Top takeaways from Packers’ 28-21 preseason loss to 49ers

·5 min read

The Green Bay Packers were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason opener on Friday night at Levi’s Stadium.

Matt LaFleur sat 33 players, including Aaron Rodgers and most defensive starters. Jordan Love threw three interceptions but also two long touchdowns, and although Amari Rodgers’ fourth-quarter touchdown gave the Packers a lead, the 49ers stormed back with a scoring drive to grab the win.

Here are the top takeaways from the Packers’ 28-21 defeat:

The Love Rollercoaster

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The three interceptions look bad in the box score, but Tyler Davis flat dropped the first, Romeo Doubs had a catch wrestled away from him for the second, and two players ran the wrong route – pushing Love to force a tough throw – on the third. That’s much-needed context. Love also threw touchdown passes of over 30 yards to Doubs and Danny Davis, and he led the Packers into 49ers territory on five of his first six possessions, so there was plenty of good. But there was bad, too: Love still displayed accuracy issues, especially throwing underneath to the flat, and a few decisions made with the ball – particularly under pressure – were questionable at best. Accuracy and decision-making are two things a quarterback can control. Love is still a young and talented player who hasn’t seen much of the field, but the inconsistency in important parts of playing the position is a bit maddening to start Year 3.

Amari shows burst

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Rodgers only touched the ball four times, and his first catch didn’t come until the fourth quarter, but the second-year receiver still showed some of the juice he didn’t have as a heavier player last season. Rodgers, now slimmed down to 202 pounds, produced a 50-yard kickoff return when he broke contain to the outside, and a 22-yard touchdown catch that involved a broken tackle and a dive into the end zone. He also turned a broken gadget play into a respectable four-yard gain. Maybe Rodgers, the likely front-runner at kick returner, can finally give the return game a jolt. He looks much more explosive to start his second year.

Runyan, Myers look Week 1 ready

(AP Photo)

Jon Runyan and Josh Myers, two starters from last year’s offensive line, looked Week 1 ready in their preseason debuts. The duo combined for a pair of excellent combo blocks in the run game, and neither gave up ground in the passing game. Runyan and Myers need to provide a strong foundation in the middle of the offensive line because there are a lot of moving parts around him. Yosh Nijman started at left tackle with Jake Hanson at right guard and Royce Newman at right tackle on Friday night.

Doubs looks the part

(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Romeo Doubs, in his first NFL game, played 28 snaps, ran 15 routes and saw seven targets, per Pro Football Focus. He dropped two passes, including one that resulted in an interception, but he also consistently got open, especially as a vertical threat. On his first-quarter touchdown, Doubs won with an outside release against press coverage, got vertical and stacked the cornerback to create a lay-up throw for Jordan Love. He was open at least twice more on vertical routes but the ball wasn’t there or contact affected the timing. He also doesn’t shy away from playing in terrific and consistently catches the ball with his hands. Overall, Doubs looks like the real deal. He’s a physical presence who can really run and separate from coverage.

Defensive line has real depth

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First-round pick Devonte Wyatt didn’t play after he sustained a head injury this week in practice, but the Packers’ defensive line depth was still obvious. Jack Heflin and Chris Slayton both caused havoc, especially against the run but also in the passing game. Rookie Jonathan Ford looked active but just missed a few big plays. These are three players fighting to be the No. 6 defensive lineman on the roster. Don’t be surprised if one of them forces the Packers to keep six; Heflin certainly looked like one of the best 53 players on the roster on Friday night. The depth at this position is really good.

Defensive depth elsewhere

Did any player at edge rusher, cornerback or safety take a big step in the positional battles to win backup roles and roster spots on Friday night? The defensive depth at three key positions still looks shaky. It was too bad that Jonathan Garvin, Ladarius Hamilton and Innis Gaines didn’t play, and Tipa Galeai and Dallin Leavitt eventually left the game with injuries. There’s still a lot to sort out here with two preseason games to go. Shemar Jean-Charles and Kingsley Enagbare had a couple of flash plays on Friday night.

Get well soon, Mason

Rookie Gabe Brkic shanked his one and only field goal try wide left. It wasn’t even close. The rookie might be talented (and he did connect on his three extra points), but the inconsistency of his training camp so far leaked into the preseason games. The Packers need veteran Mason Crosby back for Week 1. He’s coming back from a right knee injury that required surgery, so the soon-to-be 38-year-old is a bit of a mystery at this point too. But a Super Bowl contender can’t have an inconsistent rookie at kicker, especially if the offense is going to be a work in progress early in the season.

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Story originally appeared on Packers Wire