Instant Takeaways from Packers preseason matchup with 49ers

Green Bay Packers football is back, and so are my instant takeaways.

Here is a rundown of what caught my eye during the Packers’ first preseason game of the 2022 season.

-Well, the Packers’ preseason began with a special teams penalty. Overall there were some good and some bad. Amari Rodgers had a big return, Jack Coco was steady at long-snapper, but we also saw why Mason Crosby’s job was never in jeopardy.

-The starting OL was what we’ve frequently seen in practice, with Yosh Nijman at left tackle, followed by Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Jake Hanson, and Royce Newman. We’ve also seen Zach Tom at both starting tackle spots as well.

-It’s been a rough camp so far for the offensive line, but in pass protection, they held up alright tonight. However, running between the tackles was tough sledding.

-I thought the combo of Nijman, Runyan, Myers, Newman, and Tom was when they were at their best.

-Other depth chart notes: Tyler Goodson got the first running back reps, Jonathan Garvin and Tipa Galeai began at edge, Isaiah McDuffie was next to Quay Walker, and the starting safeties were Vernon Scott and Dallin Leavitt.

-Goodson has shown very good burst with the ball in his hands this summer and was someone used often in the passing game at Iowa. The RB3 role is wide open until Kylin Hill returns, and it may be Goodson who has the edge.

-La’Darius Hamilton and Randy Ramsey were both non-participants, which meant a lot of snaps for Garvin, Galeai, Kobe Jones, and Kingsley Enagbare. Hamilton has had his share of reps with the second team, but those two rotational roles are up for grabs.

-We also saw a rotation at the return positions, with Rico Gafford and Amari Rodgers taking turns on the kick return unit, and Ishmael Hyman joining Rodgers as the punt returners. This summer, Rodgers has looked much more comfortable as a return man. He also cut some weight and looked a lot fast on that touchdown catch and run.

-Romeo Doubs just continues to make plays, and he’s doing it at all three levels of the field this summer, as well as from the slot and boundary–just as he did at Nevada. He was very good at winning downfield against the 49ers.

-We often see big jumps from second-year players as they are more comfortable in the system, and two players who fit that mold are TJ Slaton and Isaiah McDuffie. Slaton will see his share of snaps this season on defense, while McDuffie will be a core special teams player.

-We’ve heard about Jordan Love’s confidence all summer, and we saw some of that tonight–looking off defenders, putting some zip on the ball, a nice downfield completion as well as a few on the run. However, we also saw that inconsistency that should still be expected with an inexperienced quarterback. Decision-making and accuracy were still issues at times.

-Matt LaFleur, at halftime, when interviewed, would mention that two of Love’s interceptions were dropped passes by the receivers, and on the third, the receiver ran the wrong route.

-We heard a lot about Tyler Davis this summer from LaFleur, Bisaccia, and Gutekunst, but it was a rough showing with a pass that went off his hands and became an interception. He also needs to hold up better as a blocker.

-The secondary and edge depth are two of the biggest concerns on this Packers team, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about those big plays. Leavitt is a special teams player, while Gafford is fighting for a roster spot. With that said, I was surprised to see Leavitt ahead of Shawn Davis, who has taken some first team snaps this past week.

-We also saw cornerbacks Kabion Ento and Kiondre Thomas each with a nice pass breakup–that sixth CB role is available, although special teams contributions will be important. Heading into this game, Gafford was the leader in the clubhouse for that role.

-The interior defensive line group generated a good push. However, you would have liked to have seen more from the edge rushers.

-Will the Packers keep a sixth interior defensive lineman? It was a nice showing from Heflin, who was on the roster in 2021 but saw very few snaps.

-Count Danny Davis as a lock to be on the practice squad. He has been solid in training camp and made some nice plays against San Francisco.

-Dallin Leavitt and Tipa Galeai left with shoulder injuries.

-It was a nice outing for Josiah Deguara. He was utilized both in-line and in the backfield, held his own as a blocker, and made a few receptions as well. This is Deguara’s third season but really only his second in terms of playing time, and it often takes a year or two for tight ends to find to truly begin making an impact given the difficulty of the position.