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2011 Pre Season Game 1: Studs/Duds

By Billy Needham

The first preseason game for the defending Superbowl champs was the Browns in Cleveland Brown Stadium. The game was pretty uneventful, even bland through some parts, with the Pack falling 27-17 in the end. The offensive starters played two series, scoring a TD on one of them, the 2nd string played the rest of the first half, scoring 10 points, and the 3rd string stunk up the entire second half, getting shut out, giving up defensive TDs, the whole nine yards. Here is a quick glance at who shined and whose light may be burning out….

STUD: Matt Flynn really looked pretty crisp, finishing 11-18 for 126 yards, 1 TD. Modest numbers but considering the large amounts of pressure coming at him, he really handled it well. The throw on 3rd and 10 from the 11 yard line to Cobb initiating the final two minute drive was fantastic. Getting hit in the chin, he released a laser to Cobb before he had even turned in from his break, sticking the ball into his hands. He went on to engineer a great drive capping it off with a TD (very lucky) to Havner with about 25 seconds left. I can see the buzz surrounding his free agency next season.

DUD: The pass rush!!! Last year, the Pack were tied for 2nd in the NFL and the Brown’s QBs were having a tea party back there, with little to no pressure. Yeah, we did not have CM3 rushing, Capers probably called the most vanilla blitzes, but I still hated to see the perfect pocket every snap. Anyway, the Brown’s QBs carved up the defense for the most part and the pass rush was a big part of it. Kudos to Josh Gordy, for getting the only sack on a CB blitz, well played sir!

STUD: Randall Cobb had him a nice first showing! He caught 3 for 60 yards; one being a beautiful diving catch, one the 3rd and 10 clutch catch deep in their own territory, and another 3rd down catch and run for 28 yards. He averaged 29 yards on his two kickoff returns, and did nothing with his one punt return. I find it hard to believe they only gavr him one punt, but we have plenty of time. He is a rookie but he will give us better field position every game and spell the WRs when fatigue or injuries kick in, and maybe a trick play or two????

DUD: The Offensive line!!! Just like the pass rush, I wish I could single out individual performances but the o-line gave up 5 sacks, two causing fumbles, and one returned for a TD. I cannot elaborate how pitiful it was watching those guys run for their lives or throwing the ball away. Get it together James Campen!!!

STUD: The kicking game was in tune. Crosby hit on his only attempt, and sent every kickoff I saw several yards into the endzone. Masthay hit his punts for a 52.2 average, but unfortunately out kicked his coverage a few times. The two looked as if they had used the lockout time to master their skills, lets just hope it lasts!

DUD: Graham Harrell looked pretty bad to me, finishing 11-22 for 100 yards. He was on the run for a lot of the second half, but showed little to me that he could actually be our primary backup.

STUD: In limited time, Morgan Burnett had a good game, having the two plays in a row, hammering Peyton HIllis in the back with Raji for a one yard gain, and making a great open field tackle out in the flats on 3rd and 1, for a one yard loss. Peprah on the other hand, was in on a few completions, against backups at that so was last year more of the players he had around him, or him actually being starting material. It should be a good battle throughout camp, but Burnett should win and Peprah backing both safety spots.

DUD: Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush looked pretty bad in coverage, giving up large chunks at a time throughout the first half, leading to 14 points for the Browns. Both looked very unimpressive against no name WRs for the Browns. They, especially Lee, better get it together quickly because young guys, like Josh Gordy (1 sack, 1 INT) may take their job.

Overall, it was a Clint Eastwood performance, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We lost to the Browns last preseason in the first game so I am just thinking repeat!!!!!!!!!

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6 Responses to “2011 Pre Season Game 1: Studs/Duds”

  1. colorado packer fan says:

    Have to disagree on your review of Harrell – I thought he actually handled himself pretty well given what he had to work with. I only saw 1 or 2 bad passes – no doubt he needs to work on ball protection. He actually threw some pretty long passes that were very catchable – cant blame him for dropped passes and terrible protection. Flynn probably would not have looked any better with the 3rd string. A back-up QB would not have to play in a real game with these guys, so until we see him play with the 1st and 2ndteam it is pretty hard to provide an honest assessment.

  2. Billy Needham says:

    Noted, he did have a few dropped passes and was definitely on the run, but I saw him overthrow Jordy on a deep pass down the right sideline, I saw him throw behind James Jones. We have one of the deepest WR corps in all of the NFL, so our 2’s and 3’s that do not make our team will absolutely make other squads. The pass protection was probably the biggest factor, because he had happy feet, and threw a few off his back foot floating the ball. I am not saying he is not any good, and that was only the 1st preseason game, but I still do not want him going into an actual game.

