As the NFL Preseason opened this past weekend, diehard fans and fantasy owners made time to watch. Others may be setting aside time for "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel. But August marks the return of football. Wins and losses may not count for another month, but why wait till the first day of school. Dreams of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy start now.
The Preseason doesn't count, but it does matter.
In a 20-16 loss at Tennessee Saturday, the Green Bay Packers took away plenty of positives. Without all-stars Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, and Jordy Nelson, the backups took advantage right from the gun.James Starks and the Packers celebrate the first touchdown of the year.
In the driving rain, the Packers ran the rock all the way to the endzone for an opening drive touchdown. A team can’t start a season any better than that.
It was James Starks behind an impressive offensive line running for 49 yards on six carries. Starks exploded up the gut for a 20 yard touchdown. Coach Mike McCarthy said this 2014 offensive line could be the best of his Green Bay tenure. Especially if Brian Bulaga can stay healthy, they have a nasty running game with Eddie Lacy pounding the trenches.
Matt Flynn secured his job as number two quarterback on the depth chart. He commanded the huddle as usual. Coaches were pleasantly surprised to see Scott Tolzien bridge the gap. Tolzien went eight for 12 totaling 124 yards. He really spread the ball well targeting a young receiver corps.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Julius Peppers blitz alongside Clay Matthews. But the spotlight is still on first round pick safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He made three tackles and broke up a pass. No turnovers yet, but Ha Ha showed he can handle the pro game speed.
The fact that it was a horrible day weather-wise, meant ball security would be crucial. Both teams combined for ten fumbles in the monsoon. Who would’ve thought Week 1 in the Preseason would be a testament to special teams?
Rookie wide receiver Davante Adams muffed two punts, one of which led to a Titans touchdown on a short field. Adams’ role will more likely shift to spread shotgun sets with A-Rod. This means there is still a question mark on returns. Someone will need to relieve Randall Cobb and Micah Hyde.
But that’s what Preseason is for. We’ll have to wait and see in Week two when the Packers visit the St. Louis Rams Saturday Aug. 16th. One thing’s for sure, it won’t rain in the dome.