On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers mercifully put an end to the 2018 preseason with a 33-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Although Tim Boyle’s lengthy playing time in the game was a big opportunity for him, he failed to seize it fully with an inconsistent and at times ugly performance.
On defense, the Packers gave plenty of snaps to several defensive backs fighting for spots on the 53-man roster. With cuts coming down tomorrow. they need all the tape they can get on these players — guys like Raven Greene and Marwin Evans — and they also got lengthy auditions on Thursday.
Here’s how playing time broke down.
OFFENSE (64 plays)
Quarterbacks: Tim Boyle 52, DeShone Kizer 12
Kizer played just two series, throwing a pick and a touchdown, while Boyle got the remainder of the game. The rookie played well for his first two series, then largely fell apart in the second half with poor mechanics and decision-making leading to a pair of interceptions. Boyle finished just 15-for-31 for 127 yards, one touchdown, and those two picks.
Running Backs: Aaron Jones 28, Joel Bouagnon 17, Bronson Hill 10, LeShun Daniels 9, Aaron Ripkowski 2
With Jones suspended for the first two regular season games and having missed the first two preseason games to a hamstring injury, Mike McCarthy apparently wanted to get him some substantial work to prep him for his eventual return. Jones largely looked very good, carrying the ball nine times for 34 yards and a touchdown and adding three receptions for 21 yards. The remainder of the runners did little to nothing on the day, with nobody else exceeding 25 total yards.
Wide Receivers: Equanimeous St. Brown 40, DeAngelo Yancey 35, J’Mon Moore 33, Marquez Valdes-Scantling 29, Trevor Davis 18, Adonis Jennings 10, Geronimo Allison 9, Kyle Lewis 5
The Packers continue to get inconsistent performances from St. Brown and Moore, as the two combined for three catches on 12 targets and just 23 yards. St. Brown did haul in a great diving catch from Boyle up the sideline, but the ball was too far out of bounds and it went for an incompletion. Meanwhile, James Lofton called Moore out on the Packers’ TV broadcast after noting that the rookie has a tendency to leave his mouthguard out of his mouth when the playcall is an inside run.
MVS had the best day of any of the receivers, catching all three targets for 41 yards (including a big 30-yarder), while Allison had one catch from Kizer for a 31-yard score.
Tight Ends: Emanuel Byrd 28, Robert Tonyan 22, Lance Kendricks 11, Kevin Rader 7, Ryan Smith 7
Tonyan paced all receivers with four catches, taking those for 31 yards and a short touchdown. He has been the most consistent of the young tight ends, and he should at least land on a practice squad (though APC’s roster prediction has him getting on the team as the 53rd man). Byrd caught one of three targets and was the targeted receiver on one of Boyle’s interceptions.
Offensive Linemen: Adam Pankey 52, Alex Light 39, Kofi Amichia 39, Dillon Day 39, Austin Davis 29, Lucas Patrick 25, Jason Spriggs 25, Justin McCray 25, Byron Bell 22, Lane Taylor 12, Bryan Bulaga 12
Spriggs had his typical ugly moments on Thursday, but he seemed to have fewer of them than in previous weeks and he’s clearly the team’s number one swing tackle now. Pankey’s lengthy playing time likely comes from his ability to play both guard and tackle, and the coaching staff & front office probably wanted as much tape as they can get on him to make a decision on his roster status. Day still looks like the likeliest of the next group to make the team, but with Patrick and McCray both taking snaps at center, they may not need Day to have a feasible backup plan behind Corey Linsley.
DEFENSE (68 plays)
Defensive Line: Joey Mbu 33, Tyler Lancaster 32, Montravius Adams 31, James Looney 30, Conor Sheehy 26, Dean Lowry 18
Lancaster tied for the team lead with six tackles in the game, and he was credited with a pair of tackles for loss (though I thought one of them should have gone to Vince Biegel). Still, he looked stout on the nose, at least a bit better than Mbu in my eyes. The rest of the front line was relatively unremarkable, though Adams and Lowry appear to have spots locked in.
Outside Linebackers: Vince Biegel 48, Kyler Fackrell 32, Kendall Donnerson 23, Chris Odom 16, Nick Perry 9, James Hearns 8
Biegel got a lengthy look in this game, and he was regularly spotted dropping into coverage as well as attacking the line of scrimmage. He joined Lancaster with six tackles, including a great stuff of a run for no gain. Fackrell had one hit on the quarterback, which was sandwiched by plays where he ended up thrown to the ground by opposing tackles. Perry finally got his first preseason action, lining up on just the first drive of the game as a tuneup for week one.
Inside Linebackers: Greer Martini 40, Naashon Hughes 28, Ahmad Thomas 25, Antonio Morrison 20, James Crawford 17, Marcus Porter 6
Morrison, the newcomer from Indianapolis, played fewer snaps than I had anticipated, but he started the game next to Martini. He finished with two tackles, one of which was an excellent read on a pass into the flat, while Martini had four plus a nice diving pass breakup. Martini was in coverage on a wheel route that went for a touchdown, and it appeared that he took a poor angle to the running back, but he also appeared to be interfered with by a Chiefs tight end on the play.
Safeties: Raven Greene 46, Marwin Evans 44, Jermaine Whitehead 22, Josh Jones 16, Quinten Rollins 10
Greene made a solid late push for the roster, picking up six tackles on defense and another on special teams. He and Evans were regularly on the field together, but Greene seemed to be much more present around the football and was more impactful overall. Whitehead did his usual thing, lining up at safety and slot corner, but he was beaten by tight ends regularly early on. That included awful coverage on a touchdown to Demetrius Harris on the first drive of the game. Rollins appeared to play his few snaps at safety, but got very little playing time; either the team has decided that he’s on the roster and that they didn’t need to see any more of him, or he’s getting cut and they wanted to make a decision between Greene and Evans. I’m betting on the latter.
Cornerbacks: Josh Hawkins 39, Demetri Goodson 29, Herb Waters 29, Donatello Brown 26, Jaire Alexander 14, Josh Jackson 13, Kevin King 9, Davon House 9
With the bulk of the first and second team leaving the field early, it was an audition for the next four players to see if anyone deserved a roster spot. Based on this game, the answer is probably no. Hawkins still has good speed, but he is so frequently beaten at the line of scrimmage that it doesn’t matter. Goodson provides special teams ability, but little else; he did line up in the slot frequently, a spot that he had not played much if at all previously. Waters got a diving interception, but it was on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half and came on a tip from Raven Greene. Could the Packers keep just five corners? It looks like a real possibility.