Practice Game 1: Packers fall to Browns : Packers Insider

Practice Game 1: Packers fall to Browns

August 14, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By Peter Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette

~CLEVELAND – Nobody’s going to suggest the Green Bay Packers were in midseason form.

But after two weeks of training camp, their 2011 preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday night didn’t look any worse or more ragged than preseason openers of the past.

Backup QB Matt Flynn is sacked in Cleveland by the Browns defensive lineman Mitchell.

Facing one of the NFL’s struggling franchises in the Cleveland Browns, coach Mike McCarthy’s Packers came in with a big edge, and at times it showed.

His team, coming off a Super Bowl win, returns almost all its key players, is in its sixth season in McCarthy’s offensive system, and in its third season with Dom Capers as defensive coordinator. The Browns, on the other hand, won only four games last season and are adjusting to the new offensive and defensive schemes of new coach Pat Shurmur, who replaced the fired Eric Mangini in the offseason.

The Packers lost the game 27-17 at Cleveland Browns Stadium, and their starters didn’t dominate. Their No. 1 defense gave up one touchdown in two series against the Browns’ starters, but their offense looked good not just when Aaron Rodgers and the starters were on the field, but also with backup Matt Flynn at quarterback while taking a 17-14 lead into halftime.

“I thought the operation was excellent (on offense),” McCarthy said after the game. “I thought (Rodgers) performed very well in that second series. It was no-huddle, so he had command at the line of scrimmage with his (play) selection and so forth. I thought he was excellent.”

The Packers will have to wait at least another week to get a look at their offense with tight end Jermichael Finley back on the field. Finley, whose 2010 season ended because of a knee injury in Week 5, has a sore glute that sidelined him in practice starting Wednesday, and McCarthy wasn’t taking any chances with his playmaking tight end in a game that means nothing in the standings.

McCarthy also held two key defensive players from the game: starting cornerback Charles Woodson and No. 3 cornerback Sam Shields. Woodson was healthy and got the night off to keep him that way; Shields injured his hip in practice Thursday night.

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