What typically is considered the Dress Rehearsal for the regular season, the 3rd preseason game should offer the longest look at the starters prior to week 1 (Sept 10th v Seattle). In the first two preseason games, the Packers have shown their depth as their 3rd and 4th stringers have been playing well versus Philly’s and Washington’s 1st and 2nd string units. In Landover, all of the quarterbacks seemed sharp – especially Rodgers and Hundley, the ones you’d expect. Taysom Hill was able to move the ball down the field and ultimately get the game-winning TD, but he’s quite raw and needs a ton of more snaps before he’s ready.
Keeping with the QB theme, this should be a good test for Hundley as Denver boasted the 4th overall defense last season. Should Hundley play well, as he has this entire preseason, look for him to cement himself as a legitimate NFL backup QB with the potential for the Packers to trade next offseason (keep in mind Thompson traded UP to select Hundley in the 5th round of the 2015 draft), meaning there could be tremendous return if flipped for a 3rd or possibly 2nd round draft pick.
Other players, positions to watch is the highly competitive Wide Receiver…position… With the play and production of Jeff Janis so far this preseason, hopefully he’ll get a shot v Den’s 1st unit to see how effective he truly can be. Talent and ability has never been an issue with Janis, however understanding the playbook and (one of my favorite phrases) knowing how to get open, has. If Hundley continues to show he’s healthy and productive that may lend a roster spot to the WR corps – the Packers may only keep 2 QBs on the roster, unlike last year where they kept 3. Even with keeping 3 QBs last year Green Bay held on to 7 WRs, which is where I think it’s trending currently. It’s a deep position and if there’s no trade value worthy of actually pulling the trigger to make a trade, look for this to be the most-competitive position for the remaining 8 days (roster cuts need to be made by Sept 2). My prediction for the group (as of Aug 25) is:
- Jordy Nelson
- Davante Adams
- Randall Cobb (I’d cut or trade him, likely won’t happen)
- Geronimo Allison
- Trevor Davis
- Jeff Janis
- Max McCaffrey
The rookie wideouts (Dupre and Yancey) also seem to possess quite a bit of talent, hence why I’d be OK with moving on from Cobb ($12.6M this year).
Other groups to watch may be the punter Justin Vogel and Brett Goode (long-snapper). Goode has been with the team for quite some time, but was just recently brought back to the team last week…it’s not a vital position until it is.
The defense, especially the D-line, needs to continue to show progress and speed. Keep in mind neither team is scheming against one another, but fundamentals don’t scheme those are always in play. Dean Lowry sure gave us a scare last week and he’s showing to be a true difference-maker for this defense. Hopefully he can turn into an Aaron Kampman-type which would give this defense a much-needed boost. If the Packers can produce a top half defense (ranked 16th overall or better), what would be the reason for failure if another Lombardi trophy eludes the Packer trophy room?