JEFF: The Preseason Begins
By Jeff Falconio
Week One of the preseason is in the books and a sigh of relief could be heard from Aaron Rodgers fans throughout the Midwest. Rodgers looked solid in his first action as the starting quarterback. He put some real good zip on a number of passes and would've had better numbers if not for a few drops from his receivers. Considering all Rodgers had to go through over the last six weeks, I would say he passed his first test.
The same could be said with the first team defense. I had some concern with the lack of depth leading up to this first preseason game but in the first quarter Cincinnati's offense managed only 19 yards and zero first downs. Yes, I know it's preseason and you're not going to see the full arsenal from any offense but the Bengals didn't get things going until most of the first teamers were on the bench, certainly some credit is due there.
Among the young guys that played in the second half, Matt Flynn looked more comfortable as the game wore on connecting on a couple of nice throws to Taj Smith, who had a solid fourth quarter of his own. Kregg Lumpkin was probably the most impressive of the offensive reserves despite fumbling in the final minute.
Of course, it wasn't all good. Brian Brohm was off his game but that's normal when you're dealing with a rookie getting his first bit of real action. Coach Mike McCarthy did not sound pleased with the performance of punter Jon Ryan in his post game comments. Ryan averaged only 37 yards on seven punts, including a 15 yard shank in the second quarter. Special teams will once again play an important role and those numbers won't get it done.
Clearly the story of the night was Rodgers looking comfortable under center. If it's a prelude to September, Packers fans can start to feel confident that Rodgers is the right man for the job.