Thursday, August 16, 2012

Packers Preseason Preview: Browns at Packers

The Cleveland Browns are coming off a 4-12 season and looking for a lot of improvement throughout the roster, but their main focus will be the development of Brandon Weeden. They won't get any better until Weeden is ready to start, and he'll need quality reps during the preseason to make that happen. His first start against the Lions wasn't too encouraging.

For the Packers, maybe it's best if they focus on staying healthy. There's only a couple starting jobs on defense to be determined so long as WR Greg Jennings, TE Jermichael Finley, and RB James Starks are ready for the start of the regular season. Charles Woodson is moving to his new safety position, but I'm not worried about a veteran like him.

It's not a make-or-break game, but with CBs Davon House and Sam Shields out, this is a great time for rookie Casey Hayward to show what he can do. He'll still split time with Jarrett Bush, but the coaches know Bush well, and one preseason game is unlikely to change their minds. House looked pretty good against the Chargers last week, and while Hayward wasn't bad, he'll have to play better to move ahead of House. Right now, I still expect Bush will be the starting cornerback.

It probably doesn't matter who's named the starter at defensive end because the lineman are expected to rotate so frequently. Though he made little impact in 2011, it looks like C.J. Wilson is technically ahead of rookie Jerel Worthy, but Worthy seems to be the lineman of choice alongside B.J. Raji in their nickel package. Philip Merling was very active during their first preseason game against Chargers, and he looks like the next lineman on the depth chart.

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