As the Green Bay Packers continued their preseason schedule in Washington on Saturday night, more position battles started to come into focus. A review of the snap counts from the Packers’ 21-17 victory show a few of those battles clearly, with several players competing for roster and practice squad spots.
Here’s a look at the snap breakdowns on offense and defense from Saturday.
Taysom Hill 24, Brett Hundley 24, Aaron Rodgers 16, Joe Callahan 6
The Packers got impressive performances from their top two quarterbacks, with Rodgers leading a touchdown drive on the opening series and Hundley completing 9 of 10 passes with a touchdown of his own. In the third and fourth quarters, however, the coaching staff clearly wanted to give Taysom Hill the bulk of the snaps, after Callahan played much more in the first preseason game.
Hill far outplayed Callahan in this contest, showing much better pocket presence. Unlike Callahan, who seems to bail on plays too early and scrambles backwards often, Hill showed a knack for stepping up in the pocket to avoid pressure and then using his legs only after going through his progressions. Nowhere was that on display better than on his 23-yard touchdown run, which saw him avoid the initial rush then split the defense up the middle and use his excellent athleticism to find the end zone.
Davante Mays 18, Jamaal Williams 17, Kalif Phillips 17, FB Joe Kerridge 15, Aaron Jones 14, FB Aaron Ripkowski 6
This week’s running back snaps were divided up thoroughly among the four active tailbacks (Ty Montgomery and Will Stanback did not play). Williams played the first drive of each half, then gave way to Jones, who had the best yards-per-carry average of the tailbacks (4.7 but on just three carries). Jones did show off some skills as a receiver, leading the team with four receptions including a touchdown. Phillips and Mays both showed some decent burst, and still appear to be fighting for a spot on the roster or practice squad as a fourth tailback.
Jeff Janis 30, Max McCaffrey 25, Trevor Davis 23, Montay Crockett 22, Geronimo Allison 20, Michael Clark 18, DeAngelo Yancey 17, Davante Adams 16, Jordy Nelson 15, Randall Cobb 12
Once again, the Packers wanted to get a long look at the bubble players at the wide receiver position, with the top three spots on the depth chart being occupied. Allison looks like a quicker, shiftier receiver this year and eluded five defenders after the catch on his two receptions. Janis had a very nice day, with a handful of tough catches, including an over-the-shoulder grab on a go route.
McCaffrey had a less impressive showing on offense this week than last, but he did contribute a 17-yard punt return to put his name in that discussion. The reason it is a discussion at all at this point is because of Trevor Davis’ fumble on the first return of the day, which wiped away much of the lead he built up with his punt return score last week.
Crockett, Clark, and Yancey were essentially non-factors all game.
How many spots are up for grabs? With Allison suspended for week one, it would not be a shock to see six wideouts still make the roster. In that case, Janis, Davis, and McCaffrey certainly have the best claim on those spots at present, given their special teams contributions in addition to making some plays on offense. However, Yancey’s fifth-round draft status and Clark’s impressive summer thus far do complicate the issue.
Emmanuel Byrd 20, Lance Kendricks 18, Martellus Bennett 16, Richard Rodgers 10
The Packers opened up in 12 personnel with Kendricks and Bennett on the field for the opening drive. The lone catch for the entire position group was Bennett’s three-yard touchdown, but fans got a taste of the versatility present in the offense on that play; he and Kendricks lined up split wide with Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams in the slot. Kendricks also moved around quite a bit on that drive, demonstrating the multiple formations available with that personnel grouping.
Justin McCray 43, Lucas Patrick 41, Kyle Murphy 30, Jason Spriggs 30, Kofi Amichia 30, Robert Leff 24, Thomas Evans 24, Geoff Gray 24, Adam Pankey 24, Corey Linsley 17, David Bakhtiari 16, Lane Taylor 16, Jahri Evans 16, Bryan Bulaga 16
After the opening drive, the Packers took a long look at the second-team line, and it wasn’t pretty. Spriggs was the biggest culprit, as he got beaten for multiple sacks and gave up additional pressures. Amichia also showed that he has a ways to go before he can be relied upon heavily.
Patrick again played mainly center once Linsley came out of the game and had a few mistakes of his own. All told, the second and third lines struggled mightily.
Christian Ringo 37, Brian Price 29, Kenny Clark 19, Ricky Jean Francois 17, Izaah Lunsford 16, Dean Lowry 15, Mike Daniels 10
The Packers started out with a three-man rotation of Daniels, Clark, and Lowry on the first few series of the game, and that looks to be a very solid starting group. Daniels is Daniels, Clark has held up at the point of attack while providing some interior push, and Lowry’s technique appears to be catching up to his athleticism. However, Lowry left after suffering a leg injury, possibly a hyperextended knee. Mike McCarthy gave no updates on his status on Sunday.
The snap counts clearly show who is competing for a job behind those players. Ricky Jean Francois is likely safe and is just getting a moderate snap count to get him familiar with the Packers’ scheme. After him, it’s a two-man battle for the fifth DL spot between Ringo and Price.
Reggie Gilbert 41, Johnathan Calvin 23, Kyler Fackrell 22, Jayrone Elliott 20, Josh Letuligasenoa 15, Nick Perry 10, Clay Matthews 10
The Packers seem to really want Gilbert to show that he deserves a role on the 53-man roster, as he took some snaps with the second-team defense and just about every snap on the third team. He did have the only sack of the night, as he was able to bend around the right tackle for a play on the QB. Fackrell and Elliott are locked in battle for the primary backup spot, though Fackrell aligned at inside linebacker a few times (but still primarily rushed the passer from that position on the field).
Cody Heiman 32, Blake Martinez 26, David Talley 24, Joe Thomas 22, Jake Ryan 15, Derrick Mathews 6, Jordan Tripp 2
Ryan and Thomas appear to be entrenched as the primary starting options and both played a bit more this week thanks to Josh Jones’ injury and Morgan Burnett playing a little less linebacker than in the first game. Tripp’s and Mathews’ injuries left the Packers needing to fill their snap counts, and they turned to Martinez more heavily than they had intended. Talley has played both outside and inside this season and he also picked up some of the slack.
Josh Hawkins 37, Kevin King 35, Lenzy Pipkins 31, LaDarius Gunter 27, Donatello Brown 24, Raysean Pringle 21, Quinten Rollins 19, Daquan Holmes 15
Hawkins and King started the game at corner with Rollins, but both saw extensive time with the second-string defense as well. Hawkins took a big step towards solidifying a spot on the 53, though, breaking up three passes and making five tackles. A few of those came in the run game as well, as he is showing a willingness to tackle that he did not display much last season. King also had some nice moments, with a pass breakup, a tackle on defense, and a great tackle as a gunner on punt coverage.
Gunter appears banished to the second and third teams at this point, and his roster spot remains very much in question. The Packers appear to have an intriguing player in Brown, who made a few plays on the football and had one official pass breakup. Pipkins’ biggest highlight was when he picked up a receiver at the whistle then slammed him down on the turf afterwards. That play did not draw a penalty.
Marwin Evans 58, Kentrell Brice 38, Aaron Taylor 30, Jermaine Whitehead 15, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 10, Morgan Burnett 10
With no Jones on the field, Evans and Taylor saw more time on defense. Evans led the team with six tackles, and was generally solid in coverage, though he did allow a big completion to tight end Vernon Davis. The shine seems to have worn off a bit on Brice, who has been acceptable but has made no splash plays yet. Taylor and Whitehead still appear to be miles behind those two, however.