19 Observations from the First Packers Preseason Game
The Packers took care of business in their first preseason game, not that it matters.
Score notwithstanding, we got our first good look at two major position battles: quarterback and wide receiver. Here are some quick thoughts on each of those positions with some other overall observations about the first Packers game since last December.
Quarterbacks show promise but raise questions
The quarterback group as a whole looked better than I suspected it would, but at times it also looked worse than I thought it could be.
Brett Hundley looks about 75% more comfortable in the pocket than he did during his extended showing last season. He was poised under pressure and navigated the rush well. At least, most of the time. His interception was the result of badly misreading the pressure. If the rusher had wanted to, he could have pretty much erased Brett Hundley from existence. That was a big mistake.
DeShone Kizer put together two really good drives but was abysmal in the red zone. He attempted seven passes in that part of the field but only completed one, and his timing on a couple fade routes was really bad. He doesn’t seem quite as far along as Hundley.
Tim Boyle can play. Though all three quarterbacks completed deep balls, Boyle’s looked the best and his big arm is clearly evident. His 52-yard touchdown pass to Jake Kumerow was gorgeous. But he also misses badly at times for no reason, to the extent that you wonder who he was throwing to at all.
Rookie receivers impress after slow start; Kumerow as advertised
The wide receiver position battle is going to be a fight throughout camp. Jake Kumerow has been getting the headlines but the three drafted receivers each had their moments too.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a physical marvel. Even among professional athletes his speed is evident. He still showed inconsistency with his hands, but he wasn’t the worst of the group.
That dubious honor belongs to J’Mon Moore, who couldn’t come up with a few tough opportunities on the sideline. His body positioning looked solid on every target, which was good to see, but he couldn’t complete the catch.
Equanimeous St. Brown, meanwhile, looked the strongest after the catch. His size is something to see.
And then there’s Kumerow, who lived up to his press. His NFL-caliber experience is evident in his route running, which is much more polished than his competition. Just look how he uses his arms to redirect the defender slightly, creating separation. Impressive stuff.
The question now is whether he’ll be able to do it against better competition. It’s one thing to tear up guys who will be out of the league in three weeks. He has to go against a real defense in a game setting.
- DeAngelo Yancey got some early looks. He’s not out of the hunt yet.
- Davante Adams looks like he’s put on some muscle. He looks thicker than in past seasons.
- Geronimo Allison did a great job of catching the ball away from his body.
- I wanted to reserve judgement until I saw them in action, but Tennessee’s new uniforms are hot garbage. The two-toned gray on the shoulders is stupid and makes the TV numbers impossible to read. They’ve got a unique color scheme (navy, powder blue, and red has some great possibilities) and it’s disappointing they did so little with it.
- I like the 2018 sideline hats for the Packers but I wish they had a bit more yellow.
- Kyle Murphy and Byron Bell were not great and Mike McCarthy’s postgame comments about Jason Spriggs are concerning. Tackle questions aren’t going away any time soon.
- Dillon Day was the first center off the bench and got reps at guard when Austin Davis came in later. That bodes well for his roster chances.
- Demetri Goodson and Marwin Evans took reps as gunner on the punt team in the second half. Despite his devastating knee injury in 2016, Goodson can still get down the field in a hurry.
- Mike Pettine and company must want to make sure they give Quinten Rollins every chance to rule himself out. He got early looks at corner and took most (if not all) of the punt return reps, giving up (along with Davon House) and early touchdown and fumbling his first punt return. This could be his last extended action.
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s nameplate appears to use narrower lettering. Tough to get all those characters on there!
- Mike McCarthy continued his practice of wearing a flag pin on his pullover, something I believe he started in 2017.