With the season opener against Seattle inching closer and closer, the developmental part of training camp starts to wind down in Green Bay. It’s now time to see what these guys can do in a live game setting, and with their first road game on the horizon, some of them have a lot of work to do to prove that they can be NFL players.
So let’s take a look at five of those guys. There are a multitude of reasons that they need to show up big time in our nation’s capital, including taking advantage of other players injuries or just poor performance. So let’s take a look at these five guys who need big weeks.
OT Jason Spriggs
By all accounts, Spriggs has had a rough August. While he has bulked up a little bit and is still extremely athletic, he has lapsed in pass protection, which was supposed to be his strong suit. Beat badly a couple of times against Philadelphia and having a tough week in 1-on-1s these past few days, Spriggs needs to prove that he can be that valuable swing tackle this year. He is the next man up if anything happens to a starter and he can’t be a liability in that this year.
LB Kyler Fackrell
Much like Spriggs, Fackrell has bulked up since his rookie year, but he hasn’t flashed in camp yet. Consistently struggling in the 1-on-1 pass rush drill, some people are worried that Fackrell doesn’t have any variety in his pass rush. And while he does have superior length and bend compared to some other linebackers, he needs to have more to make lineman think rather than just run him out of the play on the outside. Fackrell is currently one of the top backup rushers and needs to solidify that spot with a big game.
WRs Max McCaffrey and Jeff Janis
Draft picks Malachi Dupre and DeAngelo Yancey are both expected to miss the game against Washington with injuries, which really opens up the wide receiver battle. Both showed good flashes last week but missing a week in their first preseason really puts them in a tough spot. And it give the camp darlings for the past few weeks (McCaffrey) and years (Janis) a chance to seize one of those spots. Janis was in line for a roster spot anyway due to his special teams play, but it isn’t set in stone and he needs to show something at receiver. Last week’s touchdown definitely helped. McCaffrey also has been good, catching almost everything thrown his way and developing chemistry with all four quarterbacks.
CB LaDarius Gunter
Finally, we get to last year’s top corner, LaDarius Gunter. We have all long-known about his limitations athletically, but he is a good press corner who can be physical with receivers at the line with the best of them. But after having inconsistent technique in camp and getting beat often, he’s been practicing more in the slot the past few days, leading him to probably get some snaps there this week. And that is something to keep an eye on. Will his lack of speed hurt him there, or will his physicality let him disrupt the quicker slot receivers, especially on a team like Washington who has guys like Jamison Crowder. We will see.——————
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.