After the Green Bay Packers' and New England Patriots' preseason battle on Thursday night, we have plenty of instant reactions to the events of the first game of the season. The Packers' starters on offense played the entire first quarter, which was a bit of a surprise, but several of the team's young players impressed in their first NFL action.
All in all, Packers fans should be encouraged by the play of rookies Quinten Rollins and Brett Hundley, who had nice games tonight. Here is a look into APC's stream of consciousness on Thursday night.
- David Bakhtiari was struggling early on with Chandler Jones and Trey Flowers.
- Julius Peppers left the field after playing just one series - and I'm very happy about that. Since he's not learning a new position this year, there's no need for him to get any extra snaps at this point in the preseason.
- It looked like James Vaughters nearly blocked a punt early on - that's a nice little flash of that special teams ability that he has and that has been well-documented.
- I have no complaints with an aggressive Mike McCarthy on 4th downs in the first game of the preseason. It gives the players more reps in pressure situations early, which can't hurt, and with Cody Mandell released, Tim Masthay doesn't really need any practice right now anyway.
- It was surprising to see Aaron Rodgers and the starters on offense play three series and go all the way through the first quarter. It was not surprising to see them move the ball between the 20s but struggle in the red zone.
- Davante Adams seemed to struggle early. He had a drop in the end zone, and a few receptions on which he could have been more assertive. Not a great night for the young receiver.
- This year's Jayrone Elliott might be...Jayrone Elliott. He spent quite a bit of time in the backfield during the second and third quarters.
- Justin Perillo made a couple of great contested catches. On one, he was able to shake free of a defender and rumble for 16 yards.
- Jeff Janis will get the love for his touchdown catch, but don't discount Scott Tolzien's performance and, in particular, his throw on that play. He looked very good in the second quarter, for the most part. His velocity is much better than it was even a year ago.
- One of the stars of the first half was Quinten Rollins. He broke up consecutive passes at one point, then made a great, instinctive play to break on an underneath route and lay a big hit on running back James White in the flat to break up another, then knocked down yet another pass in the end zone.
- LaDarius Gunter's interception was a really nice play, as he showed great concentration in making the catch with a receiver nearby.
- Aaron Ripkowski started to show up nicely on special teams, making two tackles on kickoff returns, including one at the eleven yard line.
- Brett Hundley taking the third set of quarterback snaps ahead of Matt Blanchard was an interesting choice, but it's a sign both that he has indeed been improving lately and that Blanchard still doesn't really have a serious shot at making the team. He seemed to play very well too, making some nice throws into tight windows and later adding a touchdown pass to John Crockett. All told, he seemed confident and effective, a very good sign after struggling during his first week of training camp.
- Don Barclay did not have a good game at all tonight. He gave up more than one sack, including one in which he got beaten badly by a rip move.
- Wins are nice. Comfortable wins are even better. Now let's do it in the regular season too.