Not every team starts their quarterback right away in the preseason. Both the Green Bay Packers, beating the St. Louis Rams 21-7, and their opponents, held the debuts of Aaron Rodgers and Sam Bradford to the second game, and it seemed like it was the right decision.
Rodgers did have an injury last season that always made him and the Packers miss the playoffs, but there don’t seem to be any shoulder or collarbone problems for out choice for the best quarterback in the NFL. He looked sharp, completing 11-of-13 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, who once again should be his number one target if an injury doesn’t get in the way.
For Sam Bradford, it’s a bit more complicated and interesting. Bradford tore his ACL last season, although the Rams managed to avoid a humiliating season thanks to their excellent defense, which remains their strong point heading into the 2014 campaign. Bradford also didn’t play in the first preseason game for the Rams (which they also lost), but looked sharp and completely injury free as he completed 9-of-12 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, finding Lance Kendricks to give the Rams their only points of the game.
Once Rodgers left the field, the Rams started showing their ability to hit the quarterback. They sacked Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien three times combined, but couldn’t force a turnover out of one of them. Flynn, starting the season knowing he’s a backup as opposed to the previous two seasons, also threw one touchdown pass to Jeff Janis. The Rams have done a lot, mostly through the draft, to try and improve Bradford’s options when he has the ball, but this game still showed there is some way to go before Bradford, who has much better protection than before, feels like he has a lot to pick from.
One thing different about the Packers going into this season compared to the previous one? They know they have a running back they can rely on. Eddie Lacy had a very good rookie season, being a big part of making the playoffs. He ran for 25 yards on five carries and with the Packers being such a pass-heavy team, he’s bound to continue to get more open looks and lanes for him to drive throw, as he’ll try to show what he has learned since leaving Alabama and becoming an NFL player.
Tre Mason ran for 30 yards on 12 carries as the Rams continue to look for a running back that rounds out their offense. It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen a more or less complete Rams team, but despite the setbacks, the excellent job done there by Jeff Fisher and his crew puts on a team that looks like it’s going to put up a more respectable fight in the toughest division the NFL has to offer.