NFL Preseason 2010: What We Learned From Green Bay in Week Two
Week Two of the Packers preseason campaign is now done and dusted, and with it comes an exciting game that many Packer fans both young and old certainly enjoyed as Green Bay went on to achieve a last-minute 27-24 win.
The Packers' young but talented offense continued to show why they are one of the front-runners in the NFC this season.
As the game kicked off, so did the worries. Some issues became prevalent to all fans watching, and although these were more than likely overshadowed by the Packers' talent, it became clear that not everything was secure in Green Bay at the present time.
So what was noticeable from the Packers second game of this season?
Well, of course, there were both positive and negative aspects of the game. However, the following points should sum up where the Packers are strong and weak, and where this team is heading in the next two weeks, looking toward September.
Aaron Rodgers was the obvious standout in the game. He continued to hit targets, and when one of the announcers stated that Rodgers appeared to be in midseason form, he just about hit the nail on the head when it came to describing the possible MVP winner this season.
Given that Aaron Rodgers did only play the first quarter like most starting quarterbacks at this time in the year, he looked impressive.
On numerous routes he hit both Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley for a considerable amount of yards, and when he aired it out to ol' No. 85 for a 56-yard deep pass, most people stood up and recognized what a great passer Rodgers really is.
Aside from Rodgers' great plays, he also kept rallying with the Seattle Seahawks. Much to the surprise of some, Seattle's willingness to hang tight with the Packers and answer their scores made people realize that Pete Carroll's men may not be quite as soft as people had first thought.
Another great day in the office sees Aaron Rodgers end the game with 116 yards and two touchdowns for his name. Better yet, he is set for a spectacular year behind center.
Brandon Jackson and Ryan Grant
This time last season, the Packers running game was viewed as more of a concern, rather than a positive, but boy, how things have changed.
Perhaps one of the more promising stories to come out of this game was Ryan Grant's consistency, as he continued to pound away for four- to six-yard gains throughout the first quarter.
Following Grant's steady ways, young Brandon Jackson stepped into the game, and for those who have seen how fast and quick this guy is, it will come as no surprise to hear that he has become a suitable replacement for Grant in the running game if an injury is to occur.
I'm not willing to go out on a limb and say that the Packers have a two-headed running attack just yet, but they sure are close. If both of these guys keep impressing, there's no reason that we can't see both mix and match all season long.
Last season Packers kicker Mason Crosby had a case of the woes. His kicking efficiency wasn't too spectacular, and when he continued to miss field goals that could have made the game for Green Bay, he became a very questioned player in Packer Nation.
Fortunately, Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff did the right thing and gave Mason Crosby a second chance.
And how did it all turn out?
Well, even though we haven't seen him in regular season form, his display today was quite good. Realistically Crosby was never challenged all that much, but he was two for two on the day, and appeared confident.
Not only is this good news, it also means that the Packers have yet another reliable source for points this season.
Mike McCarthy's Devotion to Matt Flynn
Some may question this, however after today, it was clear that Mike McCarthy trusts Matt Flynn immensely.
While young No. 10 isn't likely to be starting anywhere this season, the possibility of him leaving Green Bay and heading to a quarterback-needy team is very likely, considering how talented he truly is.
The most impressive story that came from today's game was Matt Flynn's stats. He went 10 for 20 in attempted passes, and threw for 130 yards, while adding an interception to his name.
At times, Flynn was under pressure, and the offensive line could be blamed for that. For the most part though, he has developed nicely, and it is good to know that if Aaron Rodgers ever did go down (God forbid) hope wouldn't be totally lost.
We now enter the negative aspects of the Packers game, and the first one up is, of course, special teams.
Prior to the preseason, I always thought that the Packers had special teams well covered, even though some improvement was needed.
After today's display, though, some attention to detail is called for, as the Packers missed numerous tackles and allowed for a handful of big gains by Seattle's returners.
While the talent is there, much of this could be improved by some tackling drills. However, the problem was also on the receiving side of the ball, as Seattle's punt team continued to punish Green Bay in every way possible.
It isn't time to panic, but special teams is crucial for a winning season. Hopefully Green Bay can sort this out before Week One and Eagles kick returner DeSean Jackson visit, which could hurt Green Bay if the special teams isn't intact.
Ah the Packers old nemesis, the penalties; it appears this is still a problem. While it is only preseason, Green Bay made some horrid mistakes against Seattle, and the most notable one came seconds before half time, as the Packers turned a field goal opportunity into a half time break.
To me, this issue is the biggest. Last season, silly penalties plagued this team, and at the end of 2009, Green Bay were the most penalized team in the league.
Much of this stems from the offensive line, but some blame could be placed on the defense, as blocking and pass interference calls certainly don't help out.
Given that Charles Woodson, Atari Bigby, Nick Barnett, and Donald Driver were absent from the game, the penalties must stop, or else it could mean the difference between a Wildcard spot, or a divisional win this season.
Other Worries to Watch Out For
The defense looked good at times, and like I mentioned, three of the Packers' star players were missing. However, when Seattle tried to mix it up on reverse routes, the Packers had no answer.
More worrying was when the ball was handed to Leon Washington. Sure, he is no star running back just yet, but what will happen when the Adrian Peterson's and LaDainian Tomlinson's meet up with the Packers this year?
They may stop them, but it is a cause for concern.
The Offensive Line
The offensive line wasn't a worry when Rodgers had the ball, but when Matt Flynn stepped in, some issues arose. Some of this could be due to inexperienced players taking over; however, it is a factor to keep an eye on in the next two weeks.
Week Two Wrap Up
A close win by Green Bay, and a very memorable game. Overall Green Bay looked solid, particularly on defense, yet there are still some kinks to iron out.
The most pleasing factor was of course Aaron Rodgers and Jermichael Finley, who looked in sync.
"He's tough to guard. He's a great player," Rodgers said in regards to Finley. "He's going to be a big part of our offense. Anytime I get the ball, I'll look for him.
Aside from those two, the running backs were also enjoyable to watch, and no concussion side effects appeared to be hurting Ryan Grant.
Yes, some issues stand out; however, don't worry, it is only preseason. If all things go according to plan, and the Packers stay injury-free, this is still a very threatening team, no matter what others may say.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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