Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What to watch in the Green Bay Packers first 2014 Preseason Game

There are so many questions heading into a new season. The Green Bay Packers roster currently is at 90 players, and mostly they will be looking at the players on the lower half of the roster in the first preseason game.

On offense there are three major positions to be watching. At wide receiver, Nelson and Cobb are clearly entrenched as the number 1 and 2 receivers. The first big question is at number three. Recent reports have said that Green Bay Packers second round pick Davante Adams was dealing with a hamstring injury during the OTA's. Adams was dealing with drops during OTA's, but had an impressive catch from Matt Flynn during family night and continues to push for playing time over the incumbent third receiver Jarrett Boykin. Adams continues to look impressive and it is one of those things where it is a matter of sooner or later he will overtake Boykin, but Boykin has the experience edge and the already existing chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. With the injury to Jared Abbrederis, the later wide receiver spots are something to keep an eye on as well. Kevin Dorsey has had an impressive training camp according to reports and Jeff Janis is back practicing this week after his battle with shingles. Janis has the impressive measurables, and it will be good to finally get an eye on him to see how he performs with the offense.

Tight end is a mystery due to the absence of last year's starter Jermichael Finley. Andrew Quarless played decently well in backup duties last year, but reports are  strong on the emergence of rookie tight end Richard Rodgers and Brandon Bostick. Bostick is a highly athletic tight end who is having impressive catches so far in training camp. Rodgers is the player the Packers drafted in the third round with their compensatory pick for losing Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings. The main thing is that it appears that the competition is wide open between these three, and Colt Lyerla will miss weeks due to a knee injury.

The other offensive spot to watch is going to be with the offensive line. Second year player JC Tretter will have his first NFL game action at Center in the game against the Titans. Tretter isn't guaranteed the job though, as Center Corey Linsley from Ohio State is fighting for an opportunity to start at Center as well. It will be good to see both men get on the field, call out the blocking assignments, and push some people around. Plus, a major backup was hurt yesterday in Don Barclay, who tore his ACL and will be out for the season. This means that former first round pick, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, will need to step up and be the swing tackle that the Packers need as injuries are all too common.

Defensively, the main question mark for the Packers is still at secondary, where Morgan Burnett, who was the top player at safety coming into the season, has an oblique injury, after having a different injury the previous week. In practice the first team has been played with Micah Hyde and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety. Hyde just converted to the position after playing mostly cornerback last year, and Clinton-Dix was the first round pick for the Packers this year. Don't forget about Sean Richardson though, as he has been excellent and is having a strong training camp as well.

When it comes to special teams, it will be interesting to see exactly who gets reps in the game as the Packers have been using multiple returners for both punt and kick returns in practice, and it is a competition that will likely go into the opener. But one thing the Packers haven't been doing is using Randall Cobb on those returns. After his injury last year and how important he is to the offense as the slot receiver, it would be foolish for them to put him back there and risk another injury.

Packers football is one of the best things about the Fall, and it will be great to watch these players and many others as they take on the Tennessee Titans on Saturday August 9.

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