The Packers concluded their body of pre-season work last night with a 24-10 win over the LA Rams. The 3-1 practice game series had its ups and downs but the finale in particular offered viewers a chance to see some bubble players shine and others continue to stack successes.
The Packers defense was a sore spot last year and additions of Davon House and Ricky Jean-Francois were meant to help. The drafting of Kevin King and Josh Jones added more than depth to the defensive backfield as King watched from the sidelines with a spot secured and Josh Jones showed his commanding presence and leadership (minus one badly missed tackle) along with some pass-rushing ability.
The pressure packages from the defensive backfield scored a sack from Ladarius Gunter which he then followed with an interception on the next play. And the Packers offense capitalized on turnovers as well. All in all, the Packers defense picked the ball off twice, the second being a beautiful snag by Donatello Brown with a nice return that set up a 41 yard offensive drive that Aaron Jones capped off with a great catch and roll into the end-zone for a touchdown. The Packers’ perimeter group was also able to re-route receivers (another sticking point from last year) and kept the explosive plays to a minimum. Finally, the team saw Davon House for the first time who played a series and recorded a tackle.
But the defensive line was active as well, notably Christian Ringo who spent the night in the offensive backfield and looked disruptive and played fast.
The defense held the Rams (who, admittedly, rested all their starters) to on touchdown and one field goal and only allowed an 18.18% third down conversion rate. A very nice showing for a lot of young guys looking to make the roster.
The special teams coverage units were excellent as well but the special teams star was Justin Vogel. Vogel showed poise kicking in difficult positions (including his own end-zone) and consistently flipped the field for the Packers. Vogel had a big night with 7 punts and he held up, averaging 45.7 yards per and consistently getting good hang-time. His long of 55 still hung for 4.8 seconds and Vogel dropped 2 inside the 20 yard line.
So the pre-season finale is in the books and the Packers brass has all the tape they will get to make their final decisions on the 53 man roster by early afternoon tomorrow. The season is here, the roster will soon be set, and another year of hope descends on Packer Nation.
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