The Packers held on in the fourth quarter to defeat the Browns, 17-11, in their preseason opener on Friday night.
The Post-Crescent reports:
The Green Bay Packers spent first- and fourth-round draft picks on the defensive line this year, but coming out of their first preseason game they still have to be concerned about stopping the run early in the season.
Fourth-rounder Dean Lowry was a surprise starter Friday night against Cleveland and showed he has a ways to go to become an effective player in a real game. Kenny Clark, the Packers’ first-round pick, fared a little better but didn’t play as well as he had in training-camp practices.
There’s still time in camp for players, especially young ones, to improve, so nothing is settled after one preseason game. But it leaves open the possibility that the Packers either will have to find a run-plugging defensive lineman on waivers during training camp, or move a defensive lineman from a more natural position to the five-technique end until Mike Pennel returns from his four-game drug suspension to start the regular season.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers gave Lowry first look at Pennel’s position, and Lowry looked like a rookie. He has most of the tangibles you look for at the five-technique — good length (6-feet-5 ¾) and size (296 pounds) — but he got pushed around in the run game. He’s tall and showed a tendency to peek over blockers to see what was going on behind them. But in doing that, he lost leverage, and for NFL offensive linemen that made him easier to block.
As a pass rusher, Lowry didn’t show much besides a bull rush.
Clark, on the other hand, had one really nice play in the second quarter when on a third-and-23 he split a combination block by backup Browns linemen Austin Pasztor and Alvin Bailey and dropped running back Terrell Watson for a meaningless (four-yard) gain. That was impressive.
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