Good, bad and ugly from Packers’ preseason defeat to Jets

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A 23-14 loss to the New York Jets during Week 2 of the preseason provided several ups and downs for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers sat 32 veteran players on Saturday afternoon at Lambeau Field, so it’s hard to draw any meaningful conclusions from the result. That said, there were still a few key takeaways from the contest.

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from preseason Week 2:

The Good

(AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Kurt Benkert against Jets' starters: The Packers' third-string quarterback got the start with backup Jordan Love still recovering from a shoulder strain he suffered last week against the Texans. Benkert produced a promising showing in the first half against the Jets' first- and second-stringers when it really mattered, throwing for 103 yards and a touchdown. He completed 12-of-16 attempts with a 112.2 passer rating. It's noteworthy that two of the four incompletions were drops by Jace Sternberger and Malik Taylor. Benkert isn't making it any easier for the coaching staff to decide whether to keep three quarterbacks on the final roster. Royce Newman at right guard: The rookie got the start along the interior of the offensive line after taking several first teams reps this week. Newman didn't allow a pressure in pass protection and played a big role in the running game. His best block came on an 11-yard run by A.J. Dillon with 8:30 remaining in the first quarter, where he sealed off the inside shoulder of a Jets defender and created a massive hole to run through. It's a strong possibility Newman could be the starter at right guard in Week 1 against the Saints. – Malik Taylor as the No. 1 WR: He was Green Bay's de facto No. 1 receiver with several veterans resting, which provided a great opportunity to show why he deserves a roster spot. He had an early drop, but quickly rebounded to the tune of four catches for 66 yards (team-high). All four went for a first down on third down. His best play came on a beautiful back-shoulder throw and catch which put the offense in the red zone and helped set up the Packers' second score of the game. – The running game: The Packers rushing attack was much better compared to last week, especially in the first quarter against the Jets' starters. AJ Dillon finished with 28 yards on four carries (7.0 average), Kylin Hill had 29 yards on seven carries (4.1 average) and Patrick Taylor had 48 yards on eight carries (6.0 average). This is more of a testament to the run blocking by the offensive line, though Dillon looked impressive on yards after contact. – TJ Slaton as a situational pass-rusher: Who would have thought the 6-foot-4, 330-pound rookie had the ability to affect the passing game? Slaton had an impressive sack with 12:30 remaining in the third quarter, which helped stall the Jets' opening drive of the second half. While lined up along the inside shoulder of the Jets' right tackle, Slaton burst through the line on an impressive swim move for his first (unofficial) career sack.

The Bad

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Lucas Patrick: The veteran lineman is quickly falling out of favor with the coaching staff as evidenced by Jon Runyan and Newman getting the starts at left and right guard, respectively. Given Patrick's performance against the Texans last week, it was warranted. Patrick had another rough outing against the Jets, racking up two holding penalties in the process. – Jace Sternberger: The former third-round pick is running out of time to make an impression in a crowded tight end room. Although he caught a touchdown, he had a bad drop and was poor at blocking in the running game. – The defensive secondary against Jets' starting offense: Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson posted a near-perfect 152.1 passer rating while throwing for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-11 passing. Receiver Corey Davis was seemingly un-guardable, producing four catches for 70 yards in the first quarter. He burned rookie first-rounder Eric Stokes on a 24-yard completion on the game's opening drive. Tight end Tyler Kroft scored both of the Jets' touchdowns, one of which came on a missed tackle by cornerback Kabion Ento along the sideline en route to the end zone.

The Ugly

New York Jets' Corey Ballentine returns a kick during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

– JK Scott: He had another rollercoaster performance, highlighted by a 21-yard punt out of bounds. Scott finished with a 40.8-yard average on four punts. It's entirely possible the Packers' starting punter isn't on the roster at the moment. – Kick coverage: The Packers' special teams unit is becoming a weekly joke to start the preseason. The kickoff coverage unit allowed a 73-yard return before halftime and allowed a 46.0 average on four kick returns.

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