Random Thoughts From the Browns Game

You can't glean too much from the first preseason game, especially in this wacky of offseasons. The next two preseason games should give us longer looks at the starters and provide a better idea of which way the starting position battles are leaning.

Here's what I noticed: After an ugly three and out, the Packers' #1 offense clicked in their second series, relying on the no huddle to march down the field. Aaron Rodgers was 5-5 on the drive and hit Greg Jennings with a sweet back shoulder toss for the score. James Starks, in limited action before rolling an ankle, showed a burst and could be a difference maker in this offense. Ryan Grant looked quick too. Expect the Packers running game to be much-improved over 2010. Looking forward to see Alex Green, hopefully Friday against the Cardinals.

The #1 defense was shaky. Either that, or the two days Colt McCoy spent in Hattiesburgh with the gray-haired texter really paid off. The Pack was without two of its top three corners: Woodson was rested and Shields is nursing a minor injury. The Browns took advantage of Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush, moving through the air effortlessly. Lee played the whole game and needs to show better, or the former #2 pick will be on the street.

Matt Flynn showed again why he will get a big free agent deal this offseason. Graham Harrell showed why the Pack can't afford to field trade offers for Flynn. Flynn again looks poised, confident and knows how to lead. Harrell, admittedly playing with a weaker supporting cast, was less than mediocre, putting the ball on the ground three times. One was picked up and taken in for a TD, breaking a 17-17 tie in the third quarter.

The brightest star of the night was rookie Randall Cobb, who showed a glimpse of what he can bring to the kickoff return game, provided he gets the chance with the new kickoff rules. He did against the Browns and showed an effortless, decisive style. The job is his off of this one game. As a receiver, Cobb caught three balls for 60 yards, including a great third down grab that showed his hands and ability to get in spots to move the chains. The Pack will have five legit WRs this season, giving McCarthy the opportunity to put more playmakers on the field for Rodgers to play with.

One other interesting note, rookie Ryan Taylor was the only rookie on the special teams units and he played on three of them: kickoff, kickoff return and the punt unit. He also looked good as a receiver. He and DJ Williams may end up pushing Quarless and/or Crabtree for roster spots.

After the game, the head coach talked about wanting to see better tempo, a sense of urgency in the huddle, on the field and on the sideline. There is no doubt that will come as we get closer to the season opener. Friday night, Jermichael Finley is expected back when the Pack returns to Lambeau to meet Darren Colledge and the Cards. Expect the first unit to play into the second quarter, giving us a better look at the rookies and position battles.


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