« News From the Pack

One for the birds

by Mark Daniels

The last time the Green Bay Packers got shut out in a Pre-Season game, a wicked thunder and lightning storm called off the contest with about six minutes left in the third quarter in what was a 9-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Canton, Ohio back in 2003.   They could have called the 2013 exhibition opener about then as well, even with beautiful weather, as the Packers endured a sluggish 17-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, spoiling the night for a Lambeau Field record crowd of 73,738.  The new south end zone upper deck has lifted the stadium's capacity to more than 80,000.   There wasn't a whole lot that went right as the Cardinals parlayed a pair of backup quarterback Graham Harrell turnovers into touchdowns.   The first came one snap after Harrell was intercepted by Patrick Peterson. New Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer hit Andre Roberts behind Davon House for a 38 yard touchdown with 4:10 left in the first quarter.   In the second, Harrell got sacked by John Abraham who blew around right tackle Marshall Newhouse, forcing a fumble recovered by Sam Acho near midfield. Eight plays later, Drew Stanton threw a one yard fade route to Jaron Brown who beat man coverage from rookie Micah Hyde to make it 14-0.  Jay Feely tacked on three more points in the 4th quarter with a 21 yard field goal after Will Baston missed a pair.   The Pack's only serious scoring threat came on their first series.   Aaron Rodgers hit James Jones with a pretty 50 yard go route up the left sideline but the starters stalled after having it first and goal from the six.  After James Starks gained four yards, Rodgers missed twice and on 4th and goal from the 2, they went for it.  Starks got bunched up at the one and was held short.   Mike McCarthy challenged the call when replays appeared to show Starks reached the ball to the goal line while still upright in the pile.   "Challenge" is McCarthy's catch phrase on the cellular telephone service he pitches on TV, but he lost his first of the year.  Harrell gave way to Vince Young who made his debut in the third quarter, completing only 1 of three passes.  He scrambled on back to back plays that got fans excited for a moment, but it was fleeting.   The Cards outgained the Pack 355-223.  Green Bay had seven first downs in the opening quarter, only six over the final three periods.  Defensively, the secondary gave up big plays all night.  Granted the group was without Tramon Williams and Casey Hawyard but Arizona quarterbacks found seven different receivers for gains of at least 17 yards. This unit has looked much sharper on the practice field than they did on the game field.  Searching for bright spots, rookie David Bakhtiari made his starting left tackle debut and played every offensive snap in the first half, even after the rest of the first team departed.   He held his own.   James Starks got first dibs at running back and put up 38 yards on 12 carries, digging hard even with few running lanes.   Free agent receiver Tyrone Walker led the team with five catches for 41 yards.   Punter Tim Masthay nearly wore his leg out, kicking 8 times on the night.   Johnny Jolly was pretty emotional playing in his first game in three years, against the team he last appeared in the NFL.   The only injury noted by McCarthy was a sprained ankle suffered by number one pick Datone Jones.  You gotta start somewhere and there's nowhere to go but up for the Packers as they'll take two days off to look at the film, make corrections and get back to the grind of camp before redemption can arrive next Saturday night in St. Louis against the Rams.   McCarthy's summary can be heard on the link below.

Audio: Mike McCarthy on Arizona game.