessed with solid athleticism, physical play styles and a nose for the football. 
 
The overall strength of the defensive backfield may well depend on the cornerbacks, but in segmenting the group safety appears to be a definite position of strength heading into the season.
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

GBPDAN1's picture

Spriggs needs to be replaced as the back up tackle. TT better be working feverishly on a plan to correct this mistake

sonomaca's picture

Very odd that Spriggs is getting beat by speed. Wasn't that his strong suit? Too bad. He looked and performed so well in his Under Armours.

Mojo's picture

Of the Packerswire Zach Kruse vids of Spriggs the one he got from Nagler was one of the more unique I've seen in awhile.

I can't recall seeing a o-lineman set-up around three feet in front of an opponent and nearly completely whiff on the block. I mean barely touch him. And it wasn't an angle block, the guy is right in front of him. It's almost hard to do. It would be laughable if it weren't our guy.

Turophile's picture

Spriggs is rubbish now, just very bad.

While that is worrying, it doesn't mean he won't get better. We'll see how he is doing near the end of the season.

flackcatcher's picture

Spriggs is dealing with three issues football wise. One: His body has not caught up with his head. Spriggs is heavier, with more weight, more muscle mass, he is flat out bigger than he was last year. Two: Technique. To be blunt, Spriggs has rarely used pro pass protection before he was drafted by the packers. Indiana ran a run-shoot option offense, the kind which did not require the deep sets that the NFL uses. Three: His brain. Spriggs is having trouble processing all that information . He understands it, but he can't convert it to football just yet. It shows up all the time in his footwork. He knows were he want to go, but is literally tripping over his own feet. Frankly, Spriggs needs time for his body to grow and adapt to what he is learning. Packers see Spriggs was their future RT, question is can they wait for him.

croatpackfan's picture

Very nice observation. Tend to agree with you!

BradHTX's picture

Thank you for posting such detailed and fact-based analysis on Spriggs's issues. It's so incredibly refreshing after the non-stop barrage of "He's a bust, cut him" from the idiots.

egbertsouse's picture

Yeah, the guys who say "cut him" are the idiots.

egbertsouse's picture

Yeah, the guys who say "cut him" are the idiots.

egbertsouse's picture

Yeah, the guys who say "cut him" are the idiots.

Otto's picture

I'm wondering if he's injured. He was so stiff and slow in his movements, it seemed like he might be dealing with some sort of back injury. He didn't look fluid at all. It's pretty unusual for a player to regress that significantly without it being tied to an injury.

chugwater's picture

Bad: Lowry out with a knee injury. Hope it's not too serious.

Colin_C's picture

Bad-

Our run blocking is next to worthless. I feel back for these rookie RB's trying to make the team, and they get hit in the backfield every time. The pass protection is pretty lackluster as well.

The backup OLB's have me concerned as well. Other then that, I thought this was a solid team effort.

Good-

These safeties are flat out fantastic. I never really cared much for Evans last season, but boy, has he come out of nowhere. At this point he surpassed Brice (who is also playing well).

Apparently Lowry avoided major injury, and it just a short term thing. That is fantastic news.

Allison looks much better this season to me. Last year, most of his wow plays came on scramble drills. Now, he's beating coverage consistently, breaking tackles, and making moves in the open field.

Don't look now, but Kalif Phillips is looking like the real deal. Given nothing, he's making at least something every time. Plus he can pass block well. I'll be watching him the next two games.

flackcatcher's picture

I think the packers know who they want on their 53. The only question is how many slots per positions. That will determine how many will make the practice squad who can be called up vs developmental players. What is interesting is how vocal both the coaching staff and front office has been in praising the players in the camp. Far more than just PR. The number of players that took 'the jump' in this camp is impressive. Packers must be doing something right in the off season.

Since '61's picture

I would add Callahan to the bad. He has done nothing in the preseason to move the offense at all.
Hill on the other hand should be added to the good. He has led the team to Two TDs, one in each game. I realize it's preseason but for a UDFA in his first NFL action he looks OK for 3rd string or PS.
Our secondary is going to be OK if our CBs, especially House get healthy. As of today, I think that we can start House, King and Rollins with Hawkins, Randall and Pipkins as the backups. That group with Burnett, Dix, Brice, Jones and Evans as the safeties and we're good. Backup OLs and backup OLBs look like concerns. Spriggs needs to work on his footwork, it's terrible. Maybe the pro game is still too fast for him and he'll catch up but maybe he won't and if he doesn't we don't have a decent backup tackle. I thought Lucas Patrick looked mediocre as well, especially in the run game. Fackrell and Elliot really haven't shown much yet. Our pass rush is lacking in general. Our starters apply some pressure but don't get home. In regular season games against better QBs and better OLs the opposing QBs will be too comfortable in the pocket unless our pass rush improves. I'll be looking for an improved pass rush during the next 2 preseason games. Thanks, Since '61

mnklitzke's picture

Callahan needs to get some time from his line. Spriggs has gotten him KILLED. I think Callahan is rattled right now as his line isn't giving him any help. Get his confidence back and he will be impressive again like last year.

