Rookies Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter stand out in Packers' preseason opener

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers' depth and talent at cornerback was apparent in Thursday's preseason opener against the New England Patriots, and first-round pick Damarious Randall didn't even play.

When starters Casey Hayward and Sam Shields were finished for the night after three series, defensive coordinator Dom Capers turned to a pair of rookies -- second-round pick Quinten Rollins and undrafted rookie LaDarius Gunter.

They played more snaps (49 each) than anyone on defense other than safety Chris Banjo (51 of 63).

Rollins was credited with a team-high two pass breakups, but it sure seems like the official stat keepers cheated him out of one. He appeared to break up three balls intended for Josh Boyce -- a fade, a deep ball and a would-be 31-yard touchdown in the end zone he probably should have picked off.

He played almost exclusively on the outside. Early in training camp, he worked mostly as a slot cornerback, while Randall (out with a groin injury) played more outside.

"I really don't care, whatever I can do to help the team," Rollins said after the game. "I just need to put myself in a position whether I am inside or outside, to make a play on the ball."

Gunter, the only player with multiple interceptions of Aaron Rodgers in training camp, made the biggest play on defense when he picked off backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the third quarter.

The Packers sustained the biggest losses at cornerback this offseason, when starter Tramon Williams and top backup Davon House left in free agency, but based on Thursday's performances you wouldn't know it.

"I thought they did some really good things," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're getting our hands on a lot of balls. You can see it in practice. As a secondary, it's happening a lot more this year than in prior years. You can see it in the training camp practices, and I thought it definitely carried over."

The two rookie cornerbacks' workload stood out when going back through the game. Here are the defensive snap counts from the 22-11 win:

Total defensive plays (63)

Defensive line

Notes: With Letroy Guion (hamstring) and Mike Daniels (ankle) out, Pennel and Boyd started at the defensive ends with Raji at the nose. Pennell, normally a nose tackle, made three tackles, including one for a loss. … Jones, who has just five sacks in his first two NFL seasons combined, had a pair of sacks.


Notes: With Clay Matthews (knee) and Nick Perry (groin) out, Palmer and Barrington started inside with Peppers and Mulumba outside. Peppers had the shortest stint of any starter on either side of the ball. He was done after the first series. Elliott, just like he did last preseason, stood out with seven tackles and a shared sack with Mulumba. Bradford also had a sack on a blitz up the middle. Five of the seven sacks came from linebackers.

Defensive backs

Notes: ProFootballFocus.com charged Clinton-Dix with three missed tackles in his short stint. White was signed on Thursday because of a shortage at cornerback with Randall, Tay Glover-Wright (hamstring) and Demetri Goodson (calf) out. Sebetic left with an ankle injury.