On Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-9 in the teams’ opening game of the 2017 preseason. However, more important than the final score are player evaluation and the reps that young players received during the game.
As expected in the first game, the starters played very little, with the starting offense going just three short series (sans Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, who were held out entirely). The top defense got just one series, but in that period it rolled out the Nitro package with regularity. That is the personnel grouping with Morgan Burnett playing inside linebacker, which already is clearly going to be a prominent part of the Packers’ defensive game plan.
Here are the snap counts for the offense and defensive snaps in Thursday’s game.
Joe Callahan 26, Brett Hundley 26, Taysom Hill 11, Aaron Rodgers 0 (inactive)
Hundley got to play through the entire first half before ceding the spot under center to Callahan. Hundley’s final pass was an interception in Packers territory, as Mychal Kendricks stepped in front of Max McCaffrey to pick off the pass. Callahan played until midway through the fourth quarter, after which Hill came in and made a few nice throws — including a deep ball for DeAngelo Yancey and a back-shoulder fade to Michael Clark for the game’s final score.
FB Joe Kerridge 22, Aaron Jones 13, Will Stanback 13, Ty Montgomery 11, Kalif Phillips 11, Jamaal Williams 8, Davante Mays 7, FB Aaron Ripkowski 0
With so many running backs on the roster, the Packers can’t give too many snaps to any one of them. Montgomery had a bad fumble early, but came back out for another drive after that. It was interesting to note that Ripkowski did not play on offense at all and played just one snap on special teams — there was no report of an injury to the third-year fullback, but it seems unlikely that he would have seen so few snaps without an injury.
DeAngelo Yancey 31, Max McCaffrey 28, Trevor Davis 20, Michael Clark 17, Malachi Dupre 16, Geronimo Allison 15, Jeff Janis 11, Montay Crockett 11, Davante Adams 10, Randall Cobb 10, Jordy Nelson 0 (inactive)
The receivers split up the snaps widely among the players towards the bottom of the roster as well, with the Yancey-McCaffrey duo leading in both snaps and receiving yards.
Aaron Peck 26, Lance Kendricks 15, Martellus Bennett 11
After starting out in a two-tight end set, the Packers didn’t use the tight ends much at all afterwards, likely due in large part to Richard Rodgers and Beau Sandland sitting out with injuries.
Justin McCray 52, Kofi Amichia 29, Jason Spriggs 28, Kyle Murphy 28, Lucas Patrick 28, Robert Leff 24, Geoff Gray 24, Adam Pankey 24, Don Barclay 12, Lane Taylor 11, David Bakhtiari 11, Bryan Bulaga 11, Jahri Evans 11, Corey LInsley 11, Thomas Evans 11
As expected, the starting line took few snaps before giving way to the second unit. When Barclay was injured, it was Lucas Patrick who stepped in at center in his place. Spriggs and Murphy played tackle almost exclusively, so it’s tough to get a read on whether either one is being seen as a potential backup on the interior.
Christian Ringo 38, Brian Price 38, Ricky Jean Francois 21, Izaah Lunsford 21, Kenny Clark 16, Dean Lowry 13, Mike Daniels 12
The Packers gave 159 total snaps to defensive linemen, essentially confirming that they played with a two-man line on every play. Ringo and Price appear to be in the biggest fight for a roster spot, so each and every rep that those two players take will be heavily scrutinized.
Reggie Gilbert 41, Johnathan Calvin 40, Josh Letuligasenoa 14, Clay Matthews 13, Nick Perry 13, Kyler Fackrell 12, Jayrone Elliott 12
See above, but with Gilbert/Calvin; one of those two players should end up as the Packers’ fifth or sixth outside linebacker (depending on Vince Biegel’s return), and the Packers gave both of them a long look in the second half.
Jordan Tripp 37, Derick Mathews 27, Blake Martinez 25, Joe Thomas 23, Jake Ryan 19, David Talley 14, Cody Heiman 7
Tripp has made his name early on as a special teams player, so getting this much playing time on defense has to be good for him to show what he can do. He made four total tackles on the day, tying Thomas for the lead among all linebackers. It was a bit disappointing for this writer to see Heiman so low on the list, but that is probably a sign that he does not yet have a strong command of the defense.
Lenzy Pipkins 43, Kevin King 36, Josh Hawkins 36, Raysean Pringle 33, Donatello Brown 25, Ladarius Gunter 21, Quinten Rollins 19, Daquan Holmes 16, Damarious Randall 6
Randall’s injury early on forced Gunter into more snaps, but it was almost a sure thing that King was going to play frequently throughout the game. Hawkins looked solid at times, finishing second on the team with five tackles, while King had four.
Josh Jones 43, Marwin Evans 41, Jermaine Whitehead 38, Kentrell Brice 24, Aaron Taylor 16, Morgan Burnett 13, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 3
Here we get to the most interesting group of players on the roster. Ha Ha barely played, likely because he is a known quantity at free safety and didn’t need to show anything in week one of the preseason. Burnett played safety, linebacker, and slot corner in his brief time on the field, while Jones was seen at both safety spots and linebacker as well. Evans had one of the most impressive individual performances in the game, leading the Packers in tackles with six and adding a great interception late.