Colin_C's picture

Agreed! I still think Callahan has the IT factor of an NFL QB. I know he's not always flashy, but his accuracy is much better than Hill's, and his pocket presence significantly better than Hundley's. Keep in mind this is year 2 from going from DIII to the NFL. He's still adjusting to the game's speed I'm sure.

Since '61's picture

He wasn't impressive last season unless you count being cut 3 times as impressive. Thanks, Since '61

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

On the fade to Bennett, GB put Kendricks and Bennett out wide, with Nelson and Adams in the slot. I wonder how defenses will align to counter that?

flackcatcher's picture

Pray.

croatpackfan's picture

I see very little "love" here for LaDarius Gunter. Maybe he is not deserving love. But I think you all are very unjust to him.
My opinion on Gunter is that he did great job last season. Yes, he was beaten, especially from elite WR in the post season.
Is that strange?
You forget that they are ELITE WR for reason. Faster and more experienced CBs were beaten by those ELITE WR, often and ugly. So, what did you expect from LaDarius?
He gave everything to help the team. And, I'm loyal guy. I admire that attitude LaDarius had (and have). If there is better players that LaDarius, I'm OK with that. They should go in front of him.
But most of you forget one very important thing LaDarius posses while others do not. Experience of almost full season playing in NFL.
I think that experience and his devotion, honesty and hard working are the reasons why LaDarius is reliable player and why Packers coaches try to find the best way of using him.
Just to remind that I read here often and in large numbers what busts were/are DR, QR and Josh Hawkins. Suddenly, they are excellent...
I hope coaches will find position and role for LaDarius and he will be part of the Packers team in the future.
I'm the person who supports attitude LaDarius posses.
Thank you!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Gunter is now our 7th CB. People get beat out. It happens.

croatpackfan's picture

I agree. But that position you mentioned is your opinion, not team depth chart. I suggest we all sit down and wait the cut decision.

With that what I said I'm not claiming Gunter is in. I do not know. Just I would like to see he receive respect he deserve for what he did for the Packers. That is all!

Since '61's picture

Croat - based on what he did for the Packers he should be chucked. He is not good enough to play against starting receivers in the NFL. He is too slow and his technique was poor last season. Opposing QBs consistently went at him last season with success. Gunther allowed 8 TD passes, had 0 picks and opposing QBs had a 112.4 passing rating against him. He usually had safety support which is one among many reasons why the middle of the field was wide open against the Packers defense. When he was left alone he was lost out there. Gunther doesn't have any upside left. I agree with ALP that he is currently our 7th best CB. I would chuck Gunther and Goodson and move on. We could and should pickup another experienced CB when the cuts are made. Thanks, Since '61

Spock's picture

Croat, I've been one of the few not bagging on Gunter. He was put into a really tough situation last year and never complained. Yes, he's slow, but plays with good technique and can play multiple positions (slot, outside CB). Coach Witt publicly said he regretted having to put Gunter into unwinnable situations (cover Julio Jones), but with the attrition at CB he had no choice. Whether Gunter makes it to the 53 or not will depend on how the completion plays out. However, you make an excellent point in that there is no substitute for game experience. I wish him well.

Bure9620's picture

croatpackerfan, I have to respectfully disagree with you on Gunter. Did he fill in and do admirable job last year given his limited athleticism? Yes he did. Until he got "Julioed." But there is no such thing as "loyalty" in the NFL. The best players play. Period. The Packers owe Ladarius nothing other than his agreed upon contractual salary. Actually they don't even owe him a chance to compete if they don't want to give him one. We have drafted a corner, aquired a corner in FA, the drafted R's are healthy and we may have found a sleeper in Hawkins. The NFL stands for NOT FOR LONG. Ladarius is owed mother more or less the the other 89 players than a chance to compete.

