Winners And Losers From Packers' Preseason Win Over Texans

Winners And Losers From Packers' Preseason Win Over Texans

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Houston Texans, 28-26, in the exhibition opener for both teams Thursday. Here are the Packers’ winners and losers.
Winner: Matt LaFleur
Green Bay’s rookie head coach had called the plays for just one season during his 10-year NFL career. On Thursday, LaFleur was responsible for the entire operation.
For the most part, LaFleur handled things with aplomb.
The offense played with pace and quickness. The defense, which has shined all summer, was impressive again.
The only blemish on LaFleur’s night was that he lost a challenge when he felt wide receiver Allen Lazard was interfered with. And even there, one of LaFleur's assistants was in charge of throwing the challenge flag.

"I told the guys whether it's regular season, preseason, it always feels much better to win than lose," LaFleur said. "So I was happy about that. And more than anything else, I thought our guys gave pretty good, gave great effort."
Loser: WR J’Mon Moore
Moore, a fourth-round draft choice in 2018, had no impact a year ago. And even though Moore caught a short touchdown Thursday, his night had far more bad than good.
In the second quarter, Moore was wide open on a crossing route, but slipped and fell and DeShone Kizer’s pass landed incomplete. Later, Moore dropped another pass from Kizer.
Then in the third quarter, Moore dropped a sure touchdown pass from Tim Boyle before catching a 1-yard TD a few plays later.
For a player fighting for a roster spot, Moore hurt his chances more than he helped them.
Winner: QB DeShone Kizer
Kizer had a solid first half, completing 8-of-13 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. Kizer also didn’t have a turnover play.
Kizer, who’s fighting to be the No. 2 quarterback, missed a few routine throws, though. Kizer also threw high on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Shepherd and almost got the rookie wide receiver slaughtered.
Kizer still has a lot to prove over the final three weeks of training camp, but Thursday was a solid start.
"I think you need a good night every night," Kizer told reporters afterwards. "This league is about what you put on tape. Every rep you get, it’s making sure it’s the best one that really shows exactly who you are.
"This was an opportunity for me to show what I’ve gained in this offseason in terms of my balance and being able to throw with the ball some consistency and accuracy. I was able to show that a couple times this evening. Now, it’s about building on that and showing the consistency that’s needed to be a starter in this league again."
Winner: QB Tim Boyle
Boyle threw just five passes, but two were touchdowns. Boyle threw a 1-yard TD to J’Mon Moore and a gorgeous 27-yard TD to Allen Lazard.
Boyle, who was inactive 15 of 16 games last year, is big (6-3 ½, 232) and can run (4.78). He’s got a strong arm, stands tall in the pocket and throws a beautiful deep ball.
If Boyle has more nights like Thursday, he has a legitimate shot to be the No. 2 quarterback this season.
Loser: WR Teo Redding
Redding spent the last six weeks of the 2018 season on the Packers’ practice squad. With Green Bay extremely deep at receiver, Redding hurt his chances to stick around this season.
Redding fumbled a fourth quarter kickoff return that the Texans recovered and turned into a field goal. For a player like Redding who was already a long shot, turning the ball over could be his eventual death knell.
Winner: Equanimeous St. Brown
Green Bay’s special teams were legendarily bad in 2018 and finished dead last in a composite ranking by the Dallas Morning News. In one play, though, St. Brown made a bigger impact than anyone did a year ago.
Houston returner Keke Coutee muffed a punt near the goal line, St. Brown recovered and fought his way into the endzone to give the Packers a 7-0 lead. It was a terrific start for the units of first-year special teams coach Shawn Mennenga.
"That was awesome," LaFleur said. "You know, we had that big turnover that was a touchdown. I thought that kind of got us going a little bit, t gave us some juice and gave us some momentum."
Loser: Fundamentals
Tackling is a thing of the past in Packers’ training camp practices. Predictably, Green Bay’s tackling was shoddy all night.
On Houston’s second quarter touchdown drive, Green Bay unofficially had five missed tackles. And the Packers struggled all night to bring Houston quarterback Joe Webb to the ground.
"It was pretty sloppy overall from a defensive perspective, in terms of tackling," LaFleur said. "The tackling wasn’t good enough. Obviously, any time you go against Joe Webb, that’s a nightmare.
"I’m telling you, (Webb) can create and extend plays and he did it tonight. So, credit to the Texans, to Joe. But I thought there were just far too many missed tackles and that’s something that we’re really going to look at, how can we correct that moving forward."
Winner: Secondary
Green Bay had just seven interceptions last year, the lowest total in franchise history. Even with three-quarters of the starting secondary sitting out Thursday, the Packers had two interceptions and forced a fumble.
Cornerbacks Ka’dar Hollman and Chandon Sullivan both intercepted Texans quarterback Joe Webb. Safety Raven Greene also forced a fumble that safety Will Redmond recovered.
Loser: The fans
Green Bay, which went 6-9-1 last season, sat 26 players — including 16 starters. Houston held out quarterback Deshaun Watson, defensive end JJ Watt and several other key players.
When LaFleur was asked why, he said: "I didn’t want to put them at risk tonight."
NFL teams are far more concerned about losing a player to injury than getting ready for games in September. As a result, the product is dreadful in August and subpar early in the season.

The NFL has danced around the idea of shortening the preseason for years. It’s time they actually do it.
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