Saturday, August 20, 2011
Preseason: Packers strong in no-huddle
By Kevin Seifert
Reviewing Friday's action at Lambeau Field:
Green Bay Packers 28, Arizona Cardinals 20
Preseason record: 1-1
Of interest: The first-team offense went three-and-out in its first series, punted after two first downs on its next possession but looked sharp in its third, which ended on Aaron Rodgers' 20-yard back-shoulder touchdown pass to receiver Greg Jennings. Not coincidentally, the Packers took a pre-planned no-huddle approach in that third series. Rodgers completed all five of his passes on the drive, including three consecutive to tight end Jermichael Finley. ... Overall, Finley was targeted on five passes in his preseason debut, catching four for 33 yards. ... Rodgers took three significant hits that I saw, one after Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell ran right past rookie left guard Derek Sherrod. Cardinals lineman Darnell Dockett also split a double team against right guard Josh Sitton and right tackle Bryan Bulaga for a hit. ... I thought the defense created some havoc for Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb, limiting the Cardinals offense to a pair of field goals before coordinator Dom Capers began substituting. ... The defense's new (occasional) look of Ryan Pickett at nose tackle and B.J. Raji at end is interesting and worth further discussion next week. ... Safety Morgan Burnett continues to look aggressive in his return and made a nice play to break up a late Kolb pass to receiver Larry Fitzgerald. ... Fitzgerald later made one of the most incredible one-handed catches you'll ever see as he fell to the ground, setting up a field goal. ... The first look at running back/kick returner Alex Green was positive, most notably on a 25-yard screen reception. ... I don't know if Chastin West's 97-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline will help him make the team, but it sure was fun to watch. Perfect throw from quarterback Matt Flynn. ... Two injuries to keep an eye on: Receiver Randall Cobb (bruised knee) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (possible concussion).
Local coverage: Finley wanted to continue playing with the second-team offense, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Finley: "I felt like the old '88.' I started getting revved up and heated and I was really close to telling them to keep me in. I'd have played the whole game. I'd have played with Flynn if I had to. It was just one of those things I had to get past me, and I got it past me." Tailback Ryan Grant doesn't appear to have lost a step, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Packers.com has posted video of West's touchdown reception. It's also in the video that will accompany this post for a few days. Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Green's night: "If Green shows he can pass protect, he could be a valuable weapon as a third-down back. He's a better receiver than Brandon Jackson, who had the job last season. But if he can't pass protect -- he gave up a quarterback hit by linebacker O'Brien Schofield on Matt Flynn in the third quarter -- then he won't win that job." Sherrod probably lost any chance he has of beating out T.J. Lang for the starting job, notes Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel.
Up next: Friday at Indianapolis Colts