Slip-Sliding Away

Davante Adams and DuJuan Harris botched three kicks and the quarterbacks struggled in the rain, too.

Davante Adams’ preseason debut was a challenge, to say the least.

In a driving rainstorm at Tennessee, the Green Bay Packers’ second-round pick muffed the first two punts of Saturday night’s preseason game.

“We need to learn from it,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think there’s some fundamental, technical things that he needs to improve on, and it was clearly evident on those two punts.”

The weather wasn’t the only challenge for Adams. The Packers hadn’t even used Adams as a returner in team periods at practice. In practices last week, the Packers used Randall Cobb, Myles White, Micah Hyde and Tramon Williams in the return rotation on Tuesday and White, Cobb and Williams on Monday.

“It’s just our thinking,” McCarthy said. “You’re trying to give as many players as many different opportunities as possible. You never go into any season with just one person at a position. You can never be deep enough.”

The problems weren’t limited to Adams. His second muffed punt set up the Titans for an easy touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, DuJuan Harris failed to catch the ball, though he recovered and had a decent return.

In all, the Packers fumbled five times. Along with Adams’ two, Matt Flynn was charged with a fumble on a botched center-quarterback exchange after rookie Corey Linsley replaced starter J.C. Tretter in the second quarter, Micah Hyde muffed a punt in the third quarter but recovered and Scott Tolzien had the ball slip out of his hand while attempting to pass on the same possession.

“I thought the weather conditions tonight were outstanding,” McCarthy said. “Ever since I’ve been involved in coaching, you do the wet ball drills probably once a week during training camp and you always try to hit it during the course of the week when you get into the regular season, but to come out here and perform in the real thing, this is a great experience for our football team. We knew ball security was going to be a challenge. We probably didn’t do quite as good as we would’ve liked that. We’ll have to see how many times we had the ball on the ground and some of the drops. To play in this environment, I thought was an incredible experience for us because we are from Green Bay, Wisconsin.”

The weather impacted the passing game. Flynn, who played when it was truly miserable, went 5-of-10 for 49 yards, with the big gain being a 24-yard catch by Brandon Bostick on a pass that traveled just 2 yards downfield. Tolzien, getting slightly better weather, went 8-of-12 for 124 yards. His big play was a 34-yarder to Chris Harper against blown coverage after a play-action fake.

“It was pretty nasty out there,” Flynn said. “It was tough. I struggled getting a grip on the ball a little bit. It was one of those things that taking positives out of it, I felt like I made good decisions and went to the right place with the ball. The ball was pretty rough right there. There’s not much else that can be done. You can’t keep them dry when they come out there and it’s raining so hard. It is what it is. Hey, you have to take the positives out of it but obviously I wasn’t happy with how the ball was coming out.”


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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