Sunday, August 18, 2013
A look at who hurt themselves
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Earlier, I identified some Green Bay Packers’ players who helped themselves in Saturday’s 19-7 preseason victory over the St. Louis Rams.
Here’s a look at some players who hurt their chances:
- Graham Harrell and Vince Young: If the Packers were hoping one of the backup quarterbacks would separate himself from the other, it didn’t happen. While Harrell (5-of-10, 44 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 62.1 rating) protected the ball better than he did when he turned it over twice in the preseason opener against Arizona and Young showed a better command of the offense, neither made any eye-catching plays. Harrell, who lost a fumble and threw an interception against the Cardinals, played three series in the second quarter against the Rams and managed three points. His best drive came when he took possession with 35 seconds left in the half and hit tight end D.J. Williams for completions of 10 and 7 yards and then receiver Myles White for 6 to get into position for a field goal. His best throw of the night was a seam route that Williams dropped on his first series. “Tonight I did a better job of not making big mistakes that cost us, and the second group, we moved the ball pretty well,” Harrell said after the game. “We didn’t have any three-and-outs.” Young (5-of-9, 26 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 60.9 rating) relieved Harrell in the third quarter, also played three series and managed three points. While Young looked more comfortable than he did in his Packers’ debut against the Cardinals, he continued to have accuracy problems. On his first series, he badly overthrew receiver Myles White, who was wide open deep down the middle, and then was late on a fade in the corner of the end zone to White, who caught the ball out of bounds. Young looked good on the run, scrambling once for 7 yards.
- James Starks: The oft-injured running back is as healthy as he has ever been for training camp; he has missed only one practice, because of an illness. But his fourth-quarter fumble won’t help his chances. He played only nine snaps but did not get another one after he coughed up the ball, which the Packers retained because Rams linebacker Daren Bates was out of bounds when he recovered the fumble. If there’s a veteran in danger of getting cut, it might be Starks, who has missed 26 of a possible 48 regular-season games the last three years.
- Giorgio Tavecchio: If the first-year kicker had an advantage over Mason Crosby based on his better record in practice, he probably lost it with one kick. Tavecchio missed wide left on a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter. Although the Rams brought pressure off the left side of the offensive line, Tavecchio had enough time to get the kick away cleanly. The lefty just pushed it. He came back to make a 38-yarder in the second quarter.
- Brandon Smith: The Packers knew when they signed the former wide receiver to play cornerback that there would be growing pains, but Smith made the classic defensive back mistake of getting caught looking at the quarterback. In man coverage against Nick Johnson late in the fourth quarter, Smith was in good position until he took his eyes off the receiver. In a split second, Johnson used a double move to turn his route up field and beat Smith for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The Packers knew it would be a long transition for Smith, who played receiver at Arizona State and also during brief training camp stints with Carolina and Seattle in 2011, and it doesn’t appear he’s ready to challenge for playing time yet.