Mike McCarthy continues to be, as Luke Skywalker would say, “full of surprises.”
Not only did Aaron Rodgers start, but he also played a full series, culminating in a touchdown to Martellus Bennett.
The rest of the NFL should be afraid, very afraid, of the Rodgers-to-Bennett combo, they may be unstoppable in the red zone this season.
The running game remains a huge question mark for the Packers. Injured Ty Montgomery did not play, and practice standout Jamaal Harris was largely ineffective.
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Aaron Jones created some offense with three carries for 14 yards and added three receptions for 11 yards with a receiving touchdown from Brett Hundley.
Quarterback Taysom Hill was the rushing leader, with 38 yards on six carries, including a highlight-reel 26-yard touchdown scramble against Washington’s reserves.
Jeff Janis may be fighting for a roster spot and showed some flashes of the athleticism that have made him a fan favorite: three catches for game-high 63 yards, including a 38-yard grab on a perfect throw from Hundley.
Janis added a 16-yard kick return. Geronimo Allison looked sharp with two catches for 32 yards.
The return game still may offer some openings to players on the bubble: Trevor Davis looked like a lock with his touchdown return against the Eagles, but a lost fumble against Washington gave Janis and Max McCaffrey opportunities.
McCaffrey sliced and diced a 17-yard return to go with his two catches for 10 yards.
McCaffrey’s sure-handed grabs make him an intriguing prospect as a receiver and returner for the regular season, he may be stashed on the practice squad to make a late-season appearance after the inevitable injuries to the receiving corps.
The defensive backfield appears to be in good hands: with Davon House hurt and Damarious Randall still in the concussion protocol, second-year player Josh Hawkins stepped up with seven tackles (five solos) and three pass breakups, including an end-zone denial of longtime Packers nemesis Vernon Davis.
Lenzy Pipkins had a good showing with a pass breakup and 4 solo tackles; open-field tackling being something that was sorely missed against the Eagles in the preseason game one.
Quinton Rollins added a tackle for loss, the strength of this secondary against the run bodes well for the Seattle and Falcons games, both will feature ground attacks that must be contained.
Linebacker Reggie Gilbert had the Packers’ only sack, he may get an extended look this week against Denver.
In conclusion, we know a little more than last week: Aaron Rodgers won’t be kept in the china cabinet until the regular season, the secondary looks are upgraded from last season, and the O-line should be a strength, barring injuries.
And Mike McCarthy remains pleasingly unpredictable