What used to be known as the “Dress Rehearsal” for the regular season, has since shifted to Preseason Week 3. With the focus of head injuries (concussions) the last decade or so, the NFL has striped teams of practicing with full-contact nearly as often as they used to, which in return saves hits to the head/body, however the other side is that these guys don’t get their bodies used to taking such a pounding. Without scientific evidence and an educated opinion developed from, what my wife would say is, watching too much football- I believe a lot of these injuries where guys get “banged up” is from not being used to it, or being over protective of their bodies. I completely understand and agree with this, however the unwillingness to increase roster sizes and adjust IR (Injured Reserve) to better reflect Major League Baseball is irresponsible and enables teams to put out a worse product.
Okay okay, maybe that was a little too serious and meant for its own post. Let’s get back to the game tonight, eh? (Catch that reference?) The Packers are taking on the Oakland “For now until we move to Las Vegas” Raiders, which also could be known as “Yes, we’re the team that decided trading Khalil Mack was the right move to rebuild, but only to follow that move up with adding a diva WR that’s over 30 and paying him a ton of money…”
I’ll keep reiterating what to watch for, or at least what I’m keeping my eye on. Sadly, it’s become a story that many Packer fans feared, will Rashan Gary record a stat? No, that’s not a typo, STAT is short for STATISTIC. Like Kevin King (and Vince Biegel) will forever be graded against TJ Watt, Rashan Gary will forever be graded vs. Christian Wilkins (DT for the Dolphins, went 1 pick after Gary at 13th). Gary looks the part, but has yet to literally do anything. He needs to at least show he’s capable of something vs. and opponent in live action, even if that opponent won’t’ be on an NFL roster, because wretchedly that’d be an improvement…
The other items to lookout for is the timing of the 1’s on offense. The issue here is if Rodgers doesn’t play, this is almost moot and a wasted opportunity. I understand withholding him from playing, but if that’s the case, then why do any of the established starters (Adams, Bakhtiari, Linsley, and Bulaga) need to play? Why risk injury if it’s not worth it? Hell, those guys have a far better chance at ending up hurt than a QB, especially one that isn’t a runner. Again, I’ll point to my first paragraph as to why these guys (Rodgers) likely won’t play.
So far the guys that have stood out to me in these preseason games have been Ty Summers (#44), Darrius Shepherd (#10), and Ka’Dar Hollman (#29). Now, some other players have made some plays and looked good, but these are the types of guys (2nd year guys and rookies) that are becoming recognized. Others have been playing well too, ala Allen Lazard (#13), so hopefully the Packers can get the entire 1st string offense (Rodgers included) a series or two vs. the Raiders’ 1st defense AND to get the young cats some looks vs. their 1st and 2nd defense too. All in all, just look for positive consistency from the guys you don’t know.