The Green Bay Packers fell to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night 20-16. Like many other preseason games, the score does not tell much of the story when it comes to the game. The game was played in a monsoon, with rain falling throughout most of the contest. While the game did not live up to expectations, here are some players that shined in rainy Tennessee.
When the Packers went on their Super Bowl run in 2010, a rookie from Buffalo named James Starks gave a spark to a non-existent running game, and took some pressure off of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After suffering various injuries in 2011 and 2012, Starks became the backup to Eddie Lacy last season. Starks rushed for almost 500 yards last year, providing a nice one-two punch with Lacy.
With the heavy rain, head coach Mike McCarthy held out eight starters, including Rodgers, Lacy, and Jordy Nelson. Starks was given the start and only played one series, but was given the ball on six of the Packers eight plays, rushing for 49 yards and the game’s first touchdown. Starks looked like a man who could not be stopped, as even in the rain he was able knife his way through the Titans’ defense.
With most teams in the league now operating with two running backs, the Packers have two power backs that have shown they can both be number one backs. The good news is that with both being power backs, when one wears down the defense, the other can come in and wear it down even more. That should also put some ease on the passing game and open it up for some big plays.
While Starks was impressive, the wet conditions provided challenges for many of the Packers players. Quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien both were able to recover each of their fumbles, as did cornerback Micah Hyde on a muffed punt. Rookie wide receiver Davante Adams was not as lucky, as he lost two fumbles, each as he attempted to return punts.
Even though some things can be taken away from any preseason game, in my opinion, the rain makes it hard to do so. The quarterbacks were hardly able to air it out and players for both sides were having issues holding onto the football. On top of that, the Packers were down eight starters. On the bright side, it was only the first game of the preseason. So, there are still a couple of games to straighten things out.