The Packers just completed their second preseason game, against the St. Louis Rams, and by all accounts it was a much better showing than last week’s dud. They came away with a victory, but more importantly, they developed some more quality film to evaluate players battling for roster spots. Last week, I wrote about my initial impressions of camp winners and losers. Let’s see what we can take away from the game against the Rams.

Backup Quarterback

Winner: Graham Harrell Maybe he’s not an outright winner, but he was granted a stay of execution. He threw the ball down field more and showed a little more confidence. He still has a way to go before winning the backup quarterback job.

Loser:  B. J. Coleman. On paper, his numbers looked good. He had a higher completion percentage and more yards than Harrell, and he also threw the Packer’s only touchdown pass of the game. But, he still looks extremely raw and indecisive. Lacks confidence. With the third preseason game basically being the dress rehearsal for the starters, time may be running out for B. J.

Running Backs

Winner:  Eddie Lacy. I’m an Alabama fan and haven’t missed watching a game in 10 years. You’re finally seeing what I saw from him for the last three years. He’s a solid runner. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry last night against a very stout Rams front seven. He is a solid pass blocker and showed that he can handle the blitz. He might be named the starter for opening day very, very soon. He’s the real deal. I’m excited about what he brings.

Loser:  James Starks. He might make me have to take back my own words. I went on the record  the other day stating I thought James Starks was really good. He was good in 2010, and he looked All-World in training camp up to this point. But, he looked incompetent during 2012, and that James Starks showed up last night. He couldn’t find any running room and had a horrible fumble. He just can’t seem to get it together and solidify his standing on the team. He’s a very frustrating enigma.

Tight End

Winners: None . Jermichael Finley is the starter and the depth behind him is still very unsettled.

Loser:  D. J. Williams. He’s a practice monster and has all the talent in the world. But, he just can’t do anything productive during games. He looks lost. Last night, he might have played himself out of a roster spot. If Andrew Quarless can show that he’s healthy, you won’t see Williams around during the regular season.

Cornerback

Winners: Davon House and Micah Hyde.

After a horrible first preseason game, Davon House showed the the promise he demonstrated last preseason. I still wouldn’t be comfortable starting him during the regular season, but he finally showed he could be a viable backup to play behind the regulars of Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Casey Hayward. He still has a way to go, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. He can build off of this strong showing.

Micah Hyde has had an up and down camp. But, last night, he showed a lot. He has tremendous instincts and heart, and he wants to be on the field and involved in plays. His ceiling could be scary high. As a fifth round draft pick, he could show everyone he was a tremendous steal if he can continue his upward trajectory in his development. He will definitely be a viable option off the bench later on during the regular season as he continues to develop.

Losers: None I’m not at all worried about the yards the secondary gave up last night. They did a great job keeping the Rams out of the end zone for most of the game, which is the only thing that really matters. The Rams were supposed to have a revamped passing game built for indoor speed, and the Packers held their own. Keep in mind that defensive coordinators don’t scheme this early in the preseason. They play vanilla coverage, which is often the wrong coverage based on down and distance. At this point, we know what the secondary mainly brings to the table, and I saw no reason to panic. Those players who truly have a shot to make the roster did nothing to jeopardize that last night.

Defensive Line

Winner: Johnny Jolly.   He looked really good last night. While conditioning may still be a season-long problem, he was very disruptive last night. His motor didn’t let him quit at all, even when his legs and lungs began to fade. He’s very athletic for a big man, and even had an interception. I’m ready to call him a lock to make the final 53-man roster. Everyone on the team, especially Aaron Rodgers, is excited about him and is rooting for him. They want him in the locker room, so, he ultimately will be. This is the feel good story of training camp 2013. Please, no codeine jokes. We all have addictions, whether they are caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or the internet. His vice was bad, but he owned up to it and is honestly trying to start his life over. He’s done an excellent job doing so thus far, and I admire him for that.

Losers: None I saw no clear cut losers last night. The Packers are showing a much better run defense than they had during 2011-2012, and that all starts up front. No one up front lost their job last night. The lack of a pass rush is troubling, but part of this is scheme. Dom Capers schemes blitzes for pass rush, and he’s not going to show that package until week one against the 49ers.

Kicker

Winner: Mason Crosby He was perfect in field goal attempts at 3/3, with a long of 48. Struck the ball well and it flew straight. Shows he is better at kickoffs than Tavecchio. We all know Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy want him to win the job. He just might have last night.

Loser: Giorgio Tavecchio He missed a field goal attempt that he couldn’t afford to do in this kicking battle. He clearly cannot be used as the kick off man, so that might be the final nail in the coffin for him. If Mason has a strong showing next week, Giorgio will be waived shortly after.

 

 

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