Green Bay managed just one scoring drive on its way to a 26-7 loss to Houston in the preseason opener for both teams Saturday night at Lambeau Field.
Offense: WR Devin Funchess
While most of Green Bay’s veteran wide receivers didn’t dress for the game, Funchess played deep into the third quarter and was impressive. He had a team-best seven catches for 70 yards, including a highlight-reel one-handed grab on the Packers lone touchdown drive of the game.
Funchess is in a fight for a roster spot, with seemingly the top five wide receivers – Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers — already assured of one. If the Packers keep six, it’ll likely come down to Funchess, Malik Taylor, Equanimeous St. Brown and Juwann Winfree. Because of his lack of special teams experience, Funchess must be that much better offensively than the others to deserve a spot.
One thing going for him — Aaron Rodgers likes him. In this new era, where the quarterback’s voice apparently carries a little more weight than in the past, that could be a very good thing for Funchess.
Defense: ILB Oren Burks
It’s a huge preseason for the former third-round pick. He’s been a key special teams’ player to this point in his career, but he hasn’t made much of an impact on defense. Saturday night was a step in the right direction for the inside linebacker.
He played just the first half but finished with seven tackles. That included a perfectly timed blitz for a sack, along with another tackle for loss. New defensive coordinator Joe Barry used Burks several times on blitzes, and he was able to create pressure. He did have a boneheaded roughing the passer penalty, but overall, it was a very solid start for Burks.
— Thirty players on the Packers 90-man roster did not dress. That included all the team’s stars – Rodgers, running back Aaron Jones, Adams, tackle David Bakhtiari, nose tackle Kenny Clark, linebacker Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander.
— Playing in his first game since the Senior Bowl in January 2020, quarterback Jordan Love made his Packers debut. The former first-round pick played the entire first half, going 12-for-17 for 122 yards and one touchdown. He also lost a fumble when left tackle Yosh Nijman got beat around the edge.
Love’s best effort of the night came on the touchdown drive when he went 6-for-6 for 89 yards and dropped off a screen to running back Kylin Hill for a 22-yard score.
The Utah State product was expected to play into the third quarter but coach Matt LaFleur said Love got “dinged” up on the strip-sack and was unable to continue. Love told reporters that he injured his shoulder and it felt “strain-ish” but that they would know more Sunday. He said he wasn’t in pain and was feeling fine.
— Former Wisconsin offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen made his NFL debut in the third quarter playing at right tackle
Inside the Numbers
49 – That’s how many yards rushing the Packers had, 32 of which came on the final offensive drive of the game. Before that, they had 17 yards on 17 carries.
3 – That’s how many turnovers the Packers had. It included two fumbles (Love, Kurt Benkert) and one interception (Benkert).
35 — That’s how many yards Jace Sternberger had receiving. That effort included a third-down grab for 34 yards down the middle from Love that jump-started the touchdown drive.