Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/24/13
Green Bay lost their third preseason game of the year 17-10 to Seattle Friday night, dropping their preseason record to 1-2.  Here's a scout's eye view of their performance, position by position.Quarterback:If Graham Harrell wins the backup job, it will solely be on the strength of his knowledge of the playbook because it's clear that he is not as physically gifted as his competition Vince Young or for that matter B.J. Coleman.  Harrell seems to have his share of apologists blaming the offensive line and receivers for some of his problems, and they do deserve they're share of the blame, but Harrell was far too quick to take check-downs on a couple occasions, and his overall accuracy down the field is simply awful.  He was victimized by a Jermichael Finley drop of what may have been his best throw of the preseason on a backshoulder throw down the field, but he also badly overthrew James Jones on a short hitch and didn't give his receivers a chance on two throws down the field which landed five yards out of bounds.  Harrell also appeared to earn the wrath of head coach Mike McCarthy on his last throw of the night when he quickly settled for a two yard completion on 3rd and long despite relatively good protection. Vince Young may not have a firm grasp of the complete playbook, but he at least has athletic ability and a history of winning, and it just seems that when he's on the field the offense appears more imposing, while Harrell just seems to be defeated before the ball is even snapped.  It seems like Harrell is satisfied just not making mistakes, like if he doesn't turn the football over and keeps possession long enough to punt it away it's a victory. There's no denying that no matter who the backup is, if something happens to Aaron Rodgers the season is all but lost, but at the very least Vince Young's presence on the field, ability to make things happen with his legs, and just his general swagger seem to at the very least give the appearance of some kind of hope.  It may end up being false hope when it's all said and done, but there's at least something there.  The Packers need to accept the fact that Graham Harrell can't move an offense against an NFL defense, he simply lacks the physical tools necessary.  There are reasons why he went undrafted out of Texas Tech, and the Packers decision makers seem to be the last ones to figure those reasons out.Running Back:DuJuan Harris' tough luck continued Friday night when he was forced to leave the game after re-aggravating the knee injury that kept him off the field for the first two preseason games early in  the second quarter.  Despite the missed time, Harris will still make the roster if he's healthy thanks to his performance at the end of last season, but with the lack of preseason action and only two padded practices and one preseason game remaining,  it would seem impossible to justify him being in the starting lineup September 8th against the 49ers.  Lacy seems all but assured of getting that staring assignment.  The rookie wasn't nearly as productive Saturday against the Seahawks as he was in St Louis a week ago, but that had a lot more to do with the blocking in front of him, or lack there of, it's difficult for any running back to produce when he's getting hit three yards behind the line of scrimmage on seemingly every touch.  Johnathan Franklin continues to look unimpressive, but he was also victimized by a lack of blocking.  His failure to score on the goal line was abit concerning though.  At UCLA he seemed to play much bigger then his 205 pound frame, but so far in the NFL he's looked small and weak carrying the football, lacking the burst and explosiveness in his lower half that made him the all time leading rusher at UCLA.  Franklin is too talented and the team has too much invested in him for there to be any danger of his being released, plus he's looked surprisingly impressive on special teams coverage units, but if Franklin wants to get the call as the team's third down runner, the final preseason game in Kansas City will be critical for him. One reason Franklin's third down role may be in jeopardy is the improved running of Alex Green.  The past couple weeks, Green has shown more of the burst the team expected out of him when they made him a third round pick in 2011, before he blew his knee out early that same season.  Green showed speed, vision, and patience on a pitch left that he took for 31 yards down the sideline. Jonathan Amosa looked natural catching a a one yard pass on the goal line for the teams only touchdown.  He could be a fullback at this level, and may be a candidate for the practice squad, but it appears unlikely the team will keep two fullbacks, and they appear committed to keeping the veteran John Kuhn in the fold, despite his diminished role in the offense and his $1.8 million cap number.  James Starks appears all but forgotten, receiving limited action for the second week in a row and in fact didn't even receive a carry.  It'll be interesting to see how much of a look he receives Thursday in Kansas City, but for now it's looking more and more like he will indeed be the odd man out in the Packers backfield.  Starks has never seemed to be a favorite of head coach Mike McCarthy, dating back to his rookie season, and it looks as though he's set to go from the doghouse to the outhouse despite staying healthy for the entire 2013 training camp, an accomplishment in itself for the oft-injured running back.  