croatpackfan's picture

It is not the question of debt or any kind of obligation. It is question of experience and accomodation to the NFL speed, which Gunter posses. I said I'm loyal, not that Packers need to be. I said also that I'm OK if there are better players " If there is better players that LaDarius, I'm OK with that. They should go in front of him."), but you have to respect all what I wrote about Gunter and I think you may agree with me (his devotion, honesty and hard working). That is the reason why I will not spit on the player who gave (I believe) all he can to help team we are fans of. If he is not good enough, than he will leave the team. I have no problm with that. I have problem with attitude some (many?) fans showing here when we are talking about Gunter!
That is what bothers me!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed, Croat. I like Gunter. He is hard-working, and a tough-nosed player. Good character. GB front office should put a plus next to his name for intangibles. If he had a mishap off the field, the front office should be loyal and assume that he didn't do it (unless he is proven guilty or admits it) or won't do it again (depends on what the infraction is, I suppose, but you know what I mean). That said, I think 6 CBs - House, R&R, King, Hawkins and Pipkens - are just better CBs. If we have room for 7 CBs, I'd strongly consider Gunter over Brown because I know what Gunter can do and there are match-ups he is well suited for.

Bure9620's picture

I understand your point in respecting him and his hard work and devotion but I don't think that is what fans have an issue with. Are you really saying he is more devoted and hard working than Rollins and Randall and House and Hawkins and King??? Fans have an issue with his speed, which matters for corners to close. Hawkins is better and was frankly outstanding the other night. When Gunter gets beat off the line he's toast because he lacks top end speed to close back on the receiver. I do however like his height (6'2") and his long arms but his speed will always be a liability. He has very little room for error becuause of this.
This is why Gunter will never be an elite corner. I don't know who is "spitting" on him I certainly was not, but you have to be realistic about what he is. Right now, he's the

Bure9620's picture

I understand your point in respecting him and his hard work and devotion but I don't think that is what fans have an issue with. Are you really saying he is more devoted and hard working than Rollins and Randall and House and Hawkins and King??? Fans have an issue with his speed, which matters for corners to close. Hawkins is better and was frankly outstanding the other night. When Gunter gets beat off the line he's toast because he lacks top end speed to close back on the receiver. I do however like his height (6'2") and his long arms but his speed will always be a liability. He has very little room for error becuause of this.
This is why Gunter will never be an elite corner. I don't know who is "spitting" on him I certainly was not, but you have to be realistic about what he is. Right now, he's the 7th corner

Bure9620's picture

I understand your point in respecting him and his hard work and devotion but I don't think that is what fans have an issue with. Are you really saying he is more devoted and hard working than Rollins and Randall and House and Hawkins and King??? Fans have an issue with his speed, which matters for corners to close. Hawkins is better and was frankly outstanding the other night. When Gunter gets beat off the line he's toast because he lacks top end speed to close back on the receiver. I do however like his height (6'2") and his long arms but his speed will always be a liability. He has very little room for error becuause of this.
This is why Gunter will never be an elite corner. I don't know who is "spitting" on him I certainly was not, but you have to be realistic about what he is. Right now, he's the 7th corner

PETER MAIZ's picture

I finally saw the game and frankly thought the Redskins at least provided a defensive rush. 5 sacks vs. one for the packers. In many ways they outplayed us, if not by points. The Packers did stop the run and they've finally found the talent in the secondary.
The offensive line was pretty bad, holes were not present for the runners. They haven't developed Lacy talent yet. Spriggs is going to be a problem backup, maybe send him to PS and give him a year to develop. There are still a lot of unanswered questions . I would give the Packers a "B" and the Redskins a "B+". The good thing is that Capers will be using the Nitro. But the linebackers still need to get opposing quarterbacks to at least quiver.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Peter of course the Redskins looked better than the Packers but make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Can you honestly say that Aaron Rodgers drive for 1 series looked worse than Cousins playing for an entire half? The Packers 2nd amd 3rd string players were up against the Redskin 1 and 2s. That's like wondering why Gunter was beat by Julio to refer to Croat's comments. Our backup Oline looked bad which is why we gave up sacks and couldn't run the ball. The Redskins couldn't run it either. They had 2 big plays both and dumpoff wheel routes to the rbs. The Packers did create pressure through constant blitzing and good DL play. This led to bad passes from Cousins when he was forced to pass too early. For how long they had their starters in I have Washington a D for the night. Packers stopped the run, created turnovers, Aaron carved up the defense, Hundley and Hill moved the ball. Packers were good but had room to improve so I agree with a B.

PatrickGB's picture

I really doubt that Spriggs gets cut and don't think he is going to the PS given his draft position and his being on last years roster. Perhaps his confidence is shaken and he is growing into his body. Right now Murphy looks better and should be the first one off the bench if Bak gets injured. I'd give Spriggs another year and if he still sucks then trade him for a low round pick. Cut their losses and pick up another TT mid round gem like he has in the past. I never thought I would say this but I hope Barkley get well enough to be the primary backup on the Oline.

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