Although the Packers offense struggled once again in the preseason finale at Tennessee, there were a few bright spots.
For the second consecutive week, the Brett Favre to Robert Ferguson connection was on display. In last week's game at Jacksonville the pair hooked up on a 52-yard pass play and this week they connected on a 53-yard touchdown, the Packers only score of the game.
Ferguson finished with two catches for 59 yards and Favre completed 10 of 20 passes for 113 yards. He also had two interceptions before giving way to Tim Couch in the second half.
The loss drops the Packers to 1-3 in the preseason and gives them nine days to prepare for their season opener at Carolina on September 13. The rest will serve the team well giving numerous players time for their injuries to heal up.
One of those injuries includes Donald Driver, who sprained his ankle on the Packers' third offensive play of the game. GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said that Driver could have returned, but he elected to hold him out.
Also receiving injuries were Tony Fisher, Jason Horton and Kenny Peterson. According to Sherman, Fisher twisted his left ankle, Horton had a hip pointer and Peterson hurt his right knee when teammate Cullen Jenkins landed on it.
Backup Quarterback Position Still Unclear
Brett Favre is probably the most reliable player to ever play in the NFL, but that doesn't mean the team doesn't need a capable player to back him up. It appears the Packers have that in Doug Pederson, but it's still unclear who will be the third signal-caller on the roster.
Certainly the signing of Tim Couch in the off-season was a significant transaction, but he has suffered from a sore throwing arm and it has slowed his progress. Picking up the west coast offense the Packers run is difficult as it is, but being hurt doesn't help matters, either. Couch played Friday night for the first time since the August 21 game against the Saints.
The sixth-year veteran out of Kentucky started the second half and played in only one series. Couch completed three of six passes for 14 yards before being replaced by rookie Scott McBrien.
McBrien played most of the third and fourth quarters but eventually gave way to Craig Nall in the fourth quarter. McBrien finished 1-3 for five yards on the night. Nall passed for 71 yards with his biggest completion going to rookie Wilson Thomas on a 37-yard gain. Overall, Nall was 3-9 with one interception.
Certainly, none of these three quarterbacks really distinguished themselves with Friday night's performance, which will make it that much more difficult when the rosters need to be set.
All NFL teams are required to trim their rosters to 53 players by 3:00 Sunday afternoon and on Monday can establish an eight-man practice squad. Stay tuned to Packers.com for all roster updates.
Punting Responsibilities To Be Determined
Going into the preseason, the Packers were confident that third-round pick B.J. Sander would be their punter of the future. While that still may be the case, he has had a battle on his hands the last two games.
The Packers brought in Bryan Barker to compete with Sander and the 15-year veteran has been up-and-down, much like the rookie. Like the backup quarterback position, a difficult decision will also have to be made in the punting game.
Do you keep Sander who is younger and clearly has plenty of talent but just needs to put it all together, or do you go with the trusty veteran who has been through it before?
According to Sherman, that is a decision the Packers will have to evaluate very closely this weekend.
"The kicking situation obviously has not solidified itself completely at this point," Sherman said.
Davenport Shines, Flanagan Returns, Carroll Makes First Start
Although the Packers have one of the best running backs in the game in Ahman Green, they also have very solid backups in Najeh Davenport and Tony Fisher.
Davenport has demonstrated throughout his two years in the NFL that he can spell Green from time to time and be a valuable asset to the Packers offense. That proved to be true once again Friday night.
The third-year veteran out of Miami received his first ever start in the NFL as Green continued to rest his sore kneecap. Davenport averaged five yards per carry as he finished with 75 yards on the ground on 15 attempts.
Tony Fisher also had a solid game with 26 yards on five carries. There's no doubt that the team loves having Green in the backfield, but it's a comfort to know that running back is perhaps the deepest position on the team.
It's taken all of training camp to do so, but Mike Flanagan has finally gotten game action. The center came back Friday night and received the start after missing all but a week of camp with knee tendinitis. The good news is that Flanagan and the rest of the offensive line is healthy going into the opener at Carolina.
Just as injuries have forced backups to get valuable time on the offensive line, a back injury to starting cornerback Michael Hawthorne opened the door for Ahmad Carroll to get his first start Friday night. The Titans threw many passes his way, but had very little success.
"I thought Carroll did a nice job out there in his first assignment as a starter," Sherman said.
The Packers number one draft pick out of Arkansas had his first career interception, which came in the fourth quarter off Titans backup Billy Volek. No matter who starts in the opener, Carroll and fellow rookie Joey Thomas have continued to improve and the Packers may have more depth at that position than originally thought.