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Packers vs. Bengals: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Green Bay

Michael DulkaContributor IAugust 23, 2012

Packers vs. Bengals: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Green Bay

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    The Green Bay Packers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-13 in their third preseason game. The Packers got out to an early lead behind the strong play of Aaron Rodgers and did enough throughout the game to hold onto the lead. 

    Let's take a look at the Packers' final postgame grades and evaluations. 

Quarterbacks

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    Aaron Rodgers: B

    Rodgers was impressive in the first quarter both in the air and on the ground. The second quarter wasn't as sharp for Rodgers as he threw a back-shoulder interception trying to find James Jones. Rodgers finished the game completing 12 of his 22 passes for 154 yards and an interception. He ran for 52 yards on six carries and two rushing touchdowns. Rodgers played well, but he can play better. 

    Graham Harrell: D

    It was another tough night for Graham Harrell as the backup quarterback faced a ton of pressure. He finished the night completing five of 12 passes for 26 yards. He ran for 12 yards on two carries. Harrell spent most of the night running for his life which prevented him from having success. 

    B.J. Coleman: C

    Coleman didn't have much work outside of handing the ball off late in the game. He complete one of his two passes for eight yards. 

Runningbacks

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    Alex Green: C

    Alex Green started the game with James Starks out of the lineup and Cedric Benson still trying to get acclimated to the Packers. Green was average at best, carrying the ball five times for 10 yards and catching one pass for six yards. 

    Cedric Benson: B+ 

    Benson had a successful debut in green and gold with six carries for 38 yards. Doing most of his work in the second quarter, Benson provided a spark in the Packers' running game with fresh legs and good patience. The strong performance likely sealed up Benson as the Packers' starting running back for the regular season. 

    Marc Tyler: B- 

    Tyler was decent for the Packers, picking up most of his 42 yards during the last few minutes of the game. He did a good job on some carries, but lacked vision and explosiveness on others. Tyler is a long-shot to make the roster and didn't do enough to catch that tonight. 

    John Kuhn: C-

    Kuhn was successful when he ran the ball, but a fumbled exchange with Graham Harrell gave away points. Kuhn ran the ball three times for 19 yards, showing great power. Regardless of who the fumble was officially attributed to, Kuhn was partly responsible.

    Nic Cooper: C

    The backup fullback did his job and helped the Packers run out the clock. It wasn't pretty as Cooper finished with five carries and nine yards, but he did just enough. Cooper will likely not be making the roster.   

Wide Receivers

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    Big Five (Jennings, Nelson, Driver, Jones, Cobb): A

    The Packers "Big Five" receivers played very well during the first half. Greg Jennings was productive in his first preseason action of the year, catching two passes for 37 yards. Jordy Nelson was also productive with two catches for 26 yards. Cobb also caught two passes, good for 23 yards of his own. Driver caught a 16-yard pass and Jones was held catch-less. The unit looked great and ready for the regular season. 

    Diondre Borel: C-

    Borel didn't take any big steps towards making the roster as the sixth wide receiver against the Bengals. He caught two passes for eight total yards, but dropped or missed catchable passes. On special teams, Borel looked nothing more than average. 

    Tori Gurley: C-

    Gurley caught his first catch of the preseason and only catch of the night. Good for six yards, Gurley showed his size in the middle of the field. Outside of that catch, Gurley didn't do much on the offensive side of the ball. He did get close to blocking a punt on special teams. If Gurley is to make the team, it will be for use on special teams. 

    Jarret Boykin: F

    Boykin failed to make an impact on the game in any way as he went without a catch and was invisible on the stat-sheet. Boykin has a long way to go towards making the team and didn't do himself any big favors against the Bengals. 

Tight Ends

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    Tom Crabtree: A

    Crabtree looked very strong for the Packers early on. He was extremely solid blocking on the offensive line and showed an ability to catch passes down the field, something that has lacked with his game. He caught two passes for 30 yards, including a beautiful 22-yard pass from Rodgers. Crabtreee was hit hard on the play and didn't return. With the Packers' injury issue at tight end, Crabtree is looking more and more like a roster-lock.

