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Green Bay Packers defend roost against soaring Seattle Seahawks

Head coach Mike McCarthy hopes the officials have better eyes than the officials who presided over the Green Bay Packers' last contest against the Seattle Seahawks.

Head coach Mike McCarthy hopes the officials have better eyes than the officials who presided over the Green Bay Packers’ last contest against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Green Bay Packers (1-1) host the Seattle Seahawks (2-0) at Lambeau Field. Kickoff for what some are billing as a possible preview of the 2013 NFC Championship Game will be at 7:00 p.m. CT and broadcast nationwide on CBS. It will be the Packers’ final home game before the regular season.

Through two weeks, the Packers’ preseason has been a tale of polar opposites. They were shut out 17-0 against the Arizona Cardinals in a game during which no unit could seem to get on track. Last week, they almost succeeded in pitching their own shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals, surrendering just one touchdown to the third-string offense in the waning moments of regulation.

Today they are likely to face a much stiffer challenge in the Seahawks, who have steamrolled through their hapless opponents, outscoring the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos by a total of 51 points. By all appearances, they have picked up where they left off after a 2012 campaign in which rookie quarterback Russell Wilson lead the team to an 11-5 record and a Divisional Round loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Green Bay’s starters aren’t expected to play much, if at all, next week, so tonight’s contest will be the first team’s last opportunity to get in sync for 2013. Meanwhile, a number of intriguing positional battles will continue apace.

Battles to watch

Backup quarterback

Although he benefits from the most experience in head coach Mike McCarthy’s system, second-string quarterback Graham Harrell seems to suffer from a case of the nerves. It typically takes him several plays to settle in, after which his passes are typically precise and on target. The problem is that he has a tendency to make major mistakes in those first few plays. It’s not clear how inclined McCarthy will be to continue gambling on a backup who has failed to develop satisfactorily.

Vince Young has never been accused of having good mechanics, and his flaws are on full display this preseason. He delivers the ball with almost no hip action or follow through, resulting in passes that sail lazily over his receivers’ heads. Compounding the problem, he hasn’t proven himself elusive on the ground.

B.J. Coleman has demonstrated his impressive arm strength, but like Young, he has lacked accuracy. Several of his attempts have forced wide receivers to lay out dangerously. On the other hand, some of his most accurate passes have been dropped.

Cornerback

Starting cornerback Tramon Williams (knee) won’t see action this preseason. That has second-year standout Casey Hayward (hamstring), freshly activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, determined to get his first taste of action tonight. If coaches give him the go-ahead, he will be attempting to regain ground lost to upstart rookie Micah Hyde, who has been impressive so far. With the exception of a blown coverage that lead to a a 57-yard completion last week, Hyde has been stout against the pass, particularly in short-yardage situations.

Kicker

After a 2012 campaign in which he connected on less than 70 percent of his field goal attempts, veteran placekicker Mason Crosby has continued to disappoint, going just two for five in practice this week. Against the Rams he bounced a chip shot off the crossbar, although in his defense the ball did go through.

The only competition general manager Ted Thompson has brought in to challenge Crosby is rookie unknown Giorgio Tavecchio. In contrast to Crosby, Tavecchio has shown more consistency on the short- to mid-range kicks. He has also proven that he has adequate leg strength, connecting on a 60-yard kick earlier in camp, but his long bombs lack the panache Crosby brings to the deep game.

Unless Thompson does an abrupt about face and brings in a free agent at the last minute, it looks like this job is still Crosby’s to lose. The pressure is going to be on the offense to convert third and fourth downs this year to keep the games out of the hands of Crosby.

Prediction

If last year’s contest is any indication, the outcome of this game will probably hinge on the performance of the offensive line. They have shown some encouraging signs of improvement so far this preseason, so if they can keep quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ pants clean, Green Bay will have a solid chance of contending against a Seattle team that thrives off a stifling defense. On the other hand, if Rodgers constantly finds himself running for his life, this game could get out of hand fast.

Final score: Packers 27, Seahawks 24

2230 comments
robertj72
robertj72

All this bad mouthing of Cam is silly. Cam has more passing and more rushing yards than any QB EVER in the NFL after his first two years. Cam is one of only 6 QBs to have a rating over 80 in both of his first two seasons. CAm, per this website's QB metric, has done enough to win over 50% of his games. All of this after joining a 2-14 team with a freshman (and still unproven coach) and having no preseason his first year due to the Players strike.

Building With the Alabama Hammer
Building With the Alabama Hammer

Depth on the defensive line

The Packers did more than just draft Datone Jones (-0.2) this year as they aim to improve the output of their defensive line. They also brought back the reformed Johnny Jolly (+0.7)to show they’re prepared to do what it takes to improve.

