GREEN BAY, Wis. – With a chance to watch the tape of Friday’s 17-0 loss to Arizona and the opportunity to hear from Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, here are some thoughts and updates:
McCarthy had no further information on rookie defensive end Datone Jones, whose NFL debut lasted one play. The first-round pick dropped out because of a left ankle injury. He got retaped on the sideline but never returned. “He’s going to go through some more testing this afternoon,” McCarthy said Saturday.
Much of the focus on the offensive line was on David Bakhtiari, installed as the starting left tackle last week after Bryan Bulaga’s season-ending knee injury, and the rookie held up well during a 38-play stint. Meanwhile, another new starter on the offensive line may have emerged. Don Barclay played 30 snaps in a rotation with Marshall Newhouse at right tackle and was impressive. Barclay started at that spot for the final six games (including playoffs) last season but entered training camp behind Newhouse, who was moved from left tackle. Barclay, who also has played guard and center this summer, spent all of his time at right tackle against the Cardinals and outperformed Newhouse (who allowed the John Abraham sack that led to Graham Harrell’s fumble). Don’t be surprised to see Barclay line up with the starters when the Packers return to practice on Monday. “We graded out poorly as an offense, [but] I thought Don Barclay’s performance was clearly one of the better spots in last night’s game,” McCarthy said.
Without likely starter Eddie Lacy, who was sidelined because of a hamstring injury, it was tough to tell how much improvement – if any – the Packers have made in the running game. Say this for McCarthy: He appears committed to finding out. The Packers rushed 29 times but gained only 89 yards. It looked a lot like last season, when they ranked 20th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. The longest gains were merely 8 yards by both James Starks (12 carries for 38 yards) and Alex Green (seven carries for 16 yards). “It wasn’t very clean; it wasn’t consistent enough,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t have enough plus-5-yard runs. It’s a starting point.”
A year ago, Davon House entered the preseason opener at San Diego as the starting right cornerback, but a shoulder injury in that game wrecked his season and left the door open for Sam Shields to take the job. With starting left cornerback Tramon Williams (knee) out against the Cardinals, House was back into the starting lineup. House struggled, however, allowing a 38-yard touchdown and giving up completions of 18 and 36 yards in only 16 snaps.
In his first game action since Jan. 10, 2010, defensive tackle Johnny Jolly showed some of the power he had before his three-year suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Jolly increased his chances of making the team during his 23-play stint, showing off an effective spin move that resulted in a near sack on a third-down play and later splitting a pair of blockers to blow up a run that went for a 3-yard loss. Jolly still needs to work on his conditioning and shed some weight, but it looks like he has a legitimate shot to complete his comeback.
Expect more kicking periods during practice next week. The Packers need to put Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio through more scrutiny, which didn’t happen against the Cardinals. The Packers had no field goal attempts in the game.
Players will be off on Sunday, and McCarthy said he will treat next week like a regular-season game in terms of their practice schedule in advance of the Aug. 17 preseason game at St. Louis.