Point 1: Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense are going to be very
tough to stop this season.
If you missed the Packers' first-half spanking of the defending NFC Champions
at Arizona, you missed an impressive showing by quarterback Aaron Rodgers &
Company. With the team's 44-37 win over the Arizona CardinalsArizona Cardinals, the Packers are
3-0 heading into the final week of the NFL preseason.
The fifth-year veteran quarterback, who is beginning only his second season
as a full-time starter, confounded and frustrated the Cardinals defense during
the first 30 minutes of game time. In addition to completing 14 of 19 pass
attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns, Rodgers added insult to injury with
a 34-yard scamper during a rare occasion when his pocket began to collapse
around him. And the Packers offense showed just how formidable they can be on a
play when Rodgers avoided a potential sack by Chike Okeafor, who even had the
benefit of jumping offsides, and then completed a terrific in-stride long ball
to Donald Driver--who pulled in the catch despite pass interference by Antrel
Rodgers also threaded a pass into double-coverage on a short throw, showed
great patience on a 2nd-and-goal at the Cardinals' 3-yard line--looking right,
left, and then right again before delivering a strike to Jermichael Finley for a
score. And his play-action work was smooth and deceptive, which helped him
connect on a long pass up the middle that resulted in a 76-yard touchdown pass
to Jordy Nelson.
Quite simply, the Packers were unstoppable in the first half while the
starters were on the field. They scored on five out of six possessions, and
their only missed opportunity was due to missing a 29-yard field goal after
stalling at the Cardinals' 11-yard line. Green Bay held a commanding 38-10 lead
by halftime, despite a mere 27 seconds difference in time of possession between
the two clubs.
While Rodgers was the star of the show, the offense as a whole rolled for 357
yards, the defense forced three turnovers, and the team drew just two penalties
during the first half.
Green Bay is obviously poised for a strong start. It's a shame they have to
interrupt their momentum with a fourth preseason game that the starters will
mostly watch from the sidelines. They were really fun to watch.
Point 2: If he can stay healthy, Chris "Beanie" Wells could be the most
exciting Cardinals rookie running back to watch since Ottis Anderson.
Beanie Wells showed veteran-level rushing skills against the Packers.
AP Photo/Ross Franklin
In the history of the Cardinals franchise, only two rookies have rushed for
1,000 yards in their debut NFL season.
Back in 1979, Ottis Anderson not only set a rookie record, but a
single-season club record when he ran for 1,605 yards. And in 1993, Ronald Moore
rushed for 1,018 yards. But if former Ohio State running back Beanie Wells can
consistently show the skill he flashed against the Packers defense on Friday
night--and stay healthy for a full 16 regular-season games--he should become the
third Cardinals rookie to eclipse the 1,000-yard threshold.
Although Wells got off to a shaky start with the Cardinals, sustaining an
injury on his first play in training camp, he showed a veteran-level sense of
field vision and great reaction to what he was seeing as plays developed. Wells
was patient as his blockers engaged attacking defenders, and then showed a
well-timed burst and smooth cutting ability that is going to give NFL defenses a
During the first half, he ran the ball just four times, but rolled up 38
yards, which included a 20-yard touchdown run. By the time he left the game, he
had averaged 6.6 yards per carry for a total of 46 yards and had scored twice on
just seven carries.
Point 3: Although Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell showed signs
of life against the Patriots, he still has plenty to prove.
During a 27-24 loss against the Patriots on Friday night, quarterback Jason
Campbell completed 13 of 22 throws (59.1 percent) for 209 yards. But Redskins
fans know better than to get too excited by those statistics, since Campbell has
completed just 48.6 percent of his throws over the course of his first three
outings and has yet to throw a touchdown pass in the preseason.
Jason Campbell celebrates after running for a 4-yard touchdown.
AP Photo/Pablo Monsivais
To his credit, Campbell was throwing the ball with authority when he spotted
an open man. He looked confident on Friday night and zipped the ball to
receivers, particularly on a couple of sideline throws and on a few underneath
patterns. And he used some nice scrambling ability out of the pocket to rush for
a score on a 3rd-and-goal at the New England 4-yard line.
But on a couple of throws, he put his wide receivers in jeopardy, forcing
them to make awkward catches that exposed them to big hits. And the Redskins
don't have enough talent depth at that position to have the luxury of losing any
of their top players to injury.
Campbell's showing was encouraging, but it's too early to tell whether he's
getting on track or if it was yet another single-game spike in his inconsistent
Quick Count: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was back in a groove
with wide receiver Randy Moss against the Patriots. With better pass protection
overall than he enjoyed against the Bengals, Brady looked sharp, threading the
ball into tight coverage and hitting receivers in stride, completing 63 percent
of his throws for 150 yards and two touchdowns. After being dropped to the turf
hard by Albert Haynesworth late in the second quarter, Brady didn't return to
the game and appears to have a minor injury to his throwing shoulder that was
downplayed by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as typical "bumps and
bruises" ... Randy Moss pulled in both of Brady's touchdown throws,
catching six passes on the night for 90 yards ... Third-year defensive tackle
Steve Williams logged a pair of sacks against the Redskins while trying to earn
a roster spot in New England ... The Redskins defense only allowed the Patriots
to convert 27 percent of their third-down opportunities (3-11) ... Washington
was flagged for 15 penalties for 113 yards, didn't record a single sack, but
also didn't give up any turnovers ... Redskins tight end Chris Cooley rumbled 73
yards, including roughly 40 yards after the catch on one of this two receptions.
Follow Ed Thompson on Twitter
Click here for more coverage of your favorite NFL team.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.