Green Bay Packers: 4 Disappointments so Far This Preseason
The 2011 preseason has certainly shown promise for the regular season for the Green Bay Packers, but it is not without its disappointments. With a shortened offseason, the Packers are working to regain their form coming off a big Super Bowl win last year, and are not firing on all cylinders quite yet.
This article lists four things that the Packers should be concerned with, and will need to work on before the season begins if they want to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
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In the first two preseason games, the Packers' offense sputtered at times, most notably at the beginning of the game against the Cardinals in Week 2, where the Packers weren't able to put any points on the board until the second quarter, during their third drive of the game.
Slow starts have been a problem for the Packers during games, most notably last year against San Francisco and Minnesota, where they failed to put up any points in the first quarter. In both of those games, a big play would spark the Packers offense, and eventually, they would build momentum and go on to put up more than 30 points.
Although slow starts frequently haven't been a major roadblock to the Packers' success, they shouldn't have to need to go into a no-huddle in order to spark their offense and gain a rhythm, which is what they've had to do in the past two games.
Of course, it is preseason, and it is to be expected for the Packers' offense to be a little shaky, and they will have time to gain chemistry throughout the rest of the preseason.
Replacing Cullen Jenkins
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With Cullen Jenkins leaving Green Bay for Philadelphia, the Packers are left to replace him, and have pointed to several different defensive linemen to do the job, including Jarius Wynn, C.J. Wilson and Mike Neal. The Packers seemed to be quite excited about Wilson and Neal, but both have struggled with injuries, and it has been difficult to see who will ultimately be Jenkins' replacement, and if either can step up and be a starter.
The Packers certainly have talent on that defensive line, including B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, but so far this preseason, it is unclear whether or not some of their younger players can step up and fill the big shoes of Cullen Jenkins.
Depth in the Secondary
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Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush are two veterans who have struggled thus far in training camp. Bush will likely stay on the roster due to his impact on special teams. However, Lee hasn't made the same impact on either defense or special teams, so there is the strong likelihood that he will be cut.
The Packers also drafted Davon House in the fourth-round, a cornerback who many feel has potential to be a solid contributor. However, due to injuries, we haven't seen much of House.
The Packers are solid at the cornerback position with their three starters of Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. But the talent drops down dramatically after that, and if one of those three are injured, we may have to see Bush or Lee take the field on defense, despite their previous struggles. Or we may see Davon House, a player we just haven't seen much of yet.
The Offensive Line and the Development of Derek Sherrod
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First-round pick Derek Sherrod has struggled so far this preseason, but this could partially be due to the fact that he has been playing left guard, a largely unfamiliar position to him. As a result, T.J. Lang has stepped in and is projected to be the starter at the position, putting Derek Sherrod on the bench for the time being.
In both preseason games, the Packers' offensive line has struggled, allowing multiple sacks on Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn and Graham Harrell. The offensive line can't have a repeat season of 2009, where Rodgers took 50 sacks, or Rodgers may not make it out of the season without a serious injury.
Sherrod certainly needs to improve, but so does the entire offensive line, because the offensive line is protecting the single most important player to their offense in Aaron Rodgers.