Thursday, August 28, 2014
Observation Deck: Green Bay Packers
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers had no intention of putting Aaron Rodgers at risk of injury in Thursday's preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Rodgers and most of the starters on both sides of the ball were held out.
And it gave them the perfect excuse to get a long look at the two players locked in a battle to be his backup.
Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien might have made the Packers' decision that much more difficult, especially if they were thinking of keeping only one of them.
Alternating quarters, each threw a pair of touchdown passes in the Packers' 34-14 victory at Lambeau Field.
Playing the first and third quarters, Flynn finished 7-of-15 passing for 102 yards and two touchdown passes for a passer rating of 108.9. Meanwhile, Tolzien finished 12-of-18 for 139 yards and two touchdown passes for a passer rating of 126.9. If the Packers were hoping to sneak Tolzien through to the practice squad, for which he remains eligible, that might be even more difficult after teams see the film from this game.
Some other thoughts on the Packers' preseason finale:
- The only offensive line starter to play was center Corey Linsley, who assumed the job last week after JC Tretter injured a knee. The rookie fifth-round pick played the first two series, both with Flynn, and did not have any obvious breakdowns, but the Packers gave him plenty of help. On several plays, guard Lane Taylor and Linsley used combination blocks on the Chiefs' front.
- Undrafted rookie Jayrone Elliott, who was tied for the NFL preseason sack lead, registered his fifth sack of the summer in the first quarter. He overpowered Kansas City's starting right tackle Donald Stephenson to dump Chase Daniel on third-and-12. On the previous play, Elliott used a speed move to beat Stephenson to the inside and drew a holding penalty. The sequence might have locked up a roster spot for Elliott, who left the game briefly in the third quarter with an unannounced injury but returned.
- As good as James Starks looked in the preseason opener, DuJuan Harris has been the better running back since -- other than his fumble in Week 2 against the Rams. Harris gained 26 yards on his first four carries before getting dumped for a 6-yard loss after backup tackle Derek Sherrod whiffed on a block. Harris could have made enough of a statement that he would open the season as Eddie Lacy's backup.
- Early in camp, Rajion Neal looked like the better of the Packers' two undrafted rookie running backs. But Neal injured a knee in the preseason opener, leaving the door open for LaDarius Perkins. Against the Chiefs, Perkins scored on an 11-yard screen pass from Flynn and also had a long run of 22 yards.
- The Packers announced four other injuries. Tackle Aaron Adams (knee), defensive end Khyri Thornton (hamstring), linebacker Adrian Hubbard (knee), linebacker Nate Palmer (knee) left the game and did not return.