The Packers 21-7 victory over St. Louis on Saturday night in Green Bay's second preseason game was a great benchmark for head coach Mike McCarthy. His team's right on track, highlighted by an impressive outing by the first team offense.
“We scored and we stayed healthy. That's kind of a perfect preseason game,” Aaron Rodgers said.
Rodgers was near-perfect, going 11-for-13, for 128 yards and a touchdown. Leading the charge, the first team offense scored 10 points on their first two drives, moving the ball down the field at will by perfect execution of the no-huddle offense.
“I like the tempo you know, we talk about that a lot in practice. It's tough to simulate unless you're in a game situation. You can do it for a time in practice but usually you don't simulate 12 play drives, calling that many plays, I think we had a couple of them so that was good for us,” Rodgers said.
“Unfortunately we were backed up both possessions but we were able to get out of the hole which is great so. I think by being backed up, we worked every aspect of the game besides two minute but hopefully we'll get that next week by probably playing a full half but we've been backed up, third down everything, red zone twice so we're getting every bit of the game and that's what you want,” said Jordy Nelson.
McCarthy said he didn't want Eddie Lacy's workload to be very high in the preseason and he stuck to that -- the reigning offensive rookie of the year only played one series but he made his time count recording 47 total yards.
“I was able to get back in a groove I guess you can say and I think with the carries I had and the two catches I did a pretty good job, even though I haven't played last week. But it's a timing thing and I think everything timed out pretty good,” said Eddie Lacy.
Rodgers and the ones showed that there's no rust to shake off and the chemistry is there, but he doesn't want to get ahead of himself, the Rams’ defense kept their cards close to the vest on Saturday night.
“They played very vanilla on defense, didn't bring any pressure really other than one snap when we were out there. They didn't have (Michael) Brockers playing, didn't have (James) Laurinaitis playing so.. It was good for us to run some plays against another team, but it's preseason,” said Rodgers.
As far as the back-up quarterback battle, Scott Tolzien took reps with the second team in St. Louis but didn't really settle in until his fifth and final drive -- the backup offensive line had a lot to do with that-- Don Barclay's injury is bad news for the Packers, that was evident last night!
“I thought Scott had some tough situations, I thought his decision making was good and the management of what he was trying to do out there. We had some pressures there that really hurt us in some of our drives but we'll look at the video, I thought Scott improved today,” Mike McCarthy said.
Tolzien finished the day 10-for-15 for 107 yards, no scores. Matt Flynn replaced Tolzien with just over two minutes to play in the third and immediately lead the Packers to the end zone. Flynn went 2-for-3 for 44 yards and a touchdown.
“I feel good, I'm proud of what I'm doing, proud of what I've done. I feel like I'm playing fast, feel like I'm very much in control of what we are trying to accomplish on offense and we're getting guys in the right position. I'm very much in control of what I'm doing and I feel like physically I'm throwing the ball well, haven't been able to really put that out there on the game field but everything goes into it, practice goes into it and I feel like I've thrown the ball well,” said Matt Flynn.
Two Packer touchdowns were nullified on Saturday due to penalties --- Green Bay and St. Louis combined for 22 flags for 171 yards. Rodgers says he and his teammates are well aware of what the referees are emphasizing this preseason. Some of the members of Saturday’s officiating crew were among the league refs that came to Green Bay the first week of camp. And they've been coached to watch for: defensive holding, illegal contact, hands to the face and offensive pass interference.
“It's way over the top. It's too much, the game's too choppy if they're going to call it like that,” said Rodgers.
“I think they'll fine tune it a little bit and see what happens because there's a lot of flags, I know one game the other day had like 35 of them so it makes for long games, kinda slows down the tempo,” Nelson weighed in.
“It makes you after a play, especially a big play you're always looking back seeing if there's a penalty out there which we don't want to get down that road too far but hopefully it's the preseason and they're working their kinks out as well,” Rodgers said.