FOX 25/48 Football Insider
By Marty Hendricks
Aug. 10, 2012
It was probably a long plane ride home for the Green Bay Packers last night.
The team arrived in Green Bay in the wee hours of the morning after a sloppy 21-13 loss to Chargers in San Diego Thursday night.
Yes, it is the preseason. But even that is no excuse for three first-half turnovers, penalties, dropped passes, and blown assignments in a lackluster season-opening performance at Qualcomm Stadium.
One missed block allowed the National Football League's reining MVP to be blindsided and throw an interception early in the game.
To add insult to injury, quarterback Aaron Rodgers then took a second hit on the return before retiring for the night after three non-productive series with the Green Bay first-team offense. Rodger completed just two of three passes for 16 yards and had to throw several out of bounds under pressure.
Head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff will have plenty to address and focus on in the coming days of practice before Green Bay faces the Cleveland Browns in Lambeau Field on Thursday.
"Stuff happens," Rodgers said in a post-game interview. "We didn't play as well as we want to, but it's preseason. We're missing some guys. We screwed some plays up and turned the ball over. It happens."
Sixteen players, including Charles Woodson and Jermichael Finley, were held out of the game as the Packers coaching staff evaluated new players. While backup quarterback Graham Harrell and linebacker Nick Perry had solid performances, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Harrell led the Packers to two scores and completed 15 of 27 passes for135 yards and one touchdown. He did not throw an interception and had several passes dropped by his receivers.
"Obviously, the way we handled the football to start the game was not particularly happy about that," McCarthy said. "On the flipside, I though our defense did an excellent job of taking the ball away.
"We spend extra time handling the football, and I think when you emphasize fundamentals in practice, it needs to show in the games—and that was not the case."
The biggest concern for Green Bay was the injury to starting inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, who injured his hamstring in the first quarter and was carted from the field. The extent of the injury and how much time Bishop may miss has not been disclosed publicly by the Packers' medical staff.
Exhibition performances like this one are quickly forgotten with improvement in practice and a solid performance in the second exhibition contest.
Bring on the Browns. Thursday can't come soon enough.