    Ryan Taylor: C

    Taylor didn't see much action as he caught two passes for seven yards. Outside of those two catches, it was a fairly quiet night. Taylor got a lot of playing time with other guys out of the lineup, but couldn't make an impact as the offense struggled in the second half. 

Offensive Line

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    Jeff Saturday, Bryan Bulaga, T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton: B

    Throughout the first half, Aaron Rodgers had a fair amount of protection. For the most part, these four guys did a solid job in pass protection and in the running game. In addition to giving Aaron Rodgers time to throw, the guys up front did a great job opening up holes for Cedric Benson.

    Marshall Newhouse: D

    Newhouse struggled mightily against the Bengals. Almost all of the pressure that got to Rodgers came from his side of the line. He was also called for a false start and a holding penalty. Newhouse will want to burn the tape and move on to next week.

    Backups: D

    Outside of the starters, the Packers' offensive line struggled. In the third quarter, Graham Harrell was left mostly running for his life. They didn't provide much opportunity for Harrell to do anything with the football. It was a disappointing performance for the depth on the line.  

Defensive Line

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    B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson: B+

    The starters on the defensive line did a good job against the Bengals' offense. They came out strong and dominated the line of scrimmage and prevented the Bengals from moving the football. B.J. Raji combined with Clay Matthews to record a sack. 

    Jerel Worthy: B

    Worthy did a good job against the Bengals, creating pressure and doing a fine job against the run. Worthy brought energy to the unit and really seemed to get after it, especially in the second quarter. 

    Phillip Merling: B-

    Merling got a lengthy look, getting some good quality snaps with the second unit. Merling did a good job getting pressure on the quarterback as well.

    Daniel Muir, Mike Neal, Anthony Hargrove: C

    Neither play made a big impact on the game as both remained rather quiet. This especially hurts Muir, who the Packers have to make a decision on shortly. Mike Neal may have more time as he won't count against the roster during his four-game suspension.  

Linebackers

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    Clay Matthews: A

    Matthews looked his dangerous self during his limited playing time. He was extremely active, getting pressure on Andy Dalton and wrapping up ball carriers. Matthews met B.J. Raji at the quarterback as both got credit for sacking Dalton. Matthews also deflected a screen pass. 

    Dezman Moses: B+

    It was another solid performance for Dezman Moses, as the undrafted rookie keeps putting together strong outings. Moses was all over the field again, finishing the game with three solo tackles and one assisted tackle including a tackle for a loss.

    D.J. Smith and A.J. Hawk: C

    The inside linebacking pair was solid from the start. They were both quiet, but didn't make any big mistakes either. With Desmond Bishop's season up-in-the-air, the pair will need to be more than just average in the regular season.

    Nick Perry: C+

    Perry is having a nice preseason so far, but he still looks raw. He can definitely get to the quarterback, but still lacks polish to his game. There is a bright future there, but it will take more time for Perry to reach his potential.

    Terrell Manning: B

    The fifth round draft pick has been relatively quiet during preseason, but did a good job against the Bengals. Manning helped the Packers keep pressure on the Bengals' quarterbacks throughout the game. On one late third-down in particular, Manning burst through the line and was right in the face of the Bengals' QB, forcing an incompletion.

    Jamari Lattimore: B+

    Lattimore was relatively quiet for most of the game, until late in the fourth quarter. Dropping back in coverage, Lattimore perfectly read Bengals' quarterback Tyler Hansen's pass for an easy interception. Lattimore returned the pick for a touchdown and gave the Packers a comfortable victory.  

Defensive Backs

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    Charles Woodson: B

    Woodson looked good for the Packers, despite only playing a couple series. He looked fluid and moved well enough to be ready for the regular season. Woodson was beat once down the sideline by Armon Binns, but the Bengals were unable to complete the pass.