Starks will probably find a home relatively soon, but it's unlikely any team will be willing to give anything up to insure his services.Wide Receiver:The lack of work Aaron Rodgers has had with his top receivers has to be a bit of a concern going into a season opening game against a tough defense like San Francisco.  It's likely Aaron Rodgers will get no game time with either Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson before opening weekend, in a passing attack that's based so much on timing, that has to be alarming to the coaching staff, even if they won't publicly fess up to it. Jarrett Boykin made a nice catch and run in the second quarter, turning to the inside on a short completion from Graham Harrell to pick up a first down.  His fumble on the drive before though certainly did him no favors in the eyes of Coach McCarthy.  Boykin will have to be a key contributor early in the season with Jordy Nelson's availability a major question mark going into the season.Tyrone Walker saw no passes thrown his was Friday, but the playing time he received with the first team offense has to be a good sign for the undrafted rookie out of Illinois State.  It's a little early to say he has the team made, but he certainly appears to have the inside track if the team elects to keep six wide receivers, which they more then likely will especially with the health concerns of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.  Jeremy Ross looked more decisive on his two returns, and certainly appears to be the most comfortable of an unimposing group of potential return men.  He likely wins the punt and kickoff return jobs by default, with Cobb's health concerns, there's little chance the team will risk using him in that role when he does return, hopefully Thursday night in Kansas City. Kevin Dorsey and Charles Johnson, the team's two seventh round receivers saw their first field action Friday night.  Dorsey saw the most action out of the two and caught one pass late in the game for five yards, he also made an impressive down the field block on Vince Youngs first first down scramble in the third quarter, de-cleating Seahawks defensive back Jeremy Lane.  Johnson had two balls thrown his way, he failed to come up with a low ball down the field that would have been in impressive, though not miraculous grab, and he drew a pass interference call on former Packer Will Blackmon in the fourth quarter on a vertical route down the left sideline.  Both receivers do look bigger and more physically imposing then fellow rookies Walker, Myles White, and Alex Gillett, but barring an exceptional performance by either one against the Chiefs next week, it would seem like the team will be forced to waive them and hope they go unclaimed if they want to place one or both on their practice squad.Alex Gillett doesn't appear to offer much after the catch, but the presence of mind he showed coming back to the football for a four yard reception.  The play itself wasn't an explosive one, but it displayed the presence of mind that comes from a converted quarterback.  Gillett also made a first down catch in traffic earlier in that same drive.  Those two plays may have kept Gillett off the chopping block for the first round of cuts, but he's still an extreme long shot to make the 53 man roster.  Gillett is playing for a practice squad slot, either here or in another NFL city.Myles White may be narrowing the gap a bit on Tyrone Walker, though he did commit a special teams penalty late in the second quarter by running out of bounds as a gunner on punt coverage.  White is slightly built at 182 pounds, but he doesn't play with fear, and appears to be a willing down the field blocker, doing a nice job getting in front on Green's 31 yard fourth quarter scamper.Tight End:It looked as though the two rookies, Stoneburner and Bostick might be making a play for one of the final tight end slots over veterans D.J. Williams and Andrew Quarless.  On Friday night however, the vet's looked much more impressive then their rookie counterparts.  Quarless saw more playing time then expected and seemed to move pretty well despite missing most of camp with a quad injury.  He looked 100% healthy on a 16 yard reception in the third quarter and for the most part held his own as a blocker.  D.J. Williams made a nice play on the opening drive, picking up yardage after the catch running through a tackle after Rodgers flipped him a shovel pass on the Packers first offensive play.  He had three grabs altogether for nineteen yards, to lead the team in both categories. Stoneburner meanwhile appeared set to make another move toward a roster spot when he got open in the fourth quarter thirteen yards down the field with the end zone within his reach, but glory turned to goat-dom when a shot by Winston Guy knocked the ball loose, turning the football over yards from a game tying touchdown.  It was the kind of play that usually spells the end of a bubble player's hopes, especially those of an undrafted rookie.  Brandon Bostick had one ball thrown in his direction and failed to come down with what would have been an impressive, but not unreasonable grab down the field.  Matthew Mulligan missed the game due to the arm injury he suffered in St Louis, but he's expected to return for the finale in Kansas City. Ryan Taylor didn't catch any passes, but he held up well as a blocker on the snaps he received and appears to have the team made due to his special teams ability.Offensive Line:By far the worst group of the night, the offensive line looked horribly inept on Friday against a tough front seven of the Seattle Seahawks.  You could make the a case that the Packers have the worst starting duo of offensive tackles in football, no matter which two of the three get the nod between rookie David Bakhtiari, second year player Don Barclay, and fourth year veteran Marshall Newhouse.  