Tonight is the all important third preseason game. The game in which the starters play the most. The dress rehearsal. Fortunately for displaced Packers fans like myself it’s also the only live broadcast on NFL Network this preseason. Tonight will be the first time in the 2016 preseason that Packers fans will get to see their quarterback play.
There isn’t much else to discuss on this fine Football Friday, because I don’t want to talk about PEDs or Al Jazeera or really anything that has to do with the NFL or the Commissioner’s office, so I’m going to offer some viewing tips for this evening’s game against San Francisco.
Appreciate the chance to watch Rodgers. It really is a beautiful thing and he won’t play again until the opener in Jacksonville. He’s hopefully healed from all of the maladies that caused him to be less efficient than in seasons past.
We as Packers fans are probably going to get two quarters of QB1 until he’s wrapped up in bubble wrap again until the opener. Will we get to see the magic from the 2014 season, if even for just a little bit?
Pay attention to the offensive line. I think we’ve got a battle here folks. Matt Rotheram was once considered for a roster spot, but was recently released by the Packers with an injury settlement. That doesn’t mean the competition is over.
Jason Spriggs, Corey Linsley and the five starters are absolute locks for the roster, though Linsley might start on the PUP. One way or another by mid season these guys are going to be on the roster.
How many other offensive linemen the Packers keep, and which ones they are is going to be something to watch. Don Barclay is making a strong push to make the club, showing five-position versatility. The Packers just signed Lane Taylor to a longer-term deal. Kyle Murphy is a high-upside player and a 2016 draftee. Those players almost never get cut. There’s no reason to rule out Josh Walker, either.
They won’t all make the team, but somebody’s going to.
Punting, punting, punting. Watch Mortell vs. Masthay and pay attention to when they’re allowed to punt during the game.
NFL teams will more often than not stick with a specialist unless the competition pretty soundly wins out. Mortell is going to need to clearly separate himself, but Masthay has been underperforming for at least two seasons.
Maybe the Green Bay Kid really has a shot, here.
Is Marquise Williams vs. Joe Callahan a competition? We’ve all been penciling Joe Callahan in to the #3 QB spot and right on to the practice squad. I’m starting to believe that there’s a chance there’s a real competition for that spot. Williams is definitely the superior athlete, so if Callahan doesn’t show more than he has so far, he might not have the upside that Williams does.
Watch the young defensive linemen, too. Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry have come under scrutiny recently from the local media as players that are not ready to replace BJ Raji (retired) and Mike Pennel (first 4 games). These two players need to progress because Josh Boyd is gone, and there really is no experienced depth left.
When Pennel returns, he’ll form a fine run stopping rotation with Clark, Guion and Daniels. Edge defenders Julius Peppers and Datone Jones can be used as interior defensive linemen as well. Until then Lowry and Clark need to be passable run defenders.
How much does Jake Ryan play, and do they let them play alongside Blake Martinez?