The title of this post pays homage to Notes On a Scandal – one of the most underrated movies in recent years (in fact, I should’ve watched it again rather than waste three hours of my life on whatever that mess was on ESPN last night). Anyway, here are five thoughts from Green Bay’s 21-13 loss to San Diego:
1) Graham Harrell is exactly what I thought he was a few months ago. He’s an intelligent and gutsy quarterback who’ll need 15 to 20 plays to move the ball 80 yards down the field. That doesn’t happen very often in the National Football League. His arm strength is improved from a year ago, but it’s still below-average. Quarterbacks without a big arm need to be extremely accurate, and Harrell is simply not a pinpoint passer. He misses too many open targets. Could the Packers win games in the regular season with the former Texas Tech star under center? Put it this way – pray to God we never have to find out.
2) The defensive line is markedly better than it was a year ago. Not only did the team draft a pair of talented players at the position (Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels), but veterans Phillip Merling, Daniel Muir and Anthony Hargrove have been coming on in recent days. The Packers ended last season with two and a half legitimate NFL defensive linemen on the roster (C.J. Wilson was the half). That number has now been more than doubled. Is this the new Fearsome
Foursome Threesome? Of course not, but it’s a group that should put at least some pressure on the quarterback and make life a lot easier on the linebackers.
3) Nick Perry is going to get at least eight sacks from his left outside linebacker position. With the talented rookie on one side and perennial Pro Bowler Clay Matthews on the other, opposing QBs are going to be the meat in a lot of Southern Cal sandwiches this season. Perry still has plenty to learn about playing with his hand off the ground, but his power is becoming more and more obvious by the week. He knocked Bryan Bulaga on his ass in practice the other day and he made life difficult at times for Jeromey Clary last night. The guess here is that the really good right tackles will handle Perry this season, but fortunately, there aren’t very many of them on the schedule – or in the league for that matter.
4) The Packers need newly signed Reggie Wells to find the fountain of youth because there isn’t a quality third guard on the roster. Big Ray Dominguez might be that guy, but he’s been out for a few weeks with a badly sprained ankle. Did you notice Evan Dietrich-Smith took all of his snaps at center last night? That’s because he’s been struggling at guard in practice and the coaches are desperately looking for a young player to step up. Sampson Genus, Tommie Draheim, Don Barclay and Greg Van Roten have received plenty of snaps this summer, but none of the four is ready for the majors leagues just yet.
5) As I wrote a few weeks ago, there isn’t a legitimate second safety on the roster. M.D. Jennings has taken all the snaps in the sub-packages for months, but he’s still late to react on even the most basic routes. I’m not saying the second-year player won’t improve over time, but this defense – already with plenty of questions at other positions – can’t afford to wait. Dom Capers needs to find a safety he can rely on, and short of bringing back Charlie Peprah (yikes), moving Jarrett Bush from corner makes the most sense. The 8-year vet can’t play with his back to the receiver, but he’s OK when things unfold in front of him.