Bakhtiari held up the best of the three, but he appears to be extremely vulnerable to power rush ends, something the coaches will have to concern themselves with all season long.  Barclay was driven backward consistently Friday night, as was Newhouse.  Newhouse especially just seems to be painfully soft, as he was driven backward on numerous plays and failed to create any room in the run game.  Newhouse is a very poor fit as a right tackle, his lack of physicality shows up even more then it did during his years on the left side.  Barclay still appears to be the favorite, but it's pretty much by default, the Packers might do well to consider looking elsewhere for help at this position, having the worst duo of starting tackles protecting the highest paid player on all the league just seems to make terrible sense, business wise as well as football wise. The backups didn't fare much better, especially Greg Van Roten, who looked positively awful at center.  Van Roten's lack of velocity on his shotgun snaps is wrecking havoc on the timing in the passing game, and he seems to have a hard time making the snap and getting his hands in position on time, causing consistent penetration both in the run game as in pass protection.  Van Roten appeared to be on roller skates all night long, getting driven backward on just about every snap.  It appeared he had the team made going into Friday night as the top interior backup, but now that too appears to be a position the organization should look elsewhere to fill as team's around the league begin to make their roster cuts.Defensive Line:Mike Daniels may have been the most impressive player in uniform Friday night.  Daniels has incredible balance for a defensive lineman, he's almost impossible to cut block, and never seems to be on the ground unless it's after he just made a tackle.  Daniels seems miscast for the 3-4 scheme, he could be a star in a 4-3 defense, but talent is talent, and the bottom line is when Daniels is on the field, he's disruptive to the offense, he plays with a tireless motor, and he brings a John Randle-like passion to every snap he's on the field.Jordan Miller made an impressive play, looping around the center on a stunt to come up with a sack of Seahawks quarterback Brady Quinn.  Miller is more known for his ability as plugger in the middle, but he displayed some impressive movement skills Friday night, making a late play for a roster spot, either with the Packers or another organization.  The Packers defensive line appears to be one of the deepest position groups on the team, Miller, along with rookie Josh Boyd are both worthy of roster spots but it appears the team may only have room to keep one of them...maybe.Boyd is strong and versatile along the line, and he does a nice job of finding the football, but he's consistently the last man off the ball at the snap.  The Packers usually only keep six defensive linemen, so with Datone Jones, Ryan Pickett, B.J Raji, Mike Daniels, Mike Neal and as of late Johnny Jolly all appearing to have roster spots locked up, the team would have to keep one or two extra to keep either Boyd or Miller or both.  Neal appears to have fully made the transition to outside 'backer so it appears likely the team will keep one of the two, the decision as to which will likely come down to their respective performances in Kansas City.C.J Wilson was very impressive Friday night, particularly against the run.  The team drafted Datone Jones to be among the three starters, but while Jones was playing in his first preseason game Friday night after missing the first two with an injured ankle, Wilson has had the best camp of his four year career.  Jones did show some flashes of the athletic prowess that inspired the Packers to make him their first round selection back in April, but Wilson appears to be the more reliable option at this point.  No matter who starts, both will see their share of playing time when the season begins, in fact the strength of this Packers defense  may very well be their ability to rotate six defensive linemen depending on the situation, keeping all six fresh without losing much of anything when any one of them exits the game.Linebackers:Clay Matthews performed like the Pro Bowler he is Friday night, collecting his first sack of the preseason, as well as holding up firm against the run, even against the six man offensive line the Seahawks employed early in the game that saw Matthews lined heads up against three hundred pound offensive tackle Mike Person.  Nick Perry was also impressive against the run, and made a big play himself by tipping a Russell Wilson pass that resulted in an interception by Casey Hayward. Brad Jones solidified himself as the starter next to AJ Hawk with an impressive performance that included a sack of Russell Wilson early in the second quarter as well as an impressive play on the opening drive when he quickly read run, exploded through the line and wrapped up Robert Turbin for a loss on 1st and goal.Rob Francois had another impressive performance Friday night as well.  Francois has had his best camp as a pro this year, he was part of the interception by Hayward in the second quarter and was in a position to make a pick of his own when he read Russell Wilson's eyes and stepped in front of a out route that would have resulted in a pick-six had the throw not been too hot to handle.  Francois has made Jones earn his spot in the starting lineup, and provides dependable depth at inside linebacker entering the regular season.Dezman Moses and Nate Palmer both took advantage of rookie Andy Mulumba's absence by putting up their best performances of the preseason.  