Packers vs. Chargers: 5 Packers That Impressed in the First Preseason Game
Aaron Rodgers played three series, late into the first quarter, finishing with an unimpressive stat line of 2-for-8 for 16 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Rodgers was without Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley, but the first-team offense was largely mundane.
The Chargers got out to 14-0 lead before Graham Harrell, who played the majority of the game, brought the Packers within a point after two touchdown drives in the second and fourth quarters. To avoid a tie, head coach Mike McCarthy decided to go for two, which resulted in a Harrell incompletion.
The Chargers scored late in the fourth quarter to give them an eight-point lead with just under two minutes to play. B.J. Coleman came in to run the two-minute drill, looking impressive. Coleman led the Packers into Chargers' territory, but a fumble by Marc Taylor ended any chance the Packers had at tying the game.
While the Packers didn't look good early on, some players made impressions in the first real live action of the season.
The Packers play the Cleveland Browns next week on Thursday, August 16th at 7:00 p.m. CT.
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Davon House is fighting for a starting job at right cornerback. He stated his case in a big way against the Chargers. Sam Shields, the starter last season missed the game with an injury, so House got the nod.
House looked good in coverage, breaking up a Philip Rivers third-down pass on the game's first possession. House was also very good on special teams, often the first Packers player to reach the returner. House's highlight of the game came as House chopped down Curtis Brinkley for a big tackle.
House was the most impressive of the Packers cornerbacks not named Tramon Williams. He took a big step showing his improvement translated to live action as well. House is a player to watch throughout the rest of training camp and the remaining preseason games.
House left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. He was helped off the field, looked at by the trainers and appeared to be okay.
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Fresh off a lengthy contract extension, Packers' punter Tim Masthay had a very nice game against the Chargers. Masthay punted the ball eight times with an average of 44 yards per punt. His longest of the night was 62 yards.
Until late in the second quarter, Tim Masthay was the bright spot for the Packers as the offense struggled to get anything going. The best quality of Masthay is his consistency from punt to punt and game to game. It's rare to see Masthay misfire and deliver a poor punt.
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Randall Cobb built on his impressive training camp against the Chargers as he was the most impressive of the Packers' "Big Five" receivers. Cobb caught four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Cobb did most of his damage during the Packers' scoring drive late in the first half. Cobb caught a 28-yard pass on 3rd-and-5 early in the drive. Two plays later, Cobb caught a ball over the middle of the field and got down to the Chargers five-yard line with the 23-yard catch. Cobb finished off the drive, catching a three-yard touchdown pass from Graham Harrell.
Cobb is fighting for playing time in the Packers' crowded receiving corps. Cobb's quickness brings a different dimension to the team. More strong play from Cobb will definitely force the coaching staff to put him on the field more in the regular season.
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Erik Walden is another player fighting for his job. Nick Perry has replaced Walden in the starting lineup and undrafted rookie Dezman Moses has been making noise early in camp. Walden did well in the third quarter against the Chargers.
He was able to get some pressure on Chargers' backup quarterback, Jarrett Lee, on multiple occasions. Walden's pressure forced a poor, lobbed throw from Lee that was picked off by Anthony Levine. On the next series, Walden got pressure again and blasted Lee, forcing an incompletion.
Walden will need to continue to get pressure on the quarterback and prove his worth. With the young guys Perry and Moses playing well, Walden needs to step his game up to solidify his roster spot and get playing time.
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Graham Harrell's overall performance may not have been impressive, but there were enough positive throws and glimpses to be satisfied. Harrell finished the night going 14-for-25 for 129 yards and a touchdown.
The shaky start gave way to a more confident Harrell late in the second and third quarters. Late in the first half, Harrell engineered a beautifully crafted two-minute drill to get the Packers onto the scoreboard. Harrell continued to play fairly well through the third quarter.
In a drive spanning the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, Harrell led the Packers to their second touchdown of the game, a one-yard Marc Tyler touchdown run. The Packers went for two and Harrell's pass fell incomplete.
Harrell looked decent and showed he is capable of becoming a solid backup quarterback. He still has lots of room for improvement.