Where Green Bay Packers Stand Heading into Preseason Week 3
We got trouble, right here in River City.
OK, maybe right here on the Frozen Tundra.
If there is anything we've learned in the first two preseason games this year it's that the Green Bay Packers have some glaring weaknesses.
It's not time to panic yet because the majority of the weaknesses are issues of depth.
However, they are no less glaring for their second-string nature.
Let's start positive, though.
The Defense Is BACK
It still has some problems, but the first-string defense is doing just fine. The cornerback/safety situation isn't quite hashed out, but the front seven is getting pressure. Nick Perry has had two nice games in a row, and while his numbers aren't as flashy, Jerel Worthy started getting some pressure as well.
I'm waiting for the ripple effect to hit guys like Clay Matthews. It's only a matter of time before defenses have to start taking Perry, in particular, more seriously and Matthews gets freed up.
Also, D.J. Smith has been tremendous the last few weeks. A.J. Hawk best be looking over his shoulder.
The move of Charles Woodson to occasional safety has worked, though there are still questions about who will replace him at cornerback when he moves. Safety is less of a question—M.D. Jennings had a good camp but hasn't performed much since while rookie Jerron McMillian had a very good second game this past Thursday.
The weakness of this team was, surprisingly, the defense in 2011. In 2012, it will assuredly be a strength.
Rodgers/Offense Look in Fine Form
Truly, Rodgers has not lost a step and his weapons are looking as good as last year.
I certainly had my doubts about Nelson, but he has more than wiped them away, especially with Greg Jennings out. Nelson looks to be just as good as last year. Speaking of Jennings, his concussion is a concern, but he's going to be back at practice so he should be fine.
Randall Cobb and James Jones are both a bit inconsistent. When they are on, they are fantastic, but they are off enough to hold them back. That said, as the No. 3 and No. 4 wide receivers they are very good.
Jermichael Finley is still missing from the team, but his injury should be healed soon, and I expect him to step in and have a bounce-back year.
There are still question marks here but the move to bring in Cedric Benson and the advancement of Alex Green toward a more significant role is encouraging. Benson isn't great but he gets good yards and is solid in pass protection. Green is working on the pass protection but does everything else very well. He has to finish healing from the injury which took down his 2011, but I expect his role will continue to grow this year.
Things don't look great for the once-heralded James Starks, though he can still bounce back. He's looked poor this camp and in the first preseason game, though, and right now his role seems small.
Overall, I feel like the group they have can get it done.
And now...the not so great.
Questionable Depth On Offense
I don't mean to alarm anyone here, but so far, beyond the starters, I'm not seeing a ton of reliable depth on offense.
Now, we can pick on Graham Harrell all we want—and I will—but once the second-string offensive line players got in...whoa lordy.
Harrell may be bad (again, patience) but how can he be good when he has milliseconds to throw? Of course we all saw the debacle which was Herb Taylor in Week 1, right?
The offensive line isn't the only issue. The backup tight ends didn't do much to endear themselves to the coaching staff—a ball off Tom Crabtree's hands was intercepted for example.
As much as I like Randall Cobb and James Jones, both are struggling with consistency and Cobb has ball security issues.
This may all turn around—it has before—but it's got to be concerning for Packers fans.
Speaking of bad backups...
We May Have Overestimated Graham Harrell
Hey, I will cop to this—not long ago I was touting how the Packers were fine with no veteran quarterback behind the tough and durable Aaron Rodgers.
I won't throw Harrell out with the bathwater just on two preseason games, but he didn't look good. He struggled with reads, threw behind his receivers and basically made bad choices.
In his defense, the offensive line was not good, and at least one of his interceptions was not his fault (see: Crabtree, Tom).
That said, he isn't making good reads and definitely looks uncomfortable.
I'd love to see him behind the starting offensive line, just to know once and for all if he's any good at all.
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