Exhibitions are hard to read, especially the first and second one. Usually, the first-stringers are in there for a quarter, maybe more, then the backups vying for jobs battle it out and usually determine the outcome.
Saturday's 17-0 victory over the Browns had several outstanding aspects to it for the Packers, who are trying to bounce back from a disappointing 6-10 season. Granted, the Browns aren't exactly a Super Bowl contender, but they were a solid foe for a preseason opener (they will square off again in the regular season in Week 7).
So, here are some impressions:
Jermichael Finley: Despite a second-string tight end having just two catches for 18 yards, showed the dynamic ability that made the Packers draft him n the third round a year ago.
James Jones: The No. 3 receiver rebounded nicely from disappointing 2008 marked by a preseason knee injury.
3-4 defense: Yes, the scheme had a very good debut. Four interceptions and three sacks highlighted the performance of the new-look unit.
Desmond Bishop: The Packers were already happy with who they had competing for starting spots. After Bishop, stuck behind A.J. Hawk at one inside linebacker spot, stole the show on defense with one interception and forcing another.
Aaron Rodgers: Looked solid in his 5-of-10, 102-yard performance. His mobility led to a 53-yard touchdown strike to Donald Driver.
Matt Flynn: The mumbling that began last year grew a little bit louder with the No. 2 quarterback further distancing himself from No. 3 Brian Brohm, who was drafted in the second round last year while Flynn was taken in the seventh.
Anthony Smith: The safety brought in from the Steelers due to his familiarity with the Capers-style 3-4 defense redeemed himself for a facemask penalty (which did revent a TD) but picking off a Brad Quinn pass in the end zone three plays later.
Ryan Grant: For a guy coming off a 1,206-yard sophomore season, there is a lot of criticism leveled at the running back. Maybe that is because he had just four TDs and his yards per carry dropped from 5.1 as a rookie to 3.9 last year. He looked good against the Browns.
Offensive line: With starting spots up for grabs at center and right tackle, the offensive line was certainly productive. The unit paved the way for 230 yards rushing, allowed two sacks and contributed mightily to a 39:56-20:04 advantage in time of possession.
About the Author
Written by Steve Drumwright