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Offline Zero2Cool  
#1 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2008 2:37:43 PM(UTC)

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DENVER Mike McCarthy either isnt too worried about his running [img_r]http://cmsimg.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=U0&Date=20080822&Category=PKR01&ArtNo=80822133&Ref=AR&Profile=1058&MaxW=150&Border=0[/img_r]game or hes so concerned about his first-year starting quarterback that he plans to give Aaron Rodgers as many throws as possible this preseason.

Either way, the Green Bay Packers came out firing in their third preseason game, and this time, the offense clicked. Six days after its woeful performance against the San Francisco 49ers, the starting offense finally found some rhythm on Friday against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field. Against a Broncos defense that last season ranked 19th out of 32 teams in the NFL in total yards allowed and 28th in points, Rodgers and the No. 1 offense put together a respectable performance that yielded 20 points in a little more than two quarters of action.

The Packers led 20-17 when Rodgers night ended after one series in the third quarter, and they held on to win their first game in three tries this preseason, 27-24.

It was more important for the offense to play a lot better, McCarthy said. Our quarterback has a lot to do with that. I thought Aaron had a good night. I thought he managed the offense, the tempo, was smart with the football (and) was very good on third down. But I thought it was important for our offense to come out and establish some tempo and have some productivity early in the game.

Perhaps McCarthys concern now will shift to his defense, which gave up touchdown drives of 99 and 80 yards in the first half. The Broncos scored on all three of their first-half possessions, totaling 17 first-half points despite only six completions in two quarters by starting quarterback Jay Cutler.

McCarthy set the tone with his play calling when on the first snap, Rodgers rolled to his right and found tight end Tory Humphrey wide open for a 35-yard gain. On the next play, Rodgers fired a dart to receiver Greg Jennings, who ran a comeback route for a 17-yard gain, and the Packers were on the move.

Rodgers completed 4-of-5 passes for 69 yards on the opening drive. His only incompletion was a throwaway, and he capped the 80-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Donald Driver, who went in motion on third-and-3 and found a small opening in the defense.

After a run-heavy second possession, which ended with a 59-yard Jon Ryan punt that Jarrett Bush downed at the 1-yard line, McCarthy went back to the air on the final two possessions of the first half. Rodgers looked deep to Driver to start the third possession and picked up a 26-yard pass interference penalty on linebacker D.J. Williams, who was caught in a mismatch. Later in the drive, Rodgers converted a fourth-and-2 on his second of three quarterback sneaks, but the drive stalled in part due to a dropped pass by James Jones on second-and-10 at the Broncos 25. The Packers settled for a 44-yard Mason Crosby field goal.

Then, with an opportunity to run the 2-minute drill, Rodgers led another field-goal drive. Starting at his 20 with 1:25 remaining in the second quarter, Rodgers completed five straight passes, including a 23-yarder on a deep cross to Driver to start the drive. With 11 seconds left, he took one shot at the end zone, but missed Jennings. Crosby then kicked a 46-yard field goal to end the half.

In what was his best half of the preseason, Rodgers completed 16-of-19 passes in the first half for 178 yards and a touchdown. That equated to a passer rating of 123.2.

Rodgers playing time lasted one series into the third quarter, when he capped a seven-play, 40-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown. When he gave way to rookie Brian Brohm on the second series of the third quarter, Rodgers final stats were: 18-of-22 passing (an 81.8 completion percentage) for 193 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown for a passer rating of 118.4.

Tonight was a good step for our offense, Rodgers said after the game. After last week and getting the kind of time we did tonight, we needed to really take a step forward, and I think we did that.

Rodgers protection was better than it was against the 49ers, when he was sacked four times in the first half. The Broncos sacked him just once, when right tackle Mark Tauscher couldnt contain defensive end Elvis Dumervil on a second-and-8 play in the first quarter. That, plus a personal foul on running back Vernand Morency on the next play, forced the only punt of the first half.

It was that punt which set up Denvers in your face, 16-play, 99-yard scoring drive that chewed up 8 minutes and 29 seconds. With the Packers missing run-stopping defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (hamstring), the Broncos took advantage of some substitutions on the Packers defensive line. They ran 10 times including six straight for 55 yards on that drive alone.

We didnt get off the field, defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said. We have to sure up some fundamentals. We missed a few tackles, missed a few gap controls, things we can easily adjust and get to.

The Broncos followed up their 99-yard drive with a two-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Cutler went after No. 3 cornerback Tramon Williams on both plays. On the first, Williams was flagged for a 31-yard pass interference penalty for contact with receiver Brandon Marshall, who ran a left sideline go route. On virtually the same route, Marshall beat Williams deep down the left sideline for a 49-yard touchdown.

While Cutler completed just 6-of-13 passes for 115 first-half yards and two touchdown passes, the Broncos rushed 15 times for 91 yards (a 6.1-yard average) in the first half. Meanwhile, the Packers ran 12 times for just 31 first-half yards. Brandon Jackson carried six times for a team-high 19 yards.

This was likely the last chance for extended preseason playing time for the Packers starters. In his first two seasons as coach, McCarthy has used the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season and has played his starters sparingly in the preseason finale. That means Rodgers and Co. likely will play only a series or two in Thursdays preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau Field.

Tonight we definitely made enough plays to feel confident about our offense going into the regular season, Rodgers said. Hopefully we showed enough that were ready for the regular season.


Watch out for the pass attack!! It'll be interesting to see how we do with Ryan Grant back in the mix.
Offline 4PackGirl  
#2 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2008 2:49:31 PM(UTC)

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woot - can't wait for regular season to start!!! :D
Offline Zero2Cool  
#3 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2008 2:59:44 PM(UTC)

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woot - can't wait for regular season to start!!! :D


It's already started!! :)
Offline TengoJuego  
#4 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2008 8:49:38 PM(UTC)

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Aaron looked great last night! I was very pleased with his play. Now the defense, they're a bit of a different story.
Offline wischeez  
#5 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2008 10:27:52 PM(UTC)

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Rogers did very good. He was pretty much on-the-money with all his throws. It looked like the receivers and Rogers were on the same page all evening. All we have to do now is get the defense on the same page and eliminate the mental errors. Can't wait for Sept.8
Offline millertime  
#6 Posted : Sunday, August 24, 2008 3:41:14 AM(UTC)

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I'm getting worried about our defense. We've had only one sack in three games!

We need to get more pressure or else we'll continue to get torched by the pass.
Offline gakko  
#7 Posted : Sunday, August 24, 2008 7:52:38 AM(UTC)

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It's a huge advantage for the Packers that they established Ryan Grant as a premier running threat last season, because only the threat of the running game he brings will open up our passing game even more.
Offline Cheesey  
#8 Posted : Sunday, August 24, 2008 10:10:13 AM(UTC)

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It's a huge advantage for the Packers that they established Ryan Grant as a premier running threat last season, because only the threat of the running game he brings will open up our passing game even more.

I agree.......hopefully Grant will bring that to the table. Jackson has looked pretty good too! I can't WAIT to see that one/two punch on the field!
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