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2011 Pre Season Game 3: Studs/Duds

The third preseason game is now done, with the Packers beating the Colts in stylish fashion, 24-21.  The offense got a 10-0 lead pretty quickly, then one of our young defenders made a pathetic mistake (more on this later), and the comeback had begun.  The game got increasingly frustrating, with a stale offense, an offensive line that proves once again it cannot block for a 3rd and 1 play, shoddy QB protection, shoddy coverage, and so on and so on and so on.  Then, with 3:45 left in the game, down by 8 points, Graham Harrell and the offense came alive, driving the field, and scoring the tying TD and two point conversion. 

Then, that sneaky McCarthy called a surprise on-sides kick, recovered it, and the offense drove 30 yards to kick the game winning FG, whoa!  There were a few guys who stood out in the middle of this mess, and a few who were exploited.  Here is a quick glance of who shined and who’s light may be burning out……

STUD:  It is kind of a given but Aaron Rodgers is definitely in mid-season form, Fu Manchu and all.  He was really sharp throughout the first half (19-23, 204 yards, 1 TD) even with a nice 30 yard TD called back for holding.  He spread the ball around, even without Greg Jennings there, he looked like the reigning Superbowl MVP!

DUD:  While I have complained about the offensive line for the past two games, which has been warranted, tonight, they were even more inept.  Chad Clifton looked awful attempting to block Dwight Freeney, giving up two sacks on back to back drives, and getting flagged for holding which nullified a TD.  Our offensive line has now given up 14 sacks throughout the preseason, and most have come when the starters are out there, so James Campen has less than two weeks to fix the problem or he will become the new version of Jarrett Bush.

STUD:  He has started showing promise as the best blocking TE in camp, and showed flashes last week against the Cardinals, but Ryan Taylor (3 catches for 24 yards, 1 TD, 1 2 point conv) has solidified his roster spot with a stellar 4th quarter, scoring the game tying TD and two point conversion inside the last minute of the game.  He has climbed to the number 3 TE at least, and has shown why TT took a flier in drafting him, despite every other Draft expert saying “who is this guy, they already drafted D.J. Williams and have plenty of TEs”.

DUD:  The game was well in hand, Packers up 10-0 in the middle of the 2nd quarter, when out of nowhere, Reggie Wayne is streaking down the left sideline, with no one within 20 yards of him.  Upon the replay, we got to see Morgan Burnett converging on the short route, along with the CB and LB, leaving Wayne all alone down field.  He took full blame for the play, but that gives me little satisfaction until he fixes those lapses and follows the rule of thumb, never let anyone behind you.  He did fill in nicely on some running plays and appeared to have a great pass break-up against Garcon, but should have been penalized for pass interference.  He cannot do those mental mistakes with Brees and Co. coming soon!

STUD:  While fighting for a roster spot, Vic So’oto had a big game (3 solo, 1 assist, 1 strip sack) and gave the management some more to think about it.  I did not have So’oto making the squad in my Final 53 piece, and he still may not, but he gave himself a fighting chance, especially with Zombo sidelined.  He played the run decent, and seems to have the right body for our OLB rather than the smaller, quicker guys.

DUD:  Ryan Grant better be glad he took that paycut, because he does not look like a $4 million dollar RB.  He had very suspect run blocking, but did next to nothing with the opportunities he was given.  Preseason means very little in the grand scheme of things but if he starts slow early into the season, I definitely see him falling down the depth chart, if he hasn’t already.

STUD:  On the other hand, James Starks looked rather productive in the passing game (5 catches for 38 yards) even though he was given only 1 carry for 2 yards.  He looked explosive when turning up field, had a little necessary lateral movement, and powered forward.  By game three of the season, I do not see how he will not be the leading RB on the depth chart.  It does not matter who starts the game, but who finishes it and I would rather have Starks!

DUD:  It was probably a good learning experience, but Sam Shields got abused by Reggie Wayne throughout the first half.  He had nothing to do with long TD, but Wayne ran circles around him for a few 10-12 yard gainers.  Wayne is Pro-Bowler, and Shields is a second year CB, but I feel Capers locked him onto Wayne just for that reason, to get beat and see where to improve.

STUD:  It is hard to call our best players STUDS because it is a given, but JerMichael Finley looks ready to go (4 catches for 41 yards, 1 TD) for the regular season.  He did sprain his ankle, so hopefully that will be only a minor watch, but he looks hungry.  The Saints defense better be ready, if the offensive line holds up, ARodge and TGIF will be on Sportscenter’s top 10!

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11 Responses to “2011 Pre Season Game 3: Studs/Duds”

  1. […] He spread the ball without Greg Jennings, where he looked like the reigning Super Bowl MVP! Click HERE , to read the […]

  2. John Zoul says:

    Ryan Taylor, right now, is the number two tight end behind Finley. D.J. Williams dropped a ball, but, it did appear to be thrown a tad behind him. Still, he knows he should have caught it. Quarless and Crabtree are on the bubble. C. West would’ve had another TD save a holding penalty on Clifton, who played poorly.

