ReFo: SEA @ GB, Preseason WK 3
In a game where the officials were intent on not missing an opportunity to throw the flag on punt plays, the Seahawks and Packers exchanged jabs and gave each other a small taster of what they’ve got in store for the season ahead.
It was a game characterized by the Packers’ inability to get anything going on the ground as an aggressive Seahawks front swarmed all over them. Far from having it all their own way, Seattle themselves struggled on offense with some uncharacteristically sloppy play from Russell Wilson in the first half being something of a disappointment.
Delving deeper, it’s time to get stuck into the performances that stuck out.
Seahawks – Three Performances of Note
You Shall Not Pass
When you can hold the opposing offense to just 2 yards per carry on designed runs, you know you’ve had a good day. There were a number of guys who can be happy with their work, but perhaps none more so then Tony McDaniel (+2.5) and Clinton McDonald (+2.1).
The journeymen McDaniel would get in for three defensive stops in the run game, and has the kind of frame and ability to suggest he could fit in very nicely after the departure of Alan Branch. What’s more, he wasn’t doing this against the backups. After getting the start, he gave the usually excellent Josh Sitton plenty of problems, including with 13:17 to go in Q2. He stood up the Packer before shedding and making the tackle for a short gain.
Unlike McDaniel, McDonald did do some of his work against the backups but still earned the highest run defense grade for the team, despite featuring on only 10 running plays. His highlight-reel play saw him beat Greg Van Roten for a 7-yard loss with 8:16 to go in Q3.
The QB Competition
While Russell Wilson (-1.7) won’t have to start worrying about his starting job any time soon, Seattle fans will have to start worrying about him if he takes some of the careless throws he made in this one into the regular season. Twice, on consecutive plays, he tried to force balls into coverage and, while he was lucky to avoid an interception with 1:28 remaining in the first half, at 1:23 he wasn’t so fortunate when trying to fit a pass between Packers defenders that was never on.
Elsewhere, the competition between Brady Quinn (-0.9) and Tarvaris Jackson (-0.1) will be decided in the fourth preseason game and on the practice field. Jackson had very little chance to do anything, and while Quinn walked away with a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating on aimed passes, he can thank Stephen Williams for turning an underthrown deep ball into a touchdown.
The Good and the Bad
Let’s start with where it didn’t go right for Christine Michael (+0.9). At this point in time he is at best a work in progress in pass protection. On eight occasions he was asked to pass block and on two of those he gave up a sack and a hurry.
In better news he looks a devastating runner, particularly in the open field. With the kind of feet and speed that turns every run play into a possible cutback, he exploited any space in an aggressive Packers defense. Turning 11 carries into 97 yards, he didn’t need to make defenders miss to make them pay. The only downside is that with some of his blocking being inconsistent (the interior especially) he was a little too keen at times to bounce things outside, not helping his blockers keep their leverage on blocks.
Packers – Three Performances of Note
Wrapping Rodgers in Cotton Wool
While some left the game impressed by the performance of Vince Young (-1.8), his PFF grade tells a different story. Of course he did have those two impressive runs, but let’s try not to get overly distracted by those. Instead, why don’t we look at his terrible decision to throw with 8:21 to go in Q3? If Allen Bradford doesn’t drop that, are we looking at things differently?
That wasn’t his only issue with ball security as he fumbled a snap and he didn’t show off an accurate arm (not that the Packers called plays that would test him). He has only joined the team in recent weeks so he’s far from in-sync with his teammates yet, but this wasn’t a screaming endorsement for him to be the teams’ backup.
The good news for him is that, with a more expansive set of plays, Graham Harrell (-1.6) was equally unimpressive. Outside of a well thrown back-shoulder ball that was dropped by Jermichael Finley (Q2, 1:17) he displayed the kind of accuracy that isn’t going to ‘wow’ you and averaged just 3.8 yards per drop-back.
The Left Tackle Situation
With David Bakhtiari (+0.3) starting again, he looks set to be the man the Packers turn to when it comes to protecting the backside of Aaron Rodgers. When Rodgers was in, the team had him throwing relatively quickly by his standards with over half his drop-backs seeing him get rid of the ball in under 2.5 seconds.
But Bakhtiari still impressed, with the only blot on his copybook being how he allowed Michael Morgan to move past his inside shoulder and bat a Harrell pass, resulting in an incompletion. A good day then (even accounting for the penalty he gave up in the running game), especially as Marshall Newhouse (-0.9) didn’t have the best game of his career.
Depth on the Defensive Line
The Packers did more than just draft Datone Jones (-0.2) this year as they aim to improve the output of their defensive line. They also brought back the reformed Johnny Jolly (+0.7) to show they’re prepared to do what it takes to improve.
Neither man had the kind of game that would really grab the eye, instead that fell to last year’s fourth-round pick Mike Daniels (+3.5). Grading positively against the run and pass, he was unfortunate to have a sack and forced fumble called back for a defensive offsides on Jones, while picking up a pressure (12:05 in Q4) on Lemuel Jeanpierre that also saw the Seahawk center called for a holding penalty. He’ll be looking to build on his 280 snaps from 2012.
– Despite rushing the passer 42 times combined, Benson Mayowa and O’Brien Schofield managed just one quarterback disruption each.
– The highest grade for Seattle belonged to Walter Thurmond (+3.3). He saw 38 snaps and allowed the two balls into his coverage to go for just 15 yards, while also breaking up another pass that was called back for a defensive penalty on his teammate.
– Eddie Lacy finished the day with -5 yards rushing, despite picking up 7 yards after contact. He did have an 11-yard run called back after a penalty.
The biggest story in this game was how the Packers’ run game was shut down. It was a group effort, so picking one person who stood out is almost unfair, but I’ll go with Tony McDaniel.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled