Packers’ D delivers while O-Line flails

By Chris Havel
Special to Event USA

Oakland’s pass rush pounds Green Bay; Pettine’s unit bares teeth in 13-6 loss

GREEN BAY, Wis. –    The Green Bay Packers’ offensive line depth is frightfully bad, a fitting revelation on a night when the third preseason game dragged well beyond the witching hour.


Oakland’s famed “Black Hole” – where every game resembles Halloween – was an appropriate place to get the bad news: Green Bay’s offensive line is a disaster beyond the starters.
The Packers’ 13-6 preseason loss to the Raiders exposed Green Bay’s most significant problem: The pass rush. Only now the problem isn’t generating a pass rush so much as stifling one.
The good news is that there was rugged, hard-hitting defense being played and it wasn’t all by the Raiders. The Packers’ defense forced two turnovers, including a nifty interception by rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander. Fellow rookie Josh Jackson also had an interception and touchdown return that was called back by a penalty that had no influence on the play.
But before I expound on the defense, I’ve got to return to the Packers’ offense, or rather a lack thereof.
The Raiders’ defense harassed starter Brett Hundley and backup DeShone Kizer early and often. The Packers’ porous offensive line surrendered five sacks and allowed Green Bay QB’s to complete just 19 of 37 passes for a meager 155 yards.
It resembled the ghastly outings by Hundley a year ago.
“It was a tough night for both quarterbacks particularly,” Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday. “It was probably from a protection standpoint as poor of a performance as we’ve had.”
Right tackle Kyle Murphy dealt with a lower right leg injury throughout the game. Afterward, ESPN reported seeing Murphy exit the locker room in a walking boot.
Left tackle Jason Spriggs battled but didn’t impress. The interior of the line didn’t fare much better. Left guard Adam Pankey, center Lucas Patrick and right guard Byron Bell all struggled.
“Well, it isn’t like it was just one thing,” McCarthy told reporters. “You go through it (and) every individual had some things that didn’t go well. So I mean Kyle was injured … actually I thought Spriggs played better … Lucas, he hadn’t played a whole lot of center in games, but he did some really good things …”
“It’s just, unfortunately, there’s positive plays to build off of, it’s just the big plays that we gave up as far as the hits and the sacks and the penalties, and where you really don’t get to establish a rhythm and be productive; we were able to accomplish that the first two weeks.”
The offensive line’s woes hampered the Packers’ ability to evaluate the quarterbacks and, by extension, the other skill position players.
Hundley was 11 of 23 for 120 yards and a 63.7 passer rating. Kizer was 8 of 14 for 78 yards and a 72.9 rating.
The best series came with Hundley in the first quarter but resulted only in a field goal. The Packers added another field goal in the third quarter to cap their scoring.
Tim Boyle didn’t play, but McCarthy expects to play him in Thursday night’s preseason finale at Kansas City.
I would hope so. The reality is Boyle has a quicker release, throws a better deep ball and is generally more accurate than either Hundley or Kizer.
The kid just needs a chance.
The running game was led by LeShun Daniels (5-for-23) and Aaron Jones (5-for-18).
That was the extent of the ground attack.
Ty Montgomery continued to be his same old injury-prone self. He had four rushes for 12 yards and one catch for 1 yard before leaving with a foot injury.
If Jones wasn’t suspended for the first two games I would move on from the Ty Montgomery experiment. He can’t cut it.
At receiver, J’Mon Moore had four catches for 62 yards in what was easily his best performance. He needs to build on it.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (3 targets, 0 catches), Equanimeous St. Brown (2 targets, 0 catches) and the rest didn’t get into a rhythm with the quarterbacks constantly being hounded.
“I thought Brett’s start was probably the highlight of the night for us offensively,” McCarthy said. “He had four throws on that first series that were exceptional.
“DeShone is getting better. Tim didn’t get a chance just because our reps were low for the first time this preseason. We’ll definitely get him work in Kansas City.”
The Packers’ defense played well enough.
The Raiders’ starters moved the football behind Derek Carr, who played just one series. It ended when the Packers’ Reggie Gilbert pushed the Raiders’ Donald Penn into Carr’s face with a bull rush that caused a sack and fumble. Gilbert (four tackles, three solos and the sack) had another strong showing.
Montravius Adams looked strong on the interior defensive line while racking up four tackles. Vince Biegel had his best game professionally, while Ahmad Thomas, Josh Jones and Alexander (with the interception) all impressed.
However, rookie Oren Burks injured a shoulder in warm-ups and didn’t play as Green Bay’s defense allowed 5.5 yards per play. The Packers also committed 13 penalties for 110 yards.
“We wanted to get some things done offensively … didn’t accomplish that,” McCarthy said. “The obvious is the penalties … they were kind of the theme for the evening. It was a sloppy football game.”
It was sloppy, indeed, and if the Packers’ backup offensive linemen continue to play like that, it’ll be downright scary.