A week later and we are on the verge of a second preseason game for the Packers. This time it’s the Raiders who come to town to take on the Pack and they don’t mess around. While Cleveland was a great starting point for the young talent, Oakland has a lot to prove. They are a talented, dynamic team with serious contending potential, and they want to prove it early on with their starters against a team like Green Bay.
And like with the Cleveland game, winning, while nice, isn’t the be-all end-all here. Health and development are the trump cards. There are a lot of guys who the coaches needs to get a better look at and the fans want to see some more of what these young guys can do. So with that, let’s jump into this week’s edition of 3…2…1…
For those of you who didn’t read here last year, the 3…2…1… series is a countdown of things the team needs to do to win. I highlight 3 key matchups, 2 bold predictions, and 1 key stat. Since it’s the preseason, I’m tweaking it a little bit and if I like the tweaks, it might carry over into the regular season. So today we will have 3 key players to watch tonight instead of matchups, and 2 bold predictions staying, with 1 key stat. Let’s just get right into it now
3 KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Trevor Davis
Davis has a quiet week one. He had a couple of nice plays on slants but was overshadowed by guys like Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, and Geronimo Allison. With Jeff Janis out for 4-6 weeks, this is the time for Davis to really emerge as that other option in the pass game. He needs to flash more this week to continue to hold off guys like Allison for a roster spot. Getting some action returning kicks wouldn’t hurt either.
- Reggie Gilbert
Gilbert definitely flashed last week. He had a couple of great pressures, including one that forced Cody Kessler to channel his inner-Dan Orlovsky and run out of the back of the endzone. Gilbert was credited with a sack there and as a converted defensive end, he needs to continue making plays like that to have a shot. He also had an interception in the Family Night scrimmage. If he can continue jumping off the tape, he can be this year’s Jayrone Elliott.
- Robertson Daniel
With Janis out and Demetri Goodson suspended, Daniel has gotten some time with the top punting unit as a gunner and that could be his ticket to the 53-man roster. He has some solid coverage skills and good size for a corner at 6’1”, so excelling on special teams could make him indispensable. He needs to show that next gear Thursday night.
2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
- The Starting Raiders Defense Does Not Record a Sack.
This one may not be bold depending on how much the starters play, but if they play even around a quarter, this would be an amazing feat for the Packers offensive line. The Raiders pass rush is an ascendant group, with Khalil Mack already a superstar and Mario Edwards on his way up. Throw in Bruce Irvin and there is a dangerous group there. But the Packers offensive line, especially the first unit, had a good week last week keeping their quarterbacks clean and that will continue.
- John Crockett Scores Another Touchdown
After last week, a lot of the talk was that Brandon Burks was leap-frogging Crockett for the third running back spot. And while Burk had a good game, he got more opportunities than the second year man from North Dakota State. Crockett did show some good skills as a receiver with his touchdown pass. He ran a good route to the flat and adjusted well to a pass slightly behind him. Add in his special teams ability and vision, I think he gets yet another touchdown this week, this time on an off tackle run.
1 KEY STAT
- Time in the Pocket Per Pass
While the offensive line was solid last week, Joe Callahan and Marquise Williams did look to break the pocket pretty quickly. Whether that was due to first-game jitters of pressure if up to debate (I need to watch the game again to determine the main factor). But it’s common knowledge that Coach McCarthy likes his quarterbacks to stay in the pocket as long as possible when looking downfield to keep the whole field open. And so if the quarterbacks can have a lot of time in the pocket to cleanly look, it will be a major benefit for the offense as a whole.
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.