The Green Bay Packers have lost both of their preseason games this season and have had four turnovers in both games. In the Week 1 matchup, they had three lost fumbles and one interception. Last night against the Cleveland Browns, the Packers had three interceptions and one lost fumble.
The game started out well for the Green Bay Packers as the defense committed a turnover of their own on the first play of the game. This led to a 20-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson. After that drive, it was a struggle for the Packers’ offense to put a good drive together. Rodgers looked sharp early, but didn’t do good on his last series going 0-for-4 and finished the day going 6-for-11 with one touchdown and 59 yards passing.
Backup quarterback Graham Harrell came in at the start of the second quarterback and struggled the entire time he was out there. His passes were constantly thrown into tight coverage and he had trouble reading the defense. He wound up finishing the day going 12-for-24 for 100 yards, while also throwing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
After the game coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t too pleased with the way his team turned the ball over.
”I don’t care if it’s preseason, scrimmage, practice – it’s something that needs to stop,” McCarthy said. ”There’s no excuse for that. For as much as we train taking care of the football and emphasizing it, it’s important that the things that you do every single day in your practice structure show up on game day.”
The Packers have been dedicating two drills this offseason for protecting the ball and it has been working well at camp. However, in the last three games the Packers have played, the two preseason games and the playoff loss to the Giants, the Packers have had 12 turnovers. Seven of which were caused by fumbles and the other five coming from interceptions.
If there is a bright spot in all of these turnovers, it’s the fact that most of them have come with backup players. Granted these same players will get some playing time this season so they do need to take care of the ball better, but with receivers like Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley and Donald Driver not playing, it is hard to tell if the starters will have this same problem. Driver and Jennings have great hands and rarely cough up the football.
As for the running backs on the team, they need to make sure they hang onto the ball. The Packers’ offense relies heavily on the passing game and use the running game sparingly. So in the case of James Starks and Alex Green, they need to be conservative with the football. They aren’t relied on heavily to win games so it is more important for them just to do a solid job without any fumbling. For the Packers’ running backs, they are almost like offensive lineman, it’s better if we don’t hear their names because it means they are doing a good job.
The Packers have two preseason games left to fix their turnover problems. Mike McCarthy will be putting extra emphasis on ball security and limiting turnovers in practice and hopefully progress will be made. The Packers have the skill and talent to be one of the best teams in the NFL, but it will be worth nothing if they can’t hang onto the ball.
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