Friday Aug 20

What We Learned Against the Browns

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Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers vs the Cleveland BrownsPreseason game one is in the books with a 27-24 loss to the Browns. Thanks to the good people at who made the entire preseason available online, being able to watch the game instead of listening to it on a fuzzy reception on WTMJ, so much more was able to be seen firsthand. Here are a few Quick Slants of last night’s game without re-watching the game…yet. A few of the highlights can be seen here.

    • Aaron Rodgers was good. Very, very, very good last night (12-13, 159 tds. 1 TD)
    • Jermichael Finley stretching the field is going to make covering Jennings and Driver very difficult.
    • The running game, except for Quinn Porter and Kregg Lumpkin in scrub time was non existent
    • A.J. Hawk is absolutely terrible in coverage
    • The offensive line was excellent. I may have started to change my mind on Bulaga starting at left guard as a result
    • Giacomini held his own, as did (gasp) Allen Barbre
    • The best pass rush of the night came from Justin Harrell and Mike Neal. That is a scary thought assuming Capers was not tipping his hat too much (we hope). Not much was coming from anyone else.
    • Mike McCarthy was NOT a happy camper at halftime-very evident during his halftime interview
    • If Quinn Johnson could block against starters the way he blocks against second and third teamers, he would be an All Pro. He was blowing up defenders in the 3rd and 4th quarter.
    • Special Teams coverage is still atrocious. How does Shawn Slocum preach all offseason and come out and stink like they did.
    • Jarrett Bush still sucks

    The pass defense in the first quarter left so much to be desired, words cannot do justice to what we saw. Aaron Nagler at Cheeseheadtv ( breaks it down into perfection here but I will add one more thing.

    The Packers were torched in the passing game against the Browns last night. The Browns. This is a team who ranked dead last in 2009 with 129.8 yards per game. Have the Browns added that much to their offense that they could throw for 211 yards against the fearsome Packers offense? Do the names Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace strike fear into opposing defenses? I would hope not, although both are veteran quarterbacks who have seen their share of defenses in the past.

    There was essentially no pass rush last night, and the coverage issues which existed at the end of last season were there again last night. Dom Capers was criticized last season for showing too much in the preseason, especially against Arizona when he came out with everything but the kitchen sink. Understanding that this is only the preseason, and this is the time to make mistakes and learn from them, I hope Capers looks at this film and realizes that although the end result means zero in the standings, the rest of the league should now take note of the approach the Packers used in the defensive scheme and analyze it. If the Browns can pick the D apart, who knows what other teams that are substantially better on offense could do. Hopefully vanilla is Capers’ favorite ice cream flavor, because that is all we saw last night: page one of the playbook.

    One comforting thought of last night is this: in 1996 the Packers went 3-1 in the preseason. They went on to win the Super Bowl. In 1999, the Packers went 4-0 in the preseason. They finished 8-8, missed the playoffs, and the Ray Rhodes era came to an abrupt end. Lesson learned: preseason results dictate nothing.

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    0 # PackerHQ 2010-08-15 15:24
    Watched it twice so far and have the following to add:
    Neal and Harrell got push against the Browns 3rd string OL...don't get excited just yet.
    Ditto with some of those picks...against a rookie QB and 3rd string receivers.... please.
    Stack and bunch sets still give our defense fits.
    Special teams are only special in a ride the short bus short of way....awful.
    I disagree with Giacomini he doesn't grade out on the second look around and got beat 3 times I know.
    Hawk can't cover but frankly didn't see another LB last night that did any better in coverage... put Bishop in there and watch your blood pressure really rise.
    No major injuries makes this a good game for us but there is a ton of work to be done in practice.
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    0 # John Rehor 2010-08-15 16:03
    Thanks for reading HQ. Trust me I'm not excited about Harrell and Neal getting the best rush-I was being sarcastic, but they did show some push which was more than the starters were showing.

    If you got the second look and say that Giacomini got beat a few times I will have to take your word for it (haven't rewatched it yet) but from what I saw he didn't look like a turnstile, which is what he was the last few seasons.

    Hawk stunk last night in coverage. If only Bishop was consistent. If only...

    Thanks for reading!
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    0 # Ryan Burns 2010-08-15 20:29
    As a Browns fan I have a little insight here- first, yes, they really HAVE added that much to their offense by simply subtracting Quinn and Anderson and going to a mediocre vet like Delhomme. The Wallace package was a nice surprise. I know they've talked about using him like that but I was skeptical it would mean anything. As for the Pack D, I wouldn't worry too much. Didn't look to me like they were running anything like the quarterback-paralyzing madness that Dom Capers throws out there each week once the hitting is real. They stay healthy and they'll be dangerous again. Love the site, keep up the good work. -Ryan
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    0 # John Rehor 2010-08-15 21:01
    Hey Ryan, thanks for reading. I think that the Browns will be players in a year or two, they are definitely heading in the right direction. I was surprised at how easily they moved the ball against the Packers starting D-that's where my questioning how much their offense had improved from really stemmed from.

    I'm not concerned about the Packers D-vanilla was the flavor of the night yesterday. By week one, they'll be back to their "crazy" ways and a top D.

    Thanks for reading! Great hearing from a Browns fan to offer even more perspective.
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    0 # Claudio 2010-08-16 06:06
    "Jarrett Bush still sucks" lol so right!
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    0 # John Rehor 2010-08-16 19:16
    Thanks Claudio for reading!

    Expect to see that comment every week until he proves otherwise :)
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    0 # asshalo 2010-08-16 20:08
    From what I understand they were in base defense more than usual to improve communication among players. Though there is something to be alarmed about, I'm not really sure what the coaches were trying so I take it with a grain of salt.
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    0 # John Rehor 2010-08-16 21:19
    Hopefully playing vanilla was done by complete design, because the D was torched. I'll be more concerned in the Indy game if they come out as flat as they did on Saturday.

    Thanks for reading!
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    0 # Robbie 2010-08-16 21:17
    Great read John, and I agree with your thoughts from the game. One other thing i would like to add is how surprised i was in how well Brandon Underwood has progressed. This kid might not have his head on totally straight, but he is getting it on the field. If he keeps improving he could be another surprise in the secondary teamed up with Tramon someday.
    Hawk on the other hand did not just stink in pass coverage but his run support was not that great either. On the TD run he could have made the stop if he would have tried, and he was also lazy on a screen play that broke for a big gain setting up the td he blew his coverage on. I am not saying Bish will be much better, but he can't be much worse.
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    0 # John Rehor 2010-08-16 21:24
    Underwood held his own for the most past, but there were so many receivers open in the zones that his play was overlooked. As of right now, he is our Nickel back, and if he continues to play like he did on Saturday and improve on it, I'll feel much more comfortable later in the season.

    As for Hawk, I'm speechless. HOW???? do you look that poor in pass coverage and against the run? At this point, I'm all for an extended look at Bishop and letting Hawk sit.

    Thanks for reading!
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