4 Downs: Packers' Randall rusty in return
Every week I’ll share four observations the day after the Packers' game. Here they are after the Packers’ 27-13 win over Philadelphia on Monday night.
First down: Cornerback Damarious Randall had a spotty performance in his return after having not played in a game for five weeks because of groin surgery. Randall missed a couple of tackles, most notably fanning on quarterback Carson Wentz on an open-field scramble on a third down in the second quarter. Randall had a shot at Wentz short of the first down, but Wentz juked him and picked up 17 yards that kept alive a drive that ended with a field goal. Randall, however, at times looked quicker breaking on the ball in coverage than the other Packers’ cornerbacks, especially on his one pass breakup in the game, on a third down in the fourth quarter.
Second down: We saw something Monday night we might not see again: Aaron Rodgers running a triple option. On a third-and-1 on the Packers’ second possession, Rodgers had Ty Montgomery, Randall Cobb and Jared Cook lined up with him in the backfield. He ran a read option with Montgomery up the middle and chose to keep the ball and run outside. Once outside he had Cobb as a potential pitch option, but Rodgers turned up field and picked up four yards for the first down. Considering Rodgers injured his hamstring in the third quarter, it wouldn’t be a surprise if coach Mike McCarthy shelves that play for the rest of the season.
Third down: Receiver Davante Adams had one of the best games of his career but made a clock-management mistake in the fourth quarter that could have been costly. On a third-and-18 with 3:03 left, Adams caught a short pass, picked up eight yards but then went out of bounds, which stopped the clock. The Packers led by 11 points at the time and lost the chance to either force Philadelphia burn its final timeout or run another valuable 40 seconds off the game clock. It ended up not hurting the Packers – after a penalty on Philadelphia in punt formation, the Packers went for it and converted on fourth down – but you can bet it will come up in the postgame film review.
Fourth down: Looks like running back Christine Michael is going to have a minor role early in his Packers career. McCarthy left him inactive in his first game with the team last week, then Monday had him active but played him only two snaps. With Eddie Lacy out for the season and Michael the only halfback on the roster other than James Starks, it appeared Michael might have a fairly significant role early on. But fullback Aaron Ripkowski and Montgomery are handling the majority of snaps when Starks isn’t in the game. Starks played 54 snaps (74 percent) Monday night. Ripkowski played 25 (35 percent).