    The main issue to work on, for at least the third consecutive year, is the offensive line and pass protection. Here’s what I see:1) Clifton is aging and may not last the year, 2) T.J. Lang, a question mark, 3) Scott Wells, look for us to draft a center to replace Wells next draft, he’s pedestrian at best, 4) Sitton gave up a sack, but, is probably our best offensive lineman (at least at this point), 5) Bulaga, is solid and yet in his second year, a work-in-process and is steadily improving, 6) Sherrod, so far, shows he has a lot to learn (please not another first round bust!), 7) Newhouse, 2nd-string tackle, 8) Campbell-2nd-string tackle, and frankly number nine is anyone’s guess…

    I guarantee you there will be at least two relative surprises concerning the final 53-man roster. Some possibilities: L. Guy and F. Zombo to be both put on the PUP-list…or Guy gets released and they try to keep him on the taxi squad. I believe Underwood and P. Lee are destined to be cut. Both disappointments, especially Lee. Brad Jones I think is going to be cut.

    A few players with good shots to make the final roster are: C. West, Gurley, Vic So’oto, and B. Ross. Ryan Grant is fortunate he’s got a guaranteed contract, because if he did not, he would be released. It looks to me that the ankle injury has stripped him of his power and acceleration. He looks to be done. I truly hope he proves me wrong. Right now, he and Sherrod, along with Brad Jones, are the biggest disappointments of the 2011 preseason.

    • Billy Needham says:

      The offensive line problems is a pain in my backside! Clifton is definitely aging and there is nothing we can do but hope he holds out because he has nobody behind him that can do better. Lang will be OK I think, he just needs reps. I think Wells is much better than just “pedestrian”, he has held the spot for several years, is very smart with the D formation calls, and when he did lose his job for a season to Spitz, he worked harder, reclaimed it, and played better than before. Sitton is an excellent Guard, I just think he had his head up his rear, and did not play his technique due to the fact that it was preseason. He has given up two sacks in the past two seasons and he gave up two in consecutive preseason games, just lack of concentration. Finally, Bulaga is growing and will turn into a all-NFC North OT, but I do not think he will be a Pro-Bowler type, but he will be very steady which I am fine with. Drafting a Center this upcoming draft is a perfect scenario, good call!

  3. John Zoul says:

    What are your thoughts on: C. West, Gurley, B. Ross, V. So’oto, J. Lattimore, K.C. Adiodu, Ricky Elmore, Schauderlaff, and L. Guy?

    Also, your thoughts on which veterans will be released?

    • Like I have said in the past, I still think Gurley beats West for last WR, punt blocking skills (5 in camp) and very tall (6’4). Hopefully Ross sticks on practice squad, keeping Wood, Williams, Shields, Bush, Gordy, and probably Lee. If either So’oto or Lattimore make team, definitely think So’oto does, with Indy game and bigger size. Adiodu was a camp body IMO. Elmore is gone, maybe on practice squad, Schauderlaff and Guy are both practice squad bodies too, not NFL ready yet.

  4. robbie says:

    okay yes burnett blew a coverage god forbid someone with 3 real nfl games worth of experience blow a coverage….other than that play tho all preseason he has been blowing up running backs wr’s and breaking up passes….thats worth some mention…

    • I praised Burnett after the Cleveland game, and at the end of the paragraph above for his run defense, and he has performed well there but making excuses for youth and inexperience will not make me feel better if Brees exploits him all game next Thursday. He has a year and a half experience, not 3 games. I think he will become a very good safety, he just cannot have those brain farts. A good tackle does not equal a blown coverage IMO.

  5. robbie says:

    and yea he is a stub but hopefully rodgers doesnt just lock onto him all the time i understand why he does because this is truely the first domanite weapon he has ever played with but he’s got to spread the ball out still, in the redzone tho he should go to finley 8 out of 10 times then either a jump ball to jones or hit an open jennings (which amazes me every time it happens how does he always end up open in the endzone? i dont understand it…and the thing i love about rodgers and why i say he’s better than peyton or brady is if all else fails he doesnt just take a 13 second sack or throw the ball away….he runs it in for a TD..something neither brady or manning can do..

    • You are exactly right, Finley is dominant, and AAron does seem to get locked onto him, but hell, he seems to be the first to get open, because he can seperate from LBs and Safeties quicker then our WRs can from their CBs. He will be a red zone demon this season, but Aaron must find the defense’s weakness. If they double Finley, we have plenty of weapons who can easily win their matchup. Aaron’s the best dual threat IMO because he is deadly on the run. Vick is the best scrambler but is not as accurate throwing on the run, especially going to his right. Aaron has MVP written all over him!

  6. John Zoul says:

    …Let’s hope we get our offensive line straightened out first…otherwise, Rodgers will not make it through the season…

    I must say, I’m very high on C. West, Gurley and Randall Cobb…also, Ryan Taylor and D.J. Williams…

    Disappointments to date: P. Lee, Brad Jones, D. Sherrod, and Ryan Grant.

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