    Tramon Williams: A-

    Williams looks back to his 2010 form after another solid preseason outing. He matched up mostly across from the talented A.J. Green. On the evening, Green was held to just one catch for only three yards. Having Williams back in great form will be a huge positive for the Packers' defense.

    Sam Shields: B

    Shields showed his playmaking ability, intercepting Zac Robinson's only pass of the game. While Shields possess that ability, he has been a liability in coverage late last season and early this preseason. Shields was okay tonight in coverage, outside of the interception. He was beat deep down the sideline early in the game after tripping, but Dalton's pass flew way over the head of the open receiver.

    Casey Hayward: B-

    Hayward was impressive against the Bengals, forcing a fumble late in the game. More times than not, Hayward did a solid job in coverage. He was beat for the Bengals only touchdown of the game, a back-shoulder pass from Bruce Gradkowski to Marvin Jones.

    Jarrett Bush: C

    Bush got the start and played an okay game. He played fairly good coverage, but was beaten a few times and missed a tackle with a bad attempt. Bush was aggressive and looked good coming on the corner blitz, but overall it was an average game for Bush.

    Anthony Levine: A-

    Levine saw snaps with the Packers' first team defense and did a solid job. He looked like a player that could not only make the roster, but contribute. The Packers' SS job is wide open and Levine may have made that position battle even more confusing with a strong performance.

    Morgan Burnett: B

    Morgan Burnett was quiet against the Bengals and didn't see much action. He was in good position to bring down Dalton on the quarterback's long scramble in the first quarter, but slipped trying to make the play.

    M.D. Jennings: B-

    Jennings had a decent game with his biggest contribution coming off a safety blitz where he absolutely destroyed Andy Dalton to start the second half. He also did a good job during the Packers' goal line stand, helping to make big tackles.

    Jerron McMillian: B 

    McMillian's biggest positive so far is his potential. He looks as if he can be the guy to play alongside Morgan Burnett, but needs to bring his game together to make that happen. McMillian looked okay in coverage and did a good job around the ball. It wasn't a great game for him, but it wasn't bad either.

    Sean Richardson: B

    Richardson is stating a late claim for a roster spot with solid play. He continued play physically against the Bengals late in the game and showed good instincts to jump on a loose ball late with just over two minutes left in the game.  

Special Teams

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    Mason Crosby: B

    Crosby did a fine job against the Bengals. He nailed both field goal attempts, a 46-yarder in the first half and a 36-yarder in the second half.  His kickoffs were fairly deep, but he did allow two returns, both with decent sized returns. 

    Tim Masthay: A-

    Masthay helped the Packers dominate the field position battle early on in the game with some beautiful punts. His first punt of the night pinned the Bengals within their 10-yard line, forcing the Bengals offense to start their first possession at their own 9-yard line. Masthay punted six times with an average of 48.5 yards per punt. 

    Kickoff/Punt Return: C+

    Randall Cobb looked good on a 20-yard kickoff return and a 12-yard punt return. Once Diondre Borel took over, the unit was completely average. Borel didn't return any kicks and finished returning five punts for an average of 4.4 yards per return. 

    Punt Coverage: C+

    For the most part, the Packers' punt coverage was decent, outside of an 18-yard return by Marvin Jones.

    Kickoff Coverage: C-

    The Packers' only gave up two returns, but one went for 25 yards and the other was good for 40 yards. This unit has been a problem in the past for the Packers and didn't look particularly good against the Bengals. 

Coaching

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    Coaching Staff: A

    The Packers coaching staff did a great job against the Bengals. They properly integrated Cedric Benson into the team and gave him just enough carries to get his feet wet. The play calling was good throughout the game, with a variety of different calls and types of plays. 

    In the second half, the coaching staff did a good job of adjusting the play calling to make up for the horrid play of the offensive line in the third quarter. 

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