Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers: Preseason Week 1 Studs and Duds

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The Green Bay Packers saw their first real action this past Saturday against the Houston Texans in their preseason opener. Despite the disappointing loss, getting outscored 26 to 7 by the Texans, this game did have some bright spots for some of the young Green Bay Packers. On the opposite end, it also gave us some insightful information about some players who have seen struggles and could be a potential roster cut.

Here are the studs and duds for the first week of preseason:

 

Studs:

 

Jordan Love

In his first game of his NFL career and Green Bay Packers debut, Jordan Love did not disappoint despite lots of speculation and a few practices that got fans on edge. Love registered a 72.4 PFF grade after putting up 12/17, for 122 yards, 1 touchdown, and a 110.4 rating. With a 70% competition percentage, Love had no turnover worthy throws and was 3/5 on passes over 10 yards including a needle threading throw on a 4th and 2 to Devin Funchess that he couldn’t quite haul in.

Love was the epitome of consistent and accurate, things you love to hear from your young quarterback prospect. Love’s night did finish with a stripe sack that injured his shoulder, head coach Matt LaFleur assured everyone that it isn’t significant. Hopefully we will get to see more action from Love week 2 of preseason.

Oren Burks

Oren Burks has been a fringe roster player for the Green Bay Packers with skeptical play and an extensive injury history since he came into the league. Burks’ contract expires next offseason so this year is a complete “make or break” year for him. With that in mind, in his first game of the season he looked like he came to play this season.

Burks showed up to the game full of energy and ended up registering the 4th highest PFF grade on defense with a 75.0, accompanied by 7 total tackles, 1 sack, 3 defensive stops and 2 pressures. Burks ended up being the highest graded run defender and pass rusher on the entire Green Bay Packers defense.

Royce Newman

Green Bay Packers 4th round rookie, Royce Newman, was one of the very few bright spots on the offensive line on Saturday. Newman played the entire second half of the game and registered a team high PFF grade of 83.6 FF, that grade was also the highest given score of any rookie offensive lineman. After playing well as a pass blocker and a run blocker, paired with poor guard play from Jon Runyan and Lucas Patrick, Newman earned himself starting reps at Monday’s practice.

 

Devin Funchess

After a 2-year absence from football, Devin Funchess finally made his return to live football action. There was a lot of skepticism on what type of player Funchess would be in his return, but he put away a lot of those questions and had a great day on Saturday. In his Green Bay Packers debut, he was given a 77.0 PFF grade, which was the 3rdbest on the offense, along with a game high, 6 receptions on 8 targets, 70 yards receiving, 3.0 yards per route run, and he also gained 3 first downs on receptions.

The biggest comforting thing to see from Funchess was his hands being consistent and impressive. He had multiple difficult catches including a one-handed snag as he was falling to the ground. His only real incompletion was the difficult play on the 4th and 2 where he had a tough play and had to fight through two defenders.

 

Duds:

 

Josh Jackson

Despite not being in bottom 5 of the PFF grades given out, it was clear among viewers that Josh Jackson was one of the worst players on the field and opposing quarterbacks took advantage of it. Jackson was targeted 10 times and allowed 7 receptions for 91 yards. Jackson did have 5 tackles and a pass deflection at the goal line, but it was almost a defensive pass interference, which seems to be a common occurrence for Jackson when he actually has tight coverage.

Like Oren Burks, Jackson’s contract expires this offseason, and as another fringe roster player, it is also a “make or break” year for him. Unlike Burks though, Jackson did not come out with the same will to make a lasting impression to stay on the Green Bay Packers. Although it is unlikely, we could see Jackson potentially be a cut casualty this year if he doesn’t get his act together.

 

Lucas Patrick

Despite being a proficient starter on the Green Bay Packers offensive line in 2020, Lucas Patrick’s first outing of 2021 did not go as planned. Patrick played the entire first half and receiving the worst PFF grade on the offense of a 44.9, graded as the worst run blocker on the offensive line, and gave up a pressure as well.

As an experienced starter, you would not expect this from Patrick and hopefully it was just a fluke game. If it wasn’t, although it is unlikely, there is a real chance he could also be a cut candidate since he would free up around $2 million for the team.

 

Patrick Taylor

In a crowded Green Bay Packers running back room, Patrick Taylor picked a bad day to have a lackluster game. Emerging rookie running back, Kylin Hill had a touchdown on Saturday and Dexter Williams averaged 8 yards per carry, while Taylor had 9 rushes for 22 yards and his longest run was only 5 yards. Taylor received a 49.8 PFF grade and had the worst run blocking grade on the whole team as well as giving up a pressure. Taylor will need to see a significant improvement in his game if he wants to beat out Hill and/or Williams for the initial 53-man roster.

 

Kurt Benkert

You don’t expect a whole lot from your 3rd string quarterback and Kurt Benkert was definitely not the worst person on the field Saturday. That being said, even after going 8/12 for 88 yards, Benkert received a 54.1 PFF grade, lost a fumble and threw an interception in just 26 snaps.

Benkert will likely be on the Green Bay Packers in one way or another, whether on the active roster or the practice squad, but if he wants to have a significant shot to make the 53-man roster he will have to step up his game and make some impressive plays throughout the rest of the preseason.

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