Overall impressions are mixed after the Packer's first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. It is easy to over analyze preseason games, but we can still get a sense of where a team stands. The score and statistics can often be misleading, but individual efforts can be analyzed. How a rookie adjusts to the pro game in their first game is a great gauge of how their first season will go.
Bryan Bullaga got a fair amount of play time at both guard and tackle. He played a very solid game and showed he will be a legitimate option to start as at left guard. His career seems to be off to a good start and, at the very least, he will be a very solid backup this year. Morgan Burnett, who likely will begin the year a starter, did not have a huge impact while on the field. Overall, he played well, although he did miss a tackle. Expect Burnett to play well against the Eagles. Mike Neal did not play enough to really evaluate his potential.
There are five basic aspects of a team; Pass offense, run offense, pass defense, run defense, and special teams.
Green Bay's pass offense was really sharp, Aaron Rodgers seemed extremely comfortable. He had good protection throughout the game. If the line stays healthy this year, they will be a solid unit, much improved from last year's 50 sack disaster. Aaron Rodgers with plenty of time has proved to be a deadly combination, so the pass attack is set for a huge upcoming season.
Ryan Grant did not have a great day, with only three carries, six yards, and a fumble before being injured. However, I am not too concerned. Ryan Grant rarely fumbles and it is just the preseason. The Packers are a pass first-offense and the run game will be strong enough to maintain balance.
The Packers' pass defense is the most concerning thing coming into the season. Although statistically strong, they struggled in key situations last season. Health played a big part in their struggles last season. If they can stay healthy throughout the year, Green Bay will be much more consistent. The Packers will need to find a way to bring pressure from sources other than Clay Matthews, or there may be repeats of the Wild Card performance.
The run defense is set to have a very good season. They were number one in the NFL last season and have the tools to repeat this season. The great run defense makes other teams much less dynamic and a lot easier to defend.
If the defense can continue to force so many turnovers and not give up the big plays, the Packers will be set for a huge season. Hopefully, a year of experience will cut down the penalties and the special teams won't be so poor. If they do improve upon were the struggled against the Browns-Pass defense and special teams-they will be strong contenders for the NFC title.
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