Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011 Preseason Week 1 - Packers/Browns Review

The Green Bay Packers flew to D.C. on Friday ahead of their Saturday night preseason game in Cleveland to finally visit the White House to celebrate winning Super Bowl XLV. President Obama is an avid Chicago Bears fan (seems like a non sequitur) so he took a fair amount of heat from Charles Woodson and Aaron Rodgers because the Packers beat the Bears in Chicago to win the NFC Championship Game to go to Super Bowl XLV but President Obama seemed to take the joking in stride. Following their visit to the White House, the Packers traveled to Cleveland to play the Browns in both team's preseason opener. Here are a few quick thoughts on the game:

#1) Player that hurt his stock most: Pat Lee had the chance to shine with some of the top cornerbacks (Woodson and Shields) held out against the Browns. Unfortunately Lee struggled and looks like a long shot to make the roster with Woodson, Williams, Shields, House, and Bush all ahead of Lee at this point.

#2) Player that helped his stock most: Clearly rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb and back-up quarterback Matt Flynn played well against the Browns so let's dig a little deeper. Morgan Burnett's rookie season was cut short when he tore his ACL in Week 4 of the 2010 season against the Lions. With Burnett lost for the season, Charlie Peprah was one of the biggest surprises of last year. Burnett is the safety of the future opposite Collins in Green Bay not Peprah but I was still skeptical how healthy Burnett would be less than a year removed from tearing his ACL. One game does not make a season but the physicality that Burnett showed against the Browns was a welcomed sight.

#3) Position to watch: Going into training camp the Packers decided not to resign former starting left guard Daryn Colledge and starting defensive end Cullen Jenkins among others. The Packers had a couple in-house candidates to fill in for Jenkins (Mike Neal, Howard Green, Jarius Wynn, and C.J. Wilson) but there was no clear-cut candidate to take over at left guard. The Packers drafted Derek Sherrod as the left tackle of the future but they are trying Sherrod at left guard along with holdover T.J. Lang. The Packers shuffled Sherrod and Lang between left tackle and left guard throughout the game. Both players did nothing against the Browns to help or hurt their stock so left guard will continue to be the position to watch when the Packers meet the Arizona Cardinals in their Week 2 preseason game at Lambeau Field on Friday, August 18, 2011.

Final Note: The NFL needs to change the pricing structure of preseason tickets. This has been mentioned in a number of places but the NFL Owners shouldn't charge regular season prices for preseason games. Cleveland Browns Stadium holds a little more than 73,000 people. The reported attendance was 57,077 but only 30,000 people actually attended the game. Here is the quick solution for preseason ticket problems. There are four preseason games. Week 1 and Week 4 games are essentially throwaway games because guys that have very little chance of making the opening 53-man roster play most of those games. Week 2 and Week 3 are the most interesting games because the starters play a good portion of the snaps. The NFL should charge $20 a ticket for the throwaway games (Week 1 and Week 4) and $40 a ticket for the more interesting games (Week 2 and Week 3).

If you enjoyed this "Quick Thoughts" post, check out my first "Quick Thoughts" post on the Cheeseheads Ruling Day 1 of the 2011 PGA Championship.

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