Moses didn't do anything spectacular, but was impressive by not trying to do too much, playing sound well disciplined defense against a talented duel threat quarterback like Russell Wilson, and later Tarvaris Jackson.  Palmer on the other hand did fill the stat sheet, bowling over running back Christine Michael for a third quarter sack of Brady Quinn.  Palmer also collected three solo tackles, putting himself firmly back in the race for a roster spot going into the final week of camp.Terrell Manning put a great hit on Brady Quinn in the fourth quarter that resulted in an undeserved roughing the passer penalty when the officials failed to notice Quinn leaped himself after the throw, mistakenly thinking Manning picked him up and slammed him.  The play was the first glimmer in two preseasons of the explosive big play potential that made Manning an All ACC performer at NC State in 2011. Jamari Lattimore failed to make a tackle, but he did do his job on a two man stunt in the third quarter that resulted in a Jordan Miller sack. Mike Neal is looking more and more natural standing up as a 3-4 linebacker.  He has intriguing explosiveness coming off the edge and appears like he could be a factor on passing downs when the regular season gets underway in a hybrid role of sorts.Defensive Backs:Casey Hayward proved he hasn't lost his knack for the big play, performing in his first game of the preseason and collecting his first INT on a tipped pass by Nick Perry.  It's becoming more and more apparent as the season draws closer that Micah Hyde is going to be a key component to the defense's sub-packages, he's an effective blitzer and a sure tackler against the run.  He's also a severe liability in man coverage, which makes it puzzling given the depth at cornerback and the dearth at safety that the coaches aren't working Hyde at the latter.  It appears that Hyde is going to fill the role that Charles Woodson filled in this defense the past couple seasons, playing near the line of scrimmage in the slot and blitzing off the edge just as much as he drops into coverage, he has a nose for the football and certainly doesn't shy away from contact, making him a natural for the job.  The one time Hyde appeared to be locked into man coverage he was beaten badly down the middle of the field by Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse.  This will be an issue the coaches will have to scheme to avoid all season long as opposing offenses will look to isolate Hyde anytime he's on the field.Morgan Burnett left the game early with what appeared to be a hamstring issue.  The Packers can't afford for this to be a major issue.  Given the quality of Burnett's play and the lack of quality behind him, Burnett may be the most irreplaceable player on the Packers defense.  One safety who could quietly be carving out a roster spot is Chris Banjo.  Banjo led the team with five solo tackles Saturday night.  Despite his lack of size, he's an aggressive, hard hitter and sure tackler who has the looks of a dynamo on special teams. Jerron McMillian made a nice diving interception of a Russell Wilson pass down the middle of the field at the end of the first half.  It was nice to see from a player who's largely been disappointing for most of training camp. Loyce Means may have had the worst night of his football life Saturday, all but ensuring his exit out of town with back to back special teams penalties late in the first half, including a bone head 15 yard personal foul after the whistle that negated a five yard running into the kicker penalty by Seattle.  If that wasn't bad enough, Means was beaten for what turned out to be the game winning touchdown late in the game when Seahawks receiver Stephen Williams reached over him and snatched an underthrown ball from his grasp on a deep pass down the left sideline.  It will likely be a sleepless weekend for Means as the first roster cuts are scheduled for Tuesday, and his performance Friday is the kind that makes bubbles burst.  Brandon Smith made a nice breakup of a deep ball similar to the one Means was victimized by, and against the same receiver Means was victimized by, when he didn't panic with the ball in the air, ran stride for stride with Williams, and knocked the football out of his hands as Williams fell to the ground.  It was a great example of the kind of potential a player with Smith's size, arm reach, and athleticism has as a cornerback.  He's still considered a long shot to make the 53 man roster, especially at such a deep position, but Smith is a prime candidate for the practice squad, and could be a nice pet project for defensive back coach Joe Whitt for the 2013 season.Special Teams:Punter Tim Masthay boomed the opening kickoff five yards out of the end zone, he's looking like a very real weapon as a kickoff specialist.  It will be interesting to see if the staff makes any decisions regarding the field goal kicking competition during the opening round of cuts.  There's little doubt they'll keep Crosby until at least the final cutdown, but might they cut Tavecchio and bring in a veteran for the final few days of camp, or will they let both current kickers duke it out until the very end?  We'll have our answer on Tuesday at the latest.  Crosby made the Packers only field goal attempt of the night, a 38 yarder in the first quarter.  Safety Chris Banjo was impressive in kick coverage, his play on the special teams units are quietly earning him a legitimate chance at a roster spot.
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