The Green Bay Packers were shutout in their preseason opener 17-0 by the Arizona Cardinals. After stopping the Cardinals on their first drive, the Packers got the ball and drove right down the field. Most of that yardage came after Aaron Rodgers connected with James Jones for a 50-yard gain that got the Packers all the way down to the Cardinals six yard line.
The biggest play of the game came when the Packers had the ball fourth and goal at the Cardinals one yard line. Rodgers handed the ball off to James Starks, who appeared to cross the goal line before his knee hit the ground. Starks was ruled down at the one which, even though it’s only the preseason, caused head coach Mike McCarthy to challenge the call. The play stood, but according to the replay, it clearly looked like Starks had scored. That was the end of Rodgers’ night. He went three for five for 62 yards.
After again stopping the Cardinals, second string quarterback Graham Harrell came into the game and gave the ball right back to the opposing team by throwing an interception to Patrick Peterson.
Harrell’s night didn’t get any better. On the Packers’ next possession, Harrell was sacked and fumbled the football at the Cardinals 45 yard line, and the Cardinals scored on the following drive. Harrell finished the night 12 for 19 for 76 yards and had the one pick. Newly signed quarterback Vince Young played only two series, completing one of his three passes for seven yards, and having two rushes for twelve yards.
Rookie fourth round draft pick David Bakhtiari played well, committing zero penalties and did not give up a sack, which made the Packers coaching staff very happy. Starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga is out for the season with a torn ACL, and Bakhtiari is the front runner to take Bulaga’s job. The rookie tackle gives the Packers a sense of optimism heading into the rest of the preseason. Another rookie who made waves was wide receiver Tyrone Walker. Walker, an undrafted free agent signing, caught five passes for 41 yards and is making a push to be a new weapon for Aaron Rodgers.
Even though the team struggled, it’s only the preseason, and the games don’t start counting for another month. Next the Packers head to St. Louis to take on the Rams, where they hope to start scoring some points. Another shutout would be discouraging, preseason or not.