The Green Bay Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns 17-0 in their first preseason game of the year. While this is certainly not a sign that the Packers will go to the playoffs this season, there are several good things fans and coaches can take away from this game.
The offense looks primed. Other than the fact that every other pass Rodgers threw was going deep, the offense looked ready early, which was a problem for the Pack last year, getting shut out in the first quarter six times last year. Donald Driver shows no signs of wear, as his only catch was a 53 yard bomb from Rodgers.
Does Mason Crosby have a leg or what? Mason Crosby missed his first two field goals of the night. What is good about that? He took the attempts from 60 and 55 yards out, only missing the 60 yarder by hitting the left upright. This is a good sign for the Packer's kicking game as Crosby can kick it from nearly anywhere on the field.
Matt Flynn is really good. While he won't battle for the starting job, Flynn should put Packer fans at ease should Rodgers ever go down with his mobility and his will to push forward.
Without several costly penalties by the team, Flynn couldv'e led the Pack to several more scoring drives and make the game seem even more lopsided. If Flynn continues to improve, he could make excellent trade bait for the Packers at some point in the future.
Brian Brohm is awful. At one point, thought to be a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft, Brohm is showing Packer fans why he slipped into the second round. While he connected on five of his 10 passing attempts, two of those five completions where caught by the wrong team. Finishing 3/10 with two picks is no way to prove you were worth a second round pick.
If Brohm doesn't show significant improvement by next year, the Packers may decide to cut their losses, if they don't do so this season to keep an extra running back.
Speaking of running backs, the Packers will have a heated battle for third string running back between Kregg Lumpkin and Tyrell Sutton. Both running backs made the most of their opportunities by not going down at first contact and fighting for extra yardage.
With his performance, Sutton might be in the lead with his 91 yard performance on 16 carries, albeit with both teams using third stringers. This will be an interesting battle to watch all preseason.
Defense. With five possible starters not playing on Saturday, the Packers managed to shut out the Cleveland Browns. Granted, they are the Cleveland Browns, but there are both positives and negatives to be taken away from this. It seemed that the Packers managed to allow a 10-15 yard play every series but managed to stop them before they reached scoring position.
However, if this were a more potent offense they were facing, the Packers would not have looked nearly as good as they did. They did manage to pick off the Browns four times, mostly because of pressure on the quarterbacks. The run defense did a good job stopping the Browns and it will only get better when B.J. Raji gets some time at nose tackle.
Those are my thoughts on the game. I realize this was a preseason game against less than stellar competition but think there is reason to be optimistic this coming season.