Studs and duds from Packers' 26-7 loss to Texans in preseason opener


Studs and duds from Packers' 26-7 loss to Texans in preseason opener

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess celebrates a catch during the preseason game against the Houston Texans on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

WR Devin Funchess: The veteran receiver produced a terrific debut. He created separation within routes and displayed strong hands. On at least two of his game-high six catches, Funchess plucked the ball out of the air on throws away from his body. In the first half, he made a terrific sprawling catch over the middle on a misfire from Jordan Love. With a better throw, Funchess likely would have picked up another 5-10 yards after the catch. Three of his six catches created first downs. The majority of his damage was done on in-breaking routes to the middle of the field.

CB Kabion Ento: He led all cornerbacks in snaps played, and he didn’t give up a reception on two targets while creating the lone takeaway with an interception in the second quarter. On the pick, Ento broke off coverage from his man and was in the right position to undercut Davis Mills’ throw in the red zone.

WR Malik Taylor: Funchess was dominant as a pass-catcher, but Taylor was probably the better all-around receiver on Saturday night. He caught five passes, including three for first downs and one converting a third down, and he was terrific blocking in the run game and in front of screens. On one quick throw to Amari Rodgers, Taylor took away the defender and helped create a chunk gain. He was also the gunner for the first-team punt group. Taylor won on a quick slant to create a first down on the scoring drive.

S Henry Black: The second-year safety was all over the field. He made a sound, wrap-up tackle after giving up a catch for zero yards in the flat, and his two special teams tackles – on five punt or kick coverage snaps – led the team. His coverage on a deep ball into the end zone was just good enough.

LB Oren Burks: He was playing downhill and causing havoc throughout the first half. It was clear he was trusting his eyes and playing without hesitation, important development markers entering Year 4. On one drive, Burks got through a gap and helped make the stop on two different run plays. He also timed up the snap count on a blitz and sacked Davis Mills on a botched snap. His roughing the quarterback penalty was bogus. It was a well-timed and clean hit on a well-schemed blitz. Burks also had a solid tackle on a kickoff return.

S Vernon Scott: His highlight play was a diving pass breakup on a throw near the goal line. He showed terrific recognition to undercut the attempt and make a play on the ball. Scott also made one crunching tackle on Phillip Lindsay in run support. Later, he filled his gap and wrapped up Lindsay without issue after a short gain. The Texans targeted him seven times but only managed two completions.

TE Jace Sternberger: Twice, he caught short passes for short gains on boot-action plays, a staple of the Packers offense. His biggest play came on a go-route from the slot against Cover-2. His speed allowed Jordan Love to make the throw over the linebacker and in front of the safety for a 34-yard gain on third-and-long.