The tease of football has reached us, finally! For those addicted to football, or just eager for something besides a market correction to our Brewers, what we saw this past Thursday at Lambeau Field was both encouraging and depressing. Let’s start with the depressing part, shall we?
Without major change, once again at any of the 3 key factors (General Manager, Head Coach, and Quarterback) it’d be insane to expect a different result than the last 6 years. Now that that’s done with, on to the encouraging portion!
Overall team speed was addressed in the draft and it showed on the field v Philadelphia. The first pick, Kevin King, flashed a few times coming up to make an instant stop after a short completion. Something that may go unnoticed, but makes a monstrous difference over the course of a season. That could be the difference between a 3rd down stop and a drive that continues and possibly breaks for a long gain (see Julio Jones in the NFC title game). With the good was some bad; King was burned on a deep pass down the right side against the 2nd string. I’m not sure if it was blown coverage by the safety, or if King was just beat, but either way that was happening in years passed without the tackling, so that’s a plus!
My favorite (yes, way too early to tell) player in the draft, Josh Jones, didn’t really make too much of an impact. He overran a couple of tackles, but at least got there – which also has been lacking. If he can mature and get the fundamentals down he could be a really nice player, for a long time.
The standout player for me, yes all on defense, was Dean Lowry. Lowry generated a constant push which sets the tone for the play, by getting pressure up the middle – regardless of run/pass – it disrupts the entire play and increases the difficulty of execution for the offense. As any quarterback will tell you, the worst type of pressure is that of which comes from the middle (between the tackles). #94 wasn’t running free to completely beating his man, but he was pushing him in the backfield and if there’s a smidge of additional pressure from anyone else, it will help this team immensely.
Nice to see: Trevor Davis get an opportunity and make the most of it on punt return. Much-welcomed speed at a position which requires speed and agility. The speedster in his 2nd year from Cal showed solid vision and wasted little movement taking a punt return 68 yards for a TD on his first try. Hopefully he’s secured his spot as a punt returner and I’d love to see him on kick returns full time too.
For next week- keep an eye out for the 1st team offense to actually hit a rhythm- it’ll be important for Brett Hundley to showcase his talents, not only for the Packers’ cause, but for his own as well.