Progress for Pack in Game Two: Lacy, Finley, Hyde and Jolly Shine

Well, that was more like it. There's a long way to go and we'd like to see more progress and a couple more healthy bodies on the field next Friday night, but the Packers showed us some encouraging developments in their 19-7 win over the Rams.

For me it starts with Eddie Lacy, who was nearly scintillating in his first action as a pro. He showed toughness, quickness, power--everything we hoped to see. If he can stay healthy, Lacy will bring something to this offense that we haven't seen in years. And it will make Aaron Rodgers and the passing game even more dangerous.

It would have been nice to see the first team offense get in the end zone, but they were undone by untimely penalties. Rodgers looked razor sharp and his chemistry with Jermichael Finley is heating up. Finley is taking advantage of the absence of Cobb and Nelson and appears to be ready to back up his $8 million contract. In his brief stint, he looked like the playmaker we have been waiting for.

The defense also took a nice step forward. After allowing Isaiah Pead to gain 11 yards on his first carry, they buckled down and were in shutdown mode the rest of the time they were in there. Despite the absence of rookie Datone Jones, the defensive line played as well as advertised. While Raji, Pickett, Daniels, Wilson and company all had strong games, it's Johnny Jolly's night that we'll all remember. First he gets his hands up and deflects a Sam Bradford pass that results in a Jarrett Bush interception; later he's in the right place at the right time and picks off a pass at the goal line. Safe to say, Jolly will make this team. And he might actually become close to the difference-maker he was becoming in 2009.

The kickers got their chances in this one and neither one has me completely confident that he'll be on the roster on opening day. Crosby went three for three, but was lucky on the last one, a 30-yarder that was blocked, but snuck over the crossbar. Next Friday night will be the final test in this battle. I still wouldn't count out a guy like the recently released Dan Carpenter getting a call.

Other thoughts: rookie corner Micah Hyde looked very good--doing a terrific job on prized rookie receiver Tavon Austin. Bakhtiari looked solid, despite giving up a sack to Robert Quinn that killed a promising drive and getting nailed for holding once. Jarret Boykin cemented his status as the number four receiver in my mind. He looks more ready than Ross and the rookies. Rookie OLB Andy Mulumbo had a better night than Dezman Moses; he has a shot to take his spot.

It was a rough night for CB Brandon Smith and G Lane Taylor. Smith screwed up on a punt, causing a fumble and giving the Rams the ball in the red zone. He was also penalized for PI. Taylor was flagged twice--once on an illegal hit that could have ended a guy's career. If the team keeps these guys it will likely be on the practice squad. The backup QB play didn't do much for me. No one really stood out, though BJ Coleman put himself back in the conversation after leading the team's only TD drive of the preseason.

All in all, a good night. A near shutout and it looks like the team escaped any major injuries. In next Friday's pivotal third game, it would be nice to see Jones and Cobb back as well as a healthy dose of Eddie Lacy. The Seahawks looked very sharp against the Broncos--this first half will give us a good idea of where this team stands as we get closer to September 8th.


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