Packers post-game notes

Running game struggles again

The Green Bay Packers were hoping to improve their running game Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans. Last Friday, the Packers struggled to run the ball against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but Green Bay didn't do any better against the Titans, who finished 5-11 last season and had a soft run defense.

The Packers averaged just 2.6 yards per rush against Tennessee in Green Bay's 21-17 preseason victory at the Coliseum. The Titans, behind running back Chris Brown, averaged 4.1 yards per rush. Last week the Packers were held to 3.3 yards per carry by the Patriots.

Green Bay played without Ahman Green, who traveled with the the Packers to Nashville, but did not suit up. Green missed the previous three days of practice while dealing with legal issues.

Without Green, the Packers were without traction. Wide receiver Andrae Thurman turned in the biggest run of the night with a 19-yard gain on an end around. Najeh Davenport led the Packers' running backs with 15 yards on seven carries (2.1-yard avg.). Walt Williams, who was on the bubble heading into the game, finished with just 14 yards on nine carries (1.6-yard avg.). For the game, the Packers had 65 yards on 25 carries to Tennessee's 130 yards on 32 carries. The Packers were held to 25 yards rushing in the first half when most of the starters were in the game. That's less than half of the rushing yards that they had in the first half of their preseason game against New England.

Last year, the Packers had one of the league's top rushing attacks. Green Bay averaged 4.3 yards per rush and were ranked 10th in the leagune.

On guard
It appears that Adrian Klemm and Will Whitticker will begin the season Sept. 11 as the Packers' starting guards. Klemm started again at left guard while Whitticker manned the right side. Klemm was replaced by Scott Wells later in the game, and Whitticker gave way to Grey Ruegamer.

Whitticker committed two penalties in the first half against Tennessee.

Special teams struggle
The Packers have struggled this season covering kickoffs. It was no different against the Titans.

Tennessee, behind return man Courtney Roby slashed through Green Bay's kickoff coverage teams for 85 yards on three returns (28.3 avg.), including a 35-yard return by Roby.

"Our coverage unit on kickoff cover has to improve dramatically," Packers coach Mike Sherman said after the game. "We were going against one of the best units in football against Detroit. If we continue not making the plays with that unit, we're going to give them great field position.

"I wasn't pleased with our kickoff cover (unit). We didn't have many opportunities with kickoff return. We had penalties that hurt us on special teams and that have plagued us throughout the preseason. I wouldn't say I am very pleased with special teams at this present time. We've got a long way to go there. After the San Diego game I thought we were ahead, but the minute you think you're ahead, you're behind."

Did not play
The following Packers did not play in Thursday's game:

DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (neck), RB Ahman Green (legal), LB Na'il Diggs (knee), WR Antonio Chatman (neck); S Todd Franz (shoulder); WR Terrence Murphy (knee), FB Vonta Leach (knee), and TE David Martin (groin).

Quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan suited up, but did not play.

Starting assignments
R-Kal Truluck starts at DE in place of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.

Cletidus Hunt will start at DT.

Paris Lenon starts at SAM linebacker in place of Na'il Diggs.

Najeh Davenport starts at RB.

Ahmad Carroll starts at LCB.

Adrian Klemm starts at LG.


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