The Green Bay Packers lost their first preseason contest to the San Francisco 49ers 28-21. It was a competitive game with the lead changing hands several times. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur sat 33 players in this game including most of the team’s key starters on both offense and defense.
While the final score was unimportant, here are some quick takeaways from the Packers first preseason contest:
- Jordan Love Showed Progress But Has More to Learn
If you just read the box score, it says Love threw three interceptions in this game and had a quarterback rating of just 66.0 but it’s tough to say those three picks were Love’s fault. One of them went right through the hands of Tyler Davis, another was the result of two receivers running the wrong route and the third was tipped.
Love did look more decisive and confident and his arm strength was clearly on display. He also did a good job of running the two minute drill before the half.
Still, the third-year quarterback out of Utah State still has a way to go before he’s ready to be a starter in the NFL at least based on this performance. He needs to work a bit more on his ball placement and touch and he missed a few short sideline throws to his running backs that should be easy short gains.
- Rome Doubs Flashed His Talent
Thus far, rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs has been the talk of training camp. The Nevada alum flashed the talent that had everybody excited in this game, catching three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Doubs was targeted seven times but a few of the throws by Love were not accurate even though the rookie was open.
Doubs also made a few rookie mistakes including not getting to the sticks on a third-down play but that is all to be expected of a rookie playing his first NFL preseason game.
- Secondary Breakdowns
The secondary had some early breakdowns that led to big plays. Dallin Leavitt was beaten badly on a long pass and Rico Gafford was faked out so badly he fell and the result was another long touchdown.
The Packers defense allowed scoring plays 76 and 39 yards which would have been a lot less likely if the starters were in the game.
The coaching staff will have a lot to review when they go back and look at the film of the secondary in this game.
- Amari Rodgers Looked Better
Wide receiver Amari Rodgers had a disappointing rookie season but he showed some improvement in the first preseason contest. Rodgers caught a 22-yard touchdown pass and broke a long kick return that gave him a 34.5-yard average for the game.
Rodgers had more quickness and burst and showed more decisiveness on returns. All of these are good signs for the Packers.
- Gabe Brkic Looked Shaky
With Mason Crosby still on the PUP list, Gabe Brkic is the only healthy kicker on the roster. The former Oklahoma star looked shaky. He hit on all three of his extra points although at least one of them looked iffy. His one field goal attempt wasn’t from long range but he wasn’t even close to making it as he hooked it so wide it didn’t even hit the netting behind the goal posts.
It’s only one preseason game, but Brkic didn’t help inspire confidence with this performance.
- Backup RBs Flashed
Free agent running back Tyler Goodson flashed some ability. He looked quick through the holes and made led all Packers players with 37 yards rushing.
Goodson also gained 23 yards on a screen pass that showed his elusiveness and cutback ability.
B.J. Baylor and Dexter Williams also had their moments with Baylor gaining 68 yards on a catch and Williams producing the longest run of the game with a 25-yard pickup.
- The Depth Defensive Line Players Looked Good
Some of the Packers depth defensive linemen had their moments in this game. Jack Heflin was in on four tackles and showed some hustle while Chris Slayton was in on six total tackles and gave the coaching staff something to think about.
Other backup defenders who made some good plays include linebacker Isaiah McDuffie and defensive end Kobe Jones who made five total tackles and had a sack.
- Why Did Danny Etling Play a Half?
LaFleur made a curious decision when he removed Love from the game at halftime. Love isn’t expected to see many meaningful snaps once the regular season gets underway so why not let him play three quarters to see what he can do?
Third string quarterback Danny Etling isn’t making the active roster barring an injury and one quarter would have been enough for him. Etling showed some athleticism and completed 6-of-8 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, but it was more important to get Love the work than Etling. Was the fear of injury that big a factor in this decision?
- Young Receivers Shined
In addition to Doubs’ strong play, other young Packers receivers had some fine moments in this game. Undrafted free agent Danny Davis from Wisconsin scored on a 33-yard touchdown pass before the half and finished the game with two catches for 45 yards on two targets.
Samori Toure also looked good, catching three passes for 42 yards on four targets. This is encouraging for the Packers who need receiving depth.
- Special Teams Looked Better
Make no mistake, there’s still a lot of improvement needed on special teams but progress was definitely apparent except for the botched field goal try.
Punter Pat O’Donnell looked solid, averaging 44 yards per punt. None of the 49ers kick or punt returns were particularly damaging while Amari Rodgers broke off the long kick return.
Rich Bisaccia’s unit wasn’t a problem and that’s certainly encouraging.
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