The Green Bay Packers have started in the preseason, what I predicted they would do to start the regular season…Come out hot and make a push for home field advantage. Now we all know that is a long way down the road, and it is the NFL, ANYTHING can happen (i.e. Julian Edelman going down for New England). So I am not going to go overboard about a 2-0 preseason start, especially because the Cleveland Browns are also 2-0, no offense to Cleveland fans.
I do like what I have seen from the Packers so far, in limited action the offensive starters have been productive and have shown early signs of chemistry that can turn a good team, into a great one! Even on the defensive side of the ball I have seen improvement from last season, emergence of little known players will add much needed depth in the secondary as well as in the middle of that line-backing core, freeing Clay Matthews up to do what he does best: get to the passer. The Packers take on the Denver Broncos tonight, and while most will be tuning into the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, here is some things I will be looking for in the Packers third preseason game.
- QB- I expect this will be the most action Aaron Rodgers will see until week 1 vs Seattle. I would love to see Rodgers continue to build on the connection between him and TE Martellius Bennett, a big man who can block and make plays over the middle could benefit this offense tremendously, I want to see more of that. I am also interested to see how the battle between Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill for that third QB spot continues to play out. Hill has been a spark for the Packers in both of their previous games thus far, while Callahan has struggled at times with finding the mark.
- RB- Wether it is Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones or Devante Mays…the Packers have to find some semblance of a running game in this one. Rookie QB Taysom Hill has lead the Packers in rushing yards in both of the previous outings this preseason, and for a team that invested three of this years draft picks on running backs that simply will not cut it. If there was ever a team to test out your new toys and see what you actually have, the vaunted Denver defense is near the top of that list.
- Defensive Line- The Packers were a top 10 defense last season when it came to the running game, with additions of veteran DT Ricky Jean Francois and third rounder DT Montravius Adams to that defensive front, I am hopeful that: 1. They continue to make it tough for opponents to move the ball on the ground; 2. That pressure up front from the big guys allows for the secondary to make more plays in the passing game and improve on the 31st ranked pass defense last season.
- Secondary- As I just mentioned Green Bay was ranked 31st in pass defense last year…31st. It is hard enough to win in the NFL, but when you are one of the worst teams in a league that is predicated around passing the football, at stopping your opponent from passing , you are really stacking the odds against yourself. I have seen growth from the Packers’ DBs early on, and guys like undrafted FA Josh Hawkins and first round pick Kevin King have shown flashes. However guys like Demarious Randall and Ladarius Gunter , who were the starters for most of last season due to a plethora of injuries at the position, need to step up or continue to fall down the depth chart. Gunter who ended last year as the #1 is currently listed as the Packers 5th CB.
Mile High will play host in this one, and the regular season is just around the corner now. New seasons always come with such optimism for all 32 teams. I will be paying close attention to these key positions, as I feel they will be key to the Pack bringing the Lombardi back home this year.
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and as always, #GoPackGo.