The first preseason game of the year is always a chance for teams to examine their rookies, and the Green Bay Packers did just that on Thursday in their 28-26 victory over the Houston Texans.
Draft picks led the way in snap counts on both offense and defense in the game. One, second-round pick Elgton Jenkins, played multiple positions on the offensive line as the team worked him onto the field both as a guard and at center. On the flip side, seventh-rounder Ty Summers played almost the entire game at inside linebacker, racking up a huge number of tackles early as the Texans stuck with the running game.
Here’s a look at the snap totals by position.
DeShone Kizer 29, Tim Boyle 16, Manny Wilkins 14
Kizer was in for four series, covering the entire first half, followed by two for Boyle and two for Wilkins (not counting a kneel-down to end the game). Although Kizer’s early action showed many of the same issues that he displayed last summer — poor decision-making and some errant throws — he did have a few nice moments.
Meanwhile, Boyle struggled near the goal line but still managed touchdown passes on both of his drives, including a perfect 27-yarder to Allen Lazard. Wilkins showed off some mobility and scrappiness, though he failed to complete any of his three pass attempts.
Dexter Williams 29, Tra Carson 20, Danny Vitale 11, Malcolm Johnson 7, Darrin Hall 6, Keith Ford 1
Williams was by far the most impressive runner on the day for the Packers, getting 14 carries and turning them into 62 yards. He also had a nice 18-yard scamper on a screen pass, evading a tackle early and showing off his burst for a nice gain. All told, he is by far the most explosive of the Packers’ reserve backs, and it’s clear why the team thinks he is a great fit in Matt LaFleur’s offense. Carson looks like a big body, but not one that is much more than a camp body.
Perhaps the most interesting development here was the usage for Danny Vitale, who was on the field as a lead blocker as well as a third-down back in the shotgun. He made a really nice catch in the flat early and might have had another nice gain if not for a bad throw by Kizer.
Darrius Shepherd 32, Allen Lazard 28, J’Mon Moore 24, Jake Kumerow 19, Equanimeous St. Brown 13, Geronimo Allison 8, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 8, Teo Redding 7, Jawill Davis 7, Malik Taylor 6
Allison and MVS started the game, with Kumerow and EQ working into the mix early. Kumerow had two very nice catches from Kizer, though, showing a great release off the line and good, late hands (which Aaron Rodgers recently complimented).
Of the remainder, there were three touchdowns spread around, but the performances were very different. Shepherd looks like a sneaky pick to make the team, showing good route-running from the slot. He scored his touchdown on a terrific reaching catch of a high throw from Kizer out of a mesh concept, while Lazard’s score from Boyle was a result of using his huge frame to get inside position on his cover man and giving the QB a big target to throw to.
Moore had the most disappointing day of the group despite his touchdown. He dropped two very catchable balls, one of which was erased by a defensive penalty, then even double-clutched his touchdown reception. He’s resuming right where he left off last preseason.
Evan Baylis 37, Robert Tonyan 18, Pharoah McKever 14
The best play from a tight end on the day was from Tonyan, who had a great 23-yard reception from Kizer on a seam route up the middle. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to see from the other players.
Elgton Jenkins 45, Adam Pankey 40, Gerhard de Beer 35, Cole Madison 30, Anthony Coyle 30, Alex Light 29, Lucas Patrick 29, Justin McCray 27, Lane Taylor 16, Yosh Nijman 14
Here’s where the Packers got really interesting on offense. The starting line consisted of Light, Taylor, Patrick, Jenkins, and de Beer from left to right. Jenkins played both right guard and center, while Patrick and McCray were all over the interior of the line. Pankey got some run at both tackle positions, while Nijman finished the game out at left tackle.
There were penalties galore on the offensive line, as holding is apparently a focus of the officials this summer; Madison was flagged twice with de Beer and Light each earning a flag on the opening drive as well.
James Looney 46, Kingsley Keke 44, Deon Simon 40, Montravius Adams 35, Tyler Lancaster 22, Olive Sagapolu 5
The Packers got some solid snaps from Looney and Keke in this game, with both players showing some flashes. This was a great sign for Looney, who really seemed to struggle in his first preseason. Adams made a few nice plays as well, collapsing the pocket a few times in pass rush.
Randy Ramsey 42, Kyler Fackrell 33, Rashan Gary 32, Reggie Gilbert 29, Markus Jones 24
Ramsey and Gilbert recorded the Packers’ only two sacks on Texans quarterback Joe Webb, with Ramsey’s coming on an unblocked rush and Gilbert cleaning up after Adams flushed Webb to his right. While Gary did not record a tackle in the game, his athleticism showed through clearly, as did his raw technique as a pass-rusher. He’s got a ways to go, but he showed the signs of a good player in the making.
Ty Summers 66, James Crawford 31, Brady Sheldon 24, Curtis Bolton 23, Oren Burks 6
Summers led the way for the Packers all game long, and he was a tackling machine, particularly in the first half. He had ten total tackles in the game, nine of which came before halftime when he was demonstrating a great nose for the football in run support. He was exposed a bit in coverage, but all told it was an impressive debut for the seventh-round draft pick.
Burks was injured very early in the game, apparently hurting his left shoulder and being unable to return. He and Summers started, and the team clearly wanted to get a longer look at the second-year pro; hopefully he’ll be able to return next week.
The other three players were less impressive; Sheldon dropped an interception (it was initially ruled a pick and fumble, but was reversed to an incomplete pass), Crawford had issues in pass coverage, and Bolton seemed to struggle in run support.
Natrell Jamerson 55, Will Redmond 38, Tray Matthews 28, Raven Greene 24, Mike Tyson 22, Darnell Savage 9
At safety, Jamerson had a tough day. He missed a few tackles, despite recording five on the stat sheet; he was very often around the ball carrier but had too many misses. Redmond was the team’s top slot corner early, then played more of a safety role after that, looking largely serviceable.
Greene and Savage started the contest, with the rookie getting just one series on the field. Greene forced a fumble late in the second quarter with a great strip on the football, and he appears to be playing with more confidence this summer.
Chandon Sullivan 59, Kabion Ento 52, Ka’dar Hollman 38, Tony Brown 28, Nydair Rouse 26
Here’s where the Packers got some very impressive play from the reserves. Brown was picked on a bit, but his fellow starter, Hollman, recorded an interception and a pair of tackles. Sullivan picked off a pass as well and had a fantastic tackle on a receiver screen, shedding a blocker to make the play. Ento had a really nice pass breakup up the left sideline, tracking the football and leaping to knock the football away from a receiver.
The Packers got double-digit special teams snaps from a handful of players, including Summers (13), Sheldon (14), and Matthews (13). Sam Ficken and Mason Crosby each made a pair of PATs, while Ficken kicked off four times to Crosby’s one.