  3. John Zoul says:

    G. Harrell is developing…I agree with both previous assessments, in that his protection was sub par, at best, along with at least two dropped passes.

    A few other thoughts…So far, Pat Lee has been outplayed by J. Gordy and the UFA who has two picks. Chastin West deserves a spot on the 53-man roster as a WR. Will the odd man out be Driver? I know he’s loved as a Packer, but, this also is a business. I would hate to lose West by putting him on the practice squad. Also, TE’s…Quarless continues dropping passes. I prefer DJ Williams, Tom Crabtree and Ryan Taylor over him. Brad Jones has been lackluster…Havner needs to produce…I hope they give him more playing time to see if he should stay or go…I liked the screen to Alex Green…A big improvement over B. Jackson as far as acceleration, speed and moves…But, can he block? L. Guy should be put on the PUP list…have not seen what he can do, yet…
    Questions: Any news on the status of Mike Neal’s knee? He needs to show what he can do, but, let’s not bring him back too soon. I noticed no one has picked-up Justin Harrell…is he a viable option or is he “toast”?…Lastly, any updates on Johnny Jolly? Has he been re-instated or is he no longer a viable option because of his twice being caught with codeine in his car (along with driving on a suspended license)? We are painfully thin at DL…

    • Billy Needham says:

      I have a new assessment of Harrell coming on next write-up. I agree Gordy has outplayed Lee, Zombo and Walden have easily outplayed Jones, and West will definetly make a team, just probably not the Pack. I am seeing that they are definetly high on West, but also on Tori Gurley beacuase of his size (6’4 and 215) as compared to West (6’1 and 215). They will not cut Driver, but this may be his last year. I personally would not miss Quarless, he has shown me nothing but is still very young and raw, like the other four. Alex Green is explosive, but stinks at pass blocking. He really needed the OTAs and mini camps, but should do nothing but get better as year goes on. Mike Neal is listed as the dreaded “day to day” but I think most expect him back for last preseason game. Harrell and Jolly are both toast, I dont think Jolly will be reinstated with getting in trouble again while already being suspended. Moron! I would not be surprised with a late free agent big body to add to D-line after final cuts coming soon, I agree, we are too thin!

  4. John Zoul says:

    Billy Needham…thanks for your informed insight…What a shame about Johnny Jolly…”drinking a mixture of codeine”…it appears he may be somewhat drug addicted…if you’re caught twice in two years…what a waste of a great player and a human being…
    You’re probably correct about Donald Driver…Who has been an exceptional player for us…but, no longer has the deep threat speed of C. West…and I know we’ve been choosing five WR’s on our 53-man roster…but, I’d rather keep either West or Gurley…keep six WR’s and cut Quarless…he has not impressed…keep one less TE…and two FB’s…
    At TE, the givens are Finley and D.J. Williams…I do like Crabtree and Ryan Taylor…also, Pat Lee has not worked out…especially for a second round pick…who will be the fourth safety?…Lastly, I see Zombo has a fractured scapula…you don’t hear that bone being broken very often…that’s a freak…Do you PUP-list him and hope he comes back in two months?…I notice Justin Harrell hasn’t been picked-up by anyone, last I checked…what a shame…injuries…

    • Billy Needham says:

      Thanks John, Jolly had one of the most athletic plays I have ever seen with that one handed interception of Jay Cutler inside our own 5 yard line his last year. He would definitely be our starting DE if he were still on the team or actually reinstated.
      I am all for keeping the six WRs, but ther logjam at TE is tough, and the biggest weakness I can find most of the time is Quinn Johnson. He does one thing right, sometimes, and thats maintain a block one on one. He cannot catch, giving away it is a run play. He cannot play special teams, he is too stiff. Quarless has done nothing, but man, its only his second year. Last year, during his ROOKIE year, I was expecting his to be Finley #2. Wasnt happening, so that is a very tough call, you are right, Finley and Williams are locks, and I think Taylor is too as long as he continues playing well on special teams (remember, he used to be a college LB), Havner is gone, last spot between Quarless and Crabtree. Thats a tough one. Only decent blocker or pass catching hopeful.
      Last but not least, poor Zombo, dude breaks his shoulderblade in warmups, are you kidding me!!! I see it is a 6-8 week injury, then a few weeks rehabbing muscles, I just dont see how they can wait. Like I mentioned before, I still think TT gets a D-lineman via free agency after final cuts and now OLB may be on his list???

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