Neither man had the kind of game that would really grab the eye, instead that fell to last year’s fourth-round pick Mike Daniels (+3.5). Grading positively against the run and pass, he was unfortunate to have a sack and forced fumble called back for a defensive offsides on Jones, while picking up a pressure (12:05 in Q4) on Lemuel Jeanpierre that also saw the Seahawk center called for a holding penalty. He’ll be looking to build on his 280 snaps from 2012.

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robertj72
robertj72

I believe it was Kurt Warner last night that made me feel better about the Panthers Offense than what they have shown in games. I am paraphrasing but it was basically

"In the preseason they would only call the plays we worked on the first two days of the OTAs. We'd be like 'Man we want to try some of the good stuff' but coaches wanted to keep that hidden so no one could game plan them. Everyone does it."

I am still concerned about the O-line but not the questionable and highly conservative play calling.

Building With the Alabama Hammer
Building With the Alabama Hammer

The Packers defense looked studly.

The started shaky, but even the first drive (the only one that Wilson could move the ball for) the Dline racked up 2 pressures and a sack, and Hayward and TWill weren't out there.

The only drive Rodgers played he moved the ball 53 yards no problem and put 3 on the board sans Jordy and Cobb.

The offense struggled but still saw some success sans Rodgers, Jordy, and Cobb, but that wasn't that surprising.

The story of the night was the Packers front 7. Finally looked like they should with all of the first round picks that GB invested into the unit.

NonStattHumper
NonStattHumper

Cam Newton is another Duante Culpepper  almost a clone 

NonStattHumper
NonStattHumper

where do the  Lions rank  ? Stafford has looked pathetic without CJ ...I bet they are wondering after giving him all that $$$ ?  Is Stafford truly elite of could any scrub Qb put up those inflated stats throwing it in the vicinity of CJ?

robertj72
robertj72

@_MKE_ no...looks like the injury isn't the concern it could have been or was thought to maybe be 4-5 days ago

aciddragon
aciddragon

@Mr._Horse given his athletic ability he must not be good at all for a team to not at least get on a practice squad 

DanOnWis23
DanOnWis23

@robertj72 That's the thing about pre-season in general, besides trying to get a sense of the non-star players and high draft picks, the coaches are either being very conservative so as not to show their hand or trying something different that may or may not work, or that is a work in progress (like the packers run blocking, where Lang said something wasn't quite right).

Nardo - FYS Goodwill Ambassador
Nardo - FYS Goodwill Ambassador

@NonStattHumper This is the second time I've read this.  Culpepper was a damn good QB before his knee injury.  In fact had Manning not had such a brilliant season in 2004, he would have won the MVP.  Cam can only hope he's like Culpepper in his prime.

robertj72
robertj72

@Cam Of Steel@robertj72It is moronic...look can he improve his poise and leadership some...sure and I hope so and those criticisms, although overblown have legitimacy. But to act like he has been a bust after 2 years of breaking numerous team and league all-time records is beyond stupid and smack of, although it gets used too often,  'hater-ism'.

aciddragon
aciddragon

@Nardolicious how was Culpepper without Moss? not very good in two years he was a backup and 2 years later he was out of football

aciddragon
aciddragon

@SDL you may want to check again sir, the big hoopla about Cullpepper was cause he was a "great athlete esp for his size" while i agree he was nothing close to Newton as an athlete he was a good athlete in his own right 

Lions on top of the NFCN as expected
Lions on top of the NFCN as expected

@NonStattHumper A friend of mine was at the Lions game on Thursday and he said that when Stafford was sitting on the bench with linehan they were pre-determining who Stafford was going to throw to every time. Stafford was basically forcing balls all preseason, and not doing reads. He also said linehan said "good job" to Stafford after a terrible drive.

 ✔ESPN OUTsider
✔ESPN OUTsider

@aciddragon Either way one of them won't fit in the 5.  Ross had a 33 yard return last night. I think ST gets him the #5 WR but we'll see.

aciddragon
aciddragon

@Mr._Horse yeah i suppose, i just think Walker should make the roster over Ross, i know Ross is a good KR but he sucks as a WR and this year with injuries and loss, they don't have the luxury of carrying a one trick pony that won't contribute to the offense at all 

aciddragon
aciddragon

@Mr._Horse maybe, but right now i think Johnson and Dorsey end up there and they haven'y played yet. 

 ✔ESPN OUTsider
✔ESPN OUTsider

@aciddragon TE is definitely a go light candidate.  The problem with WRs is if they put a couple of those guys on the PS it'll be raided.

aciddragon
aciddragon

@Mr._Horse well none of the TEs are impressing me at all, i see no reason to carry 5 this year, i also really see no reason to carry 6 WR this as none of the young guys look that great either. probably only carry 2 QBs again, 

aciddragon
aciddragon

@Nardolicious he had 1 year in minny with no Moss then they traded him to Miami and he got hurt like 10 games in and was sucking up to that point 

nonstradamus
nonstradamus

@Buhlitz They're not worried about schemes and strategy. They're looking at what individual players are doing. It doesn't surprise me in the least if they predetermine who gets what ball when.