Yeah…I know, it’s pre-season. But it is still football. The NFL announced the Packers’ pre-season opponents this week. For those who live outside the state of Wisconsin, the good news is that the game against the Raiders will be nationally televised. Here is the rundown:
Week 1, Aug. 7-10
Week 2, Aug. 14-18
at St. Louis
Week 3, Aug. 22
vs. Oakland, 7 p.m. CT (CBS)
Week 4, Aug. 28
vs. Kansas City
Packernation understands that the importance of these games is not in wins or losses, not in the contest itself, but these games do serve a purpose:
1. Live practice against an opponent is invaluable to the coaching staff. A lot is said about the risk and there is definitely a balance, but there is a reason the pre-season games still exist.
2. Players who were injured last season get a chance for live action.
3. Coaches get a look at prospects who are “on the fence”
4. The team gets time to get in sync after an off-season, a lot of practices, OTA’s and training camp.
But for a Packers team that had so many injuries last season that the defense in particular REALLY struggled at times, these games will be nail-biters of another kind. This year, Packernation will be