Green Bay Packers grade card: Position evaluation vs. Arizona Cardinals

Eric Baranczyk and Pete Dougherty
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is tackled by Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker during  the second quarter of their football game on Sunday, December 2, 2018, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.
Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Here's a position-by-position analysis of how the Green Bay Packers graded out during their 20-17 loss Sunday to the Arizona Cardinals.

Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers’ accuracy and ball-placement issues continued. Just one example: Rodgers threw low and behind Jamaal Williams on a screen pass, and by the time Williams caught the ball and squared up, defensive players were already coming off their blocks, which held what could have been a 20-yard touchdown to a five-yard gain. But Rodgers’ receivers didn’t help him with some poor route running and at least four drops. Grade: C-

Offensive line: Right guard has been a problem all season, with starter Byron Bell struggling in protection and being in and out of the lineup with injuries. Replacement Justin McCray had a lot of issues with run fits in his 63 snaps Sunday. At least backup right tackle Jason Spriggs didn’t have to face Chandler Jones, or it could have been a lot worse. Left tackle and David Bakhtiari and center Corey Linsley continue to play well. Grade: C

Running backs: Aaron Jones (11 rushes for 36 yards, four catches for 16 yards) runs with good vision, there’s no disputing that. He’s a good player though a notch below New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara. Grade: C

Receivers: They’d been catching the ball well recently, but Marquez Valdes-Scanting, Equanimeous St. Brown, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb each had a drop. Adams (eight catches for 93 yards) also had a clutch, toe-tap catch for a 13-yard touchdown on a fourth down in the second quarter, and a great toe-tap along the sidelines to set up the game-tying score in the fourth quarter. Grade: B-

Tight ends: Playing with a broken thumb, Jimmy Graham had a quiet day (50 yards) for a guy who made eight catches. Lance Kendricks didn’t have a target. Grade: C+

Defensive line: The Packers clearly miss the injured Mike Daniels. Facing a rookie quarterback, they had to shut down David Johnson and Chase Edmunds (25 for 112 yards combined) but couldn’t. Dean Lowry had a sack, and Kenny Clark got a little pressure up the middle. Grade: C+

Inside linebackers: Blake Martinez (10 tackles) got stuck on too many blocks and has to take his share of the responsibility for not shutting down the run. Hard-hitting Antonio Morrison missed a big open-field tackle on Edmunds that turned a five-yard loss into an eight-yard gain on the Cardinals’ first touchdown drive. Grade: C-

Outside linebackers: Aside from a couple pressures from Clay Matthews, this group (Matthews, Kyler Fackrell and Reggie Gilbert) created few problems for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. Grade: C

Cornerbacks: Jaire Alexander got beat by Christian Kirk’s double move for a 37-yard gain that set up a field goal. None from among Alexander, Josh Jackson and Tramon Williams intercepted the rookie Rosen. Grade: C

Safeties: Eddie Pleasant, signed off the street just last week, had a huge drop on an easy interception and a few plays later gave up a 32-yard completion on Arizona’s game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Josh Jones had a sack early but then disappeared. Grade: C

Special teams: The winds might have been tricky, but Mason Crosby still has to hit that 49-yarder that would have tied the game on the final play. Jones also had a chance to down a punt inside the 5 but didn’t have the awareness to track the ball. Grade: D+



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