If you're looking for positive twist on Thursday night's exhibition against in Kansas City, know that for the rest of the season the Packers won't play in a game as boring and meaningless. There's only so much one can take from the fourth and final game of the preseason, especially when the Packers were blown out 30-8. So long as the players make it out unscathed, the team and fans should be happy. Thankfully, no Packers suffered any major injuries.
This is the fourth year in a row that the Packers and Chiefs have met to close the preseason. That's a lot of pedestrian football.
The Packers' biggest highlight came on the first play from scrimmage where Tramon Williams leaped up to intercept a Chase Daniel pass. It was the first play of the preseason for Williams, who's been sidelined with a bone bruise. After finishing many years at or near the top of the league in turnovers, the Packers defense finished 30th in interceptions and 19th in fumble recoveries in 2012. If Williams can return anywhere close to his 2010 form, it'll go a long way towards restoring the defense.
Some fans aren't happy about the Packers' decision to retain Mason Crosby under a reworked contract, but the fact is he handily beat Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez in training camp. Crosby looked fine again Thursday night, converting both of his field goal attempts from 48 and 45 yards out.
There really wasn't much else to say about the starters. Many sat out the entire game, while several others played a series or less. With the season opening in just ten days, there just wasn't any reason to put the number ones in harms way.
Vince Young handled most of the snaps for Green Bay, and one thing has been made clear: he needs to start sliding. Multiple times, Young took off when nobody got open only to take a hit to the midsection. While he's a big quarterback, there's no reason to endanger your health by refusing to slide.
At this point, it would be a huge upset if Johnny Jolly isn't a part of the 2013 Green Bay Packers. Late in the first half, Jolly bulldozed through the Chiefs offensive line to sack the quarterback. There are still some questions about his stamina, but Jolly should be a dominant in the defensive line rotation this year.
The coaching staff gave all of the first half punt returns to Micah Hyde. The team has alternated between Jeremy Ross and Hyde as the primary punt returner the past few weeks. Hyde didn't do anything special Thursday night (he called for an early fair catch on two of them), but the Packers historically have been happy just to have a guy who secures the ball and makes smart decisions. By all indications, Hyde can be that guy, not to mention the contributions he can make on defense. Hyde doesn't have the coverage skills of some of the other corners, but he is tremendous the closer he gets to the center. A play after Jolly's sack, Hyde blitzed from the slot for another sack of Chase Daniel. The Packers have to feel good about the player they got for a mere 5th round draft pick.
Brandon Smith is a frustrating player. He'll make athletic plays like breaking up a pass intended for A.J. Jenkins and later his interception. But sprinkled throughout the night were negative plays such as losing Junior Hemmingway for a touchdown or blowing coverage on Josh Bellamy's score. All three of Tyler Bray's touchdown passes came at the expense of Smith. He's a naturally talented athlete, but at his age (26) it's hard to see him ever becoming a refined corner. Consequently, it's fair to assume he's played his last game in the green and gold.
Tyrone Walker's stat line didn't jump off the page, but he was regularly targeted throughout the game. After a week in which he "caught everything but a cold," Walker looks to have a good shot at making the final roster.
It was a short night for B.J. Coleman. After alternating with Young for a couple drives, Coleman spent the remainder of the game glued to the bench. Judging from his 2-for-7 stat line, it wasn't because the coaches just wanted an extended look at Young.
Sam Barrington didn't play many snaps, but he blew by untouched late in the third for a sack and safety. Barrington possesses rare explosiveness for a linebacker. It's too early to say what kind of player he'll be down the line, but he probably locked in his roster spot tonight.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn