Kevin said it best last night, it was ugly and sloppy. Despite the rough around the edges look of the game, and the fact that the Packers lost, there was some promise to that first preseaon game. Now that we all have gotten some sleep and a time to work off any beer induced rage over just how uneven the play was, it's time to take a look at the roster. As always in the NFL there are winners and losers with every performance, and so let's see who was a winner last night and who lost some ground in his effort to make an impact on this team (or possibly make the Packers at all).
- Nick Perry shows he belongs. Perry is an interesting story for me at the moment. As soon as he was picked there were extremely high expectations of him, but at the same time large portions of fans were underwhelmed. This was enhanced the next day of the draft with the dramatic trades for Jerel Worthy (who seemed to garner more post draft hype than Perry) and Casey Hayward. It continued as Dezman Moses turned heads in minicamps and OTA's. As camp opened there were even reports of him struggling due to the fact that Bryan Bulaga beat him in camp regularly. Well if he hasn't started to win some of those doubters over by now I don't know when he will. Perry had a very good game tonight with a sack and three tackles. He even looked solid enough in coverage. Perry showed that he can be a pass rushing force opposite Clay Matthews and really isn't that what we want to see from him this year?
- Tori Gurley stays in the hunt. The old saying is that you can't make the club in the tub. It's true, but Gurley was able to defy that a bit tonight. Gurley's main competition right now is Diondre Borel who did not have a good night. Borel living up to his hype could of been an early knock out for Gurley while he is fighting his groin injury, but instead tonight's performance by Borel keeps the door open for Gurley. If Gurley can get healthy and pick up where he left off in camp then he still has a good chance of making the team.
- Davon House steals the spotlight. House started tonight and showed that he belonged. Good coverage and some great tackles highlighted a very good performance all around. This performance may be overshadowed by a shoulder injury. If he can bounce back and not lose much time because of this injury then he should be in great shape for locking down that starting corner spot.
- Dom Capers. All those drastic roster moves to fix the defense looked pretty good tonight. For long portions of the game it just looked like a defensive battle highlighted by a few turnovers. A few warts came with the injuries to Desmond Bishop and Davon House, but overall it looked like the defense has gotten more talented this year and that has to make Capers a happy man.
Graham Harrell struggles early. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Harrell's night wasn't terrible by any means, but he chose the wrong spot for a slow start. It's going to take him a great performance against Cleveland in order for Packer fans to stop beating the drum for an upgrade at backup QB, despite his bounce back as the night went on.
Casey Hayward looks like a rookie. The most encouraging thing come out of the CB battle was the reoccurring thought that Hayward looked like a veteran in practice. Unfortunately tonight he looked like a rookie. He was beat on double moves and struggled to make some tackles. He also had moments where the coverage was good and had a nice break on the ball, but if he wants to beat out Jarrett Bush and or House then he has to be more consistent in his coverage.
Diondre Borel underwhelms. It could be argued that Borel lost the most tonight. He was given the opportunity to be the #1 return man and fumbled on an early return (a return he should of taken the touchback on no less). He had many targets early in second quarter but ended with only three catches for 13 yards. For a while it almost seemed like the team was begging for him to step up to the occasion and he just couldn't. Borel will be in the lead for that 6th WR spot as long as Gurley is nursing an injured groin, but tonight he blew a golden opportunity to build a near insurmountable lead.
James Campen. Between Herb Taylor and the rest of the backups, the offensive line looked bad tonight. Really bad. After family night the running excuse for the backups was that they didn't get practice as a unit....I didn't really buy that then and I'm really not buying that now. The fact is that right now if you go beyond the starting five things get dicey quick. Heck, even Marshall Newhouse is a question mark, and I'm not just saying that because of his injury status. Hopefully Reggie Wells can calm things down and just be a pretty good swing tackle while Derek Sherrod gets healthy. As for the rest of the guys, well they need to make some improvements if they want to be on an NFL roster in a few weeks.
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