Friday, August 23, 2013

Preseason Preview: Seahawks at Packers

The Green Bay Packers should play their starters throughout the first quarter and into the second before letting the backups take over. There could be a couple backups thrown in with the starters early on, just to see how they perform in that role. The defense seems in large part set, even among the backups, but the offense is loaded with question marks.

The good news is that this game is being televised nationally, on CBS at 7pm CST, but it will be replayed on NFL Network early Sunday morning if you miss it on CBS.

Quarterback. It could be a short night for QB Aaron Rodgers, who really doesn't need the reps, because the Packers may want to take a long look at their backups. Graham Harrell seems in firm command but it's unclear how much of a chance either Vince Young or B.J. Coleman has to unseat him. I don't expect the Packers to keep Young if he can't move ahead of Harrell because they can stash Coleman on the practice squad.

Right tackle. Don Barclay and Marshall Newhouse both had a chance with the first team offense last week. While Newhouse should be in the lead to start, his blown protection on a speed rush by DE John Abraham in their game against the Cardinals highlighted his weakness in pass protection. It doesn't seem like Barclay's done much to win the job, but maybe the fact that he hasn't had a major blunder is his advantage.

Wide receiver. If rookies Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey want to prove they're better than the undrafted tandem of Myles White and Tyrone Walker, now would be a good time. Unfortunately this might not be the time for Johnson, since he's still recovering from an injured knee. I don't know how Jeremy Ross stays on the roster when he keeps dropping the ball.

Tight end. This has become a battle because of all the injuries, neither Andrew Quarless or Ryan Taylor have played in a preseason game, and D.J. Williams has been outplayed by Brandon Bostick. Williams was supposed to be a good receiver coming out of college, but Bostick showed better hands against the Rams. I like Bostick as a big target who's listed height is 6-3 but seems taller. Jermichael Finley is the unquestioned starter, so there's no need to have him play a lot, and this could be a great opportunity to sort out who should back him up.

Running back. Eddie Lacy will play a prominent role this season, but there are a bunch of question marks after him. DuJuan Harris will see his first action of the preseason against the Seahawks, so this game might cement him as the other back to complement Lacy, while the remaining players battle for the final spot or two on the roster.

Defensive line. Johnny Jolly's been great over the first two preseason games, but he hasn't had a chance to play with the first team defense. The coaches might not need to seem him with the starters because I can't imagine he won't make the roster. It'd be nice to see Datone Jones get some work but his ankle injury might prevent it.

What to do with Mike Neal? The Packers have been serious about their efforts to try him at outside linebacker, but it hasn't worked. When Neal drops back in coverage, he looks like a lineman trying to drop back in coverage. Against the Rams, Neal dropped back into his zone and the receiver who caught the ball just ran around him. I'm not sure if the Packers will hope he improves during the season, move him back to defensive end, or just give up on him all together. However, it would seem like they should find some use for him; he was second on the team last season with 4.5 sacks.

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