NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Green Bay's 3-1 record in the
preseason will be forgotten almost overnight,
but the favorable impression that the Packers
left on NFL personnel people this summer will
hang with them into the regular season.
scouts watching the Packers fall to the
Tennessee Titans, 27-13, on Thursday night in a
dreary exhibition finale at LP Field predicted
Green Bay would be an improved team from its
6-10 finish a year ago.
"If they stay healthy, they've got a chance
to go far in the playoffs," one personnel man
said. "Mainly because their quarterback is
playing good. They're a solid, steady football
team. Greg Jennings is a Pro Bowler, but they
don't have a lot of them. They're New Englandish."
The Patriots, three times Super Bowl
champions this decade, always did more with less
when it came to flat-out talent.
"I see Green Bay as a winning team," said
Blake Beddingfield, the Titans' scouting
coordinator. "It will be a tough division.
Minnesota and Chicago will be good teams. It's
true with any NFL team, but with them staying
healthy is No.1."
The Packers pulled their No. 1 offense after
three plays and a punt and their starting
defense after one six-play series that led to a
field goal by the Titans (3-2).
It was a dull conclusion to what had the
makings of being the finest exhibition season by
the Packers in a generation.
"I wanted to play a lot of these younger
guys," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
"Unfortunately, we had some injuries that put
some guys in a tough spot. The second quarter
was not the type of football we're looking for."
In all, Green Bay's starters played 13 series
against Cleveland, Buffalo, Arizona and
Tennessee, rolling over the four foes by a
combined score of 66-13.
On offense, the Packers' starters ran 74
plays for 646 yards, an 8.7-yard average and 34
On defense, the Packers' starters yielded 343
yards in 67 plays (5.1 average) and 17 first
"If you're scoring now, that will carry over
into the season," said Beddingfield. "They're
Green Bay finished plus-8 in turnover
differential. The Packers took the ball away 13
times, more than they have in any of their last
25 exhibition seasons.
Probably the best player on the roster this
summer was Aaron Rodgers, who finished with a
rating of 147.9 (the maximum is 158.3). After
posting a 53.0 mark as a rookie in 2005, Rodgers
had exhibition ratings of 101.1 in 2006, 98.3 in
'07 and 103.6 in '08.
It's interesting to note that Rodgers' passer
rating in his last four exhibition seasons all
surpassed the best summer rating by his
predecessor, Brett Favre, in his 16 seasons for
Green Bay. Favre's all-time best was 93.5 in
"Green Bay looks like a good offensive team,"
Beddingfield said. "The quarterback is playing
really well. Their offensive line is solid
enough. They have the receivers on the outside.
Getting the running game going will be so
Asked if the change from Mark Tauscher to
Allen Barbre at right tackle was a drop-off, one
scout said: "I think that's fine. There's not a
drop-off by any means. They're probably better
at that spot."
In its 13 series, the Packers' No. 1 offense
had nine touchdowns and a field goal, one missed
field goal, one punt and one failed
The 13 series in which the No. 1 defense
played ended in seven takeaways, three punts,
one touchdown and two field goals.
"The transition to the 3-4 looks like it's
going pretty well," Beddingfield said. "Their
personnel matches up pretty well for that."
The two teams closed the exhibition season
for the eighth year in a row. Tennessee is 6-2
in those finales.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who typically uses
the final game as a dress rehearsal, pulled the
plug early to prepare for his regular-season
opener next Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Tennessee's No. 1 defense departed after the
first series, and most of its No. 1 offense
exited after the first series. Three of the
Titans' regular offensive linemen did play into
the middle of the second quarter, leaving after
they spearheaded a 14-yard, 80-play touchdown
drive, staking Tennessee to a 10-3 lead.
Linebacker Nick Barnett played in his first
game since undergoing reconstructive knee
surgery Nov. 26. He lined up on the weak side
and played about 28 snaps.
"Barnett looked good coming off that knee,"
one scout said. "Didn't look bad at all. Looked
active. He's always been kind of an athletic
Rookie linebacker Clay Matthews, who sat out
the first three games with a recurring hamstring
injury, replaced Brady Poppinga after one series
and played about 22 snaps. He was frequently
matched against Michael Roos, the Titans' Pro
Bowl-caliber left tackle.
"He got stoned a couple times by Roos but
he's just getting his feet wet," one scout said.
"But what he showed he showed in college. The
high energy, the chase downfield. He's going to
The Packers were so thin at cornerback that
the ridiculous happened late in the third
quarter. Wide receiver Brett Swain, who hasn't
played on defense since he was a safety at
Carlsbad (Calif.) High School, finished the game
Another question coming out of the summer is
whether the Packers will have enough pass rush.
Coordinator Dom Capers showed almost nothing in
the finale, but in the first three games most of
the pressure was more the result of scheme than
"But I do think they have enough," one scout
said. "Standing up or putting his hand on the
ground, (Aaron) Kampman is a relentless pass
rusher with pass-rush skills.
"(Jeremy) Thompson has a little bit of that.
Clay Matthews has to come on. (Brady) Poppinga
is a high-energy kind of guy who plays with
Rookie defensive lineman B.J. Raji played
extensively and also will be expected to
contribute significantly to the rush.
"He's a force," one personnel man said. "He
showed it tonight. He gave their first-team
guard (Eugene Amano) fits."
And then there was quarterback Brian Brohm,
who followed up a solid outing in Arizona and a
good week of practice with a respectable showing
(84.5 rating) against the Titans.