The Green Bay Packers finished their preseason with a 1-2 record after they lost to the Chiefs 17-10 in Kansas City.
Head coach Matt LaFleur opted not to play most of his veteran starters and that included quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rookie wide receiver Christian Watson also did not dress for this game and therefore did not see any action in the preseason.
The Packers will have to get down to the initial 53-man roster by Tuesday and then add players to the practice squad. They open the season on September 11 on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
Here are 10 quick takeaways from the Packers loss to the Chiefs:
- Jordan Love Has Made Progress
Once again Jordan Love had his moments and made some good passes. He looks more confident and decisive than he did a year ago and because of that, his arm appears stronger.
Love still makes some bad throws that show how much further he must go before becoming a quality starter in the NFL. The interception he threw late in the second quarter was thrown into double coverage and overthrown, for example.
Right now, Love appears to be a good backup quarterback with the potential to develop into a quality starter if he continues to learn and grow.
He clearly has made progress but is not ready for stardom just yet. The big question is whether or not he can reach his full potential.
- Both Tyler Goodson and Patrick Taylor Made a Case for the Third RB Job
With Kylin Hill now on the PUP list to start the season, the third running back job is a competition between undrafted rookie Tyler Goodson and second-year man Patrick Taylor. Both made a case for the spot today but only one can stick on the roster.
Goodson scored the Packers only touchdown of the game on an impressive 24-yard run that included a fancy spin move. However, his other six carries gained a total of four yards. Goodson also caught five passes for 26 yards.
Taylor led the Packers with 34 yards rushing on seven carries and added three catches for 17 yards.
Goodson appears to be more dynamic with the ball in his hands but Taylor is the better pass blocker and can contribute on special teams. GM Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have a tough decision to make on cut down day.
- Quay Walker Flashed His Speed and Talent
First round pick Quay Walker got the start on defense and was in on five total tackles. He showed he could read plays well and close quickly on the football in the first quarter.
Walker is still learning but the talent and skills you want to see from a first round draft pick were on display early against the Chiefs.
- Special Teams Looked Awful Again
Rich Bisaccia’s group continued to struggle and there just doesn’t seem to be much improvement here. The Chiefs had a 45-yard kick return and a 35-yard punt return so coverage teams struggled.
The Packers returned four kickoffs in the game but none of their returns were longer than 19 yards. The punt returners remained indecisive as Ishmael Hyman struggled to field kicks inside the 10 yard line and did his best Amari Rodgers imitation. Goodson also muffed a kick return but recovered and got out of the end zone.
At least Pat O’Donnell boomed a 69-yard punt and Ramiz Ahmed made his only field goal attempt and his only extra point. Ahmed was hit hard after the field goal but somehow the Chiefs were only called for running into the kicker and not roughing.
If returns and coverage don’t improve it’s going to be another long and costly season for Packers special teams.
- Josh Myers Looked Strong
Starting center Josh Myers looks like he’s ready to make a second year jump this year after injuries limited him to just six regular-season games in his rookie season.
The highlight for Myers was a downfield pancake block on Goodson’s touchdown run that showed his speed, mobility and perseverance.
The Packers will need a strong showing from Myers this year to solidify the middle of the offensive line.
- Jack Heflin Continues to Impress
If defensive lineman Jack Heflin doesn’t make the team this year, you can’t say he didn’t give it his all. The Iowa alum tied for the team lead with five total tackles and forced a fumble.
He also had a dramatic tackle for loss that stuffed the Chiefs on a 4th-and-1 situation which is as good as creating another turnover.
The Packers may not have enough room on the initial 53-man roster but Heflin deserves to play somewhere.
- Tariq Carpenter Got Burned
Tariq Carpenter is big and he can tackle but he got burned badly in coverage on the Chiefs 54-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. The rookie was slow to react on the play and by the time he did, the receiver was by him.
Carpenter made three tackles in the game with one of them coming on special teams. If he makes the team, it will be because of special teams but he doesn’t appear ready to cover NFL receivers right now and would be a liability on defense.
- Samori Toure Gave the Coaching Staff Something to Think About
The rookie seventh-round pick out of Nebraska led all receivers with six catches for 83 yards. Toure made some good catches and showed the ability to both separate and make catches in a crowd.
The Packers have a crowded room and wide receiver and may not have room for Toure on the initial 53-man roster. Toure certainly made it harder for the team to cut him with his strong performance against Kansas City.
- The Packers Got Sloppy in the Red Zone
The Packers kicked a field goal with 1:48 left in the first half but they easily could have scored a touchdown had it not been for some sloppy penalties with both occurring with the ball inside the Kansas City one-yard line.
One 1st-and-goal at the one, center Jake Hanson was called for a false start that moved the ball back to the six.
Then on 3rd-and-goal inside the one, the Pack was called for an illegal formation and again were moved back five yards.
On the next play, Yosh Nijman was called for illegal use of hands but that penalty was declined because Love’s pass for Tyler Davis fell incomplete.
It was a messy series for the red-zone offense and one that cannot happen in a regular-season game.
- Offensive Line Struggled Early
The Packers offensive line struggled early in the game. They started with game with Nijman at left tackle, Jon Runyan Jr. at left guard, Myers at center, Jake Hanson at right guard and Royce Newman at right tackle.
On the first two drives, this unit did a poor job of protecting Love, who was being harassed nearly every time he dropped back and weren’t opening holes for the running game either.
We will likely see some changes when the games start to count, but the early play of the o-line was a disappointment. At least it got better as the game progressed.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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