Before we jump too far forward in looking at the upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bengals, let's take one last look back to the otherwise forgettable game against the Cleveland Browns. One of the mantras over the past week has been that the preseason is a time to evaluate talent, especially the younger players on the team. Not a bad saying to have in your back pocket after a tough loss. It is true though, and this past game was able to give us another glimpse into what kind of talent the 2012 Green Bay Packers have currently. As in every preseason game some players helped their cause to be a part of this team and other hurt their chances. I know I personally have had enough negativity lately so let's start with....
1. Marshall Newhouse. What a difference a left tackle makes. Aaron Rodgers had a tough night against the Chargers, but looked much closer to form against the Browns. The whole first team offense looked sharper actually. Most of this is attributable to the play of Marshal Newhouse. He was able to give Aaron Rodgers time and open up some nice holes for Alex Green to run through. If there was any doubt about his importance this season last week's game should have cleared a way those doubts nicely.
2. D.J. Williams. With no Jermichael Finley in the line up, Williams had a nice chance to show what he can do. Williams had some good grabs with the first team offense and was a key figure for keeping drives alive. This did not continue once Rodgers' night was complete which is a bit disappointing but it is understandable considering the drop off in play of the second team offensive line and the pressure that put on Graham Harrell.
3. Jerron McMillian. McMillian turned in a good night with a much better display of tackling than the week previous. He has since climbed up the depth chart a bit and found more of a role on special teams. I would definitely call this a win for a young safety trying to make a name for himself in a competitive, if underrated, battle at the safety spot.
1. Graham Harrell. The bad news: Harrell needed to have a good night last Thursday to change some of the story surrounding him and he failed to do so. The good news: The team and coaching staff still have his back so his roster spot shouldn't be in too much danger. Despite this good news, preseason is Harrell's main chance to shine and so far he hasn't been able to pull this off. Fortunately for him he's got two more weeks to do so, and hopefully go against some lesser competition this week with Rodgers taking most of the first half snaps.
2. Marc Tyler. Earlier in the preseason I would of said that Tyler was a good candidate for the PS due to the situation at RB. After last week's game I'm not so sure. He couldn't catch. He couldn't break tackles. He couldn't find holes (not that there were many holes to find). The fumble in the SD game left a bad taste in people's mouth after an otherwise good performance, but last week's performance was just straight up bad. His good news is that Alex Green is still on a snap count and Cedric Benson probably only play the first half. That leaves plenty of reps in the second half for him to flip the script and play his way on to the roster or at least continue is NFL dream with a PS spot.
3. Ryan Taylor. Taylor has not had a great camp. I know he's more of a blocker and special teams guy, but he's dropped too many passes in practice for my tastes. Watching him slip and fall on his face resulting in a pick six was a face palm moment for me where I truly just felt bad for Harrell. It was also the moment where I realized I would no longer be shocked Taylor failed to make the team.
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