The Packer Report: Following the Trends

Who is trending upward and who is trending downward? We have the answers you need to know following the Packers' preseason drubbing of the Browns on Saturday night.

Packer Report follows the training camp trends, one day after Saturday's 17-0 preseason victory over Cleveland.

Trending upward

— Last year, running back Kregg Lumpkin made the roster as an undrafted rookie. This year, it could be Tyrell Sutton. Sutton was superb — coach Mike McCarthy called him "instinctive" — with 16 carries for 91 yards. He showed power and nifty feet, and even picked up a blitz. The only thing standing in Sutton's way is the depth at running back. Lumpkin picked up steam in the fourth quarter, Brandon Jackson was productive and DeShawn Wynn stuffed a Browns blitzer during the Packers' second touchdown drive.

— If they're not already, at some point, the coaches are going to have to decide if Desmond Bishop has earned a chance to win a starting job. McCarthy headed my question off at the pass by saying he needed to see the film before giving Bishop an honest assessment. Here's what we saw: Bishop intercepted one pass, had a sack by basically ignoring the blocker in front of him, and one of his team-high four quarterback hits led to Tramon Williams' interception.

— Assuming rookie Quinn Johnson is safely on the roster based on potential, it's Korey Hall vs. John Kuhn for the other spot at fullback. Hall took a big step forward. On Ryan Grant's short touchdown run in the first quarter, it was Hall who made the final block. He also added a nifty catch in the second quarter.

— Even with cornerback Pat Lee out with back spasms, the Packers have enviable depth in the secondary. Tramon Williams had an interception. Will Blackmon had a strip on a blitz. Jarrett Bush thwarted the Browns' first drive by breaking up a pass. Safety Anthony Smith made up for a personal foul with an end zone interception and added a sack. Other than Mike Furrey on the first drive, the Browns' receivers were not a factor. Cleveland converted only 3-of-11 third downs, a credit to the secondary.

— Write it down: Jermichael Finley is going to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season. A bootleg to Finley netted 12 yards on the second drive. When they tried to run it again in the second quarter, the defender grabbed a mittful of Finley's jersey to keep him from getting into the flat. Somehow, the referee turned a blind eye. Everyone knows Finley's talented, but his improved work ethic has made him a staple on special teams. If Finley wants to be a star, a star he shall be.

— The starting offensive line was tremendous, giving Aaron Rodgers plenty of time to pick and choose his receivers. You'll recall the long touchdown to Donald Driver, but Rodgers had all day before finding Donald Lee for 19 yards to set up the second touchdown. Right tackle Allen Barbre, run over for most of training camp by Aaron Kampman, had a good night.

Mason Crosby's ability to kick a 60-yard field goal is a huge asset, especially late in a three-point game. More importantly, though, he booted two kickoffs deep into the end zone. The Browns' average starting position after four kickoffs was the 23-yard line.

Trending sideways

— The No. 2 offensive line picked up penalties by the barrel, but it's hard to ignore that the team rushed for 230 yards. The blockers deserve some of the credit. Undrafted Evan Dietrich-Smith looks like a keeper.

Matt Flynn's stats look sharp — 5-of-6 passing for 50 yards — and his toughness was evident when he got absolutely pasted but completed an 11-yard pass to James Jones. But facts are facts: The Packers didn't score on his two possessions.

— At least it wasn't a touchback, but Durant Brooks' punt from midfield was an indifferent effort. It was fielded at the 11 and returned for 3 yards. Not bad but nothing exceptional.

Trending downward

— The 69,000-plus at Lambeau Field were revved up after some rousing Pop Warner football action at halftime. And then Brian Brohm trotted into the huddle after the second-half kickoff. Pfffff. Brohm's passer rating was 0.0, with three completions and two interceptions in his 10 attempts. The 0.0 doesn't even tell the story. While Aaron Rodgers' rating was 119.6 and Matt Flynn's was 101.4, Brohm's horrendous play sent the team rating to 51.8. Sure, the first interception was a byproduct of bad pass protection, but more often than not, Brohm was inaccurate and indecisive.

— To the surprise of no one, Tony Moll is not capable of playing left tackle. That he's filling in to keep Chad Clifton fresh and Daryn Colledge from having to move from left guard is a measure of Moll's unselfishness. But he's just not a gifted enough athlete at what is essentially a skill position. On Brohm's first interception, Moll was flagged for holding but let Brohm's pass get tipped, anyway.

— The Packers ran three screen passes. On the first, Ryan Grant was engulfed and smashed to the turf by a defensive lineman. On the second, Matt Flynn had to scramble because the Browns saw the screen coming. On the third, Duke Preston was called for holding when the Browns diagnosed the play again. The Packers practice the screen every practice. It needs a lot more work.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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