It’s always nice to end the home preseason games 2-0. What’s even nicer? Watching quarterback Aaron Rodgersreturn to Lambeau Field for the first time in almost a year. And because he’s Rodgers, it only took him one play to connect with tight end Jimmy Graham for an 8-yard score.
“Happy to get in, be productive and get out,” Rodgers said post-game. This may be the only time we’ll see Rodgers during the preseason and I’m more than OK with that. A healthy Aaron Rodgers is one of the biggest threats to opposing teams.
What else did we learn in Thursday’s game? Let’s take a look:
Green Bay might have a solid cornerback for the first time in a while this season. The Packers’ pass defense has been hurting, but with two offseason pickups, they may have a better chance this year. On Thursday, both free-agent addition defensive back Tramon Williams and rookie cornerback Josh Jackson returned interceptions for touchdowns.
Look. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the Packers. I LOVE watching the Packers. I’d been counting down the days till I could watch them again.
I hate preseason. It just makes me too nervous. There’s too much on the line with starters playing. And now, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers playing Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’ll spend the next 24 hours praying to the football gods for no injuries.
It IS going to be an exciting game. Green Bay hasn’t hosted Pittsburgh during the preseason since 1996 (Packers won, natch). In fact, these two teams don’t play each other very often at all. Thursday night will only the fourth meeting between these two teams since 2013. Green Bay is 14-10-1 in the preseason against Pittsburgh.
With Rodgers playing, even for a few series, that means we won’t get to evaluate the three guys competing for his back-up as much. If you’ve followed my recaps, you know I’m not a huge Brett Hundley fan, so I’m going to keep my eye on DeShone KizerThursday night. Aaron Rodgers owns the pocket, and I’d love to see Kizer become a bit more comfortable playing in there.
2017 was a disappointing season in Green Bay. When Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone in Week 6, the situation was made even worse by it happening against our biggest rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.
It would have seemed that Rodgers going down was an opportunity for Brett Hundley to step up. Though we hadn’t seen much out of Hundley (players second to Rodgers rarely will, except in the case of extreme emergency), we’d heard great things.
However, there was nothing exciting or hopeful for the Packers’ season once Hundley took the field. In the 10 games that Hundley started and played in, the team made only 21 red zone trips, Rodgers made those same 21 trips in only six games. Of those 21 red zone trips, “the team was able to move the ball inside the 10-yard line only 42.8 percent of the time,” according to Fansided.
The 2018 NFL Draft has been over for a few days now, and it’s given me a bit of time to research players I hadn’t known coming into it, and time to think about what our picks mean. We got to see new general manager Brian Gutekunst at work, and the draft gave us a bit more of a glimpse into his plans for our favorite team.
At the start of the draft, the Green Bay Packers had a league-high 12 picks. They made two trades in the first round and ended the draft with 11 picks that included: two cornerbacks, three wide receivers, one offensive lineman, one defensive lineman, one edge rusher, a punter and a long snapper.
So who ARE these new guys? Let’s take a look:
Jaire Alexander, cornerback, Louisville: EXCELLENT pick. The cornerback position is what I was hoping the Packers would draft first, and this is perhaps the best pick Gutekunst made this year. I think Alexander has the potential to become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa: Jackson is big – he’s tall and has long arms, which helped him complete eight interceptions last year. A very close second in terms of ability to Alexander. I expect him to see the field this season.
Oren Burks, linebacker, Vanderbilt: The Packers traded up in round 3 to get Burks. Starting as a safety, Burks has the potential and skill to play either safety or linebacker for Green Bay. I’ve read that there is concern about his consistency as a tackler, but he will most likely see a lot of action as a special teams player this upcoming season.
J’Mon Moore, wide receiver, Missouri: To be honest, I’m not sure the Packers will end up keeping Moore. While he had 10 touchdowns last year for the Tigers, I’m not entirely convinced he’s ready for the NFL just yet.
Cole Madison, offensive lineman, Washington State: I like him. I predict Madison will make the team as a starter on the right side of our offensive line this season.
JK Scott, P, Alabama: Let the competition begin! Scott was definitely the best punter in the draft. Who do you think will ultimately win the spot between Scott and Justin Vogel?
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, South Florida: Here’s another player that I’m not sure will end up on the team. He seems to need some work on running routes and passing. What grade would YOU give this pick?
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame: My favorite of the three wide receivers the Packers drafted. He’s FAST and I like that for Green Bay. I’m not sure he’s ready to be a starter, but I think we very well MIGHT see him in a game this season!
James Looney, defensive lineman, Cal: He’s fast which I like, but I’m not sure he’s NFL ready just yet.
Hunter Bradley, long snapper, Mississippi State: The best long snapper in the draft. Green Bay has Brett Goode, but we definitely saw issues early last year with the LS position. There were other positions I would have rather seen get filled at this point in the draft, but he’s a solid player, no doubt.
Kendall Donnerson, Edge, SE Missouri State: Another player that I don’t think is NFL ready at this point. Hopefully, he can become one during preseason workouts, because he is FAST and has great hands.
Overall, I give the Packers an A- for their draft picks. The excitement isn’t over yet though! Up next is undrafted free agency. Follow along with me on Twitter and here as we stay up to date with all the reported signings!
Talk all things Packers with Lucy on Twitter @Lucyrk78
My father passed away on October 25th, 2016. That’s a date I will never forget. He was a Cowboys fan and we used to spend Sundays together, religiously watching as many football games as we could handle in a single day and with a single screen. When I discovered football and the NFL, seven years ago, he was a bit surprised but happy to tag along for that ride.
He had watched the game before when my older brother was a kid, and both the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins were huge in Mexico. Now, he would listen to every story I told about the Green Bay Packers. He would care about the statistics, the changing rules, the name of every wide receiver, cornerback and backup quarterback that I mentioned. He would look around and try to buy for me any piece of Packers merch he could find in Mexico City stores. Scarves, tumbler cups, action figures, plushies, gloves too large for my own hands.
Then he got sick, went to the hospital, and died. And I almost quit football.
Free agency is pretty much on the quiet front with some players still trickling on to teams, such as quarterback Blaine Gabbert to the Tennessee Titans, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the Los Angeles Rams. But now it’s all about the draft and filling the holes that will make or break a team. So here is my attempt at Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2018, was announced this past weekend. As always, my favorite selection is the one from the Senior Committee. These gentlemen have been over-looked and under-appreciated when compared to the modern-era players. And, most importantly, they are the heart, soul, beginnings of this game I love.
They wore leather helmets and pads that were a puny excuse for protection. They got paid so little that most had second jobs during the offseason. They played because they loved the game.
While it was before my time, my dad would tell me stories about these great men and they’ve always stayed with me. This year I was very excited to see that Jerry Kramer from the Green Bay Packers would finally be admitted into this great hall.
AND they did it AT Lambeau. It could be said that the Packers did well at only keeping the Vikings to 16 points, but that would be one of those statements where you’re really stretching to find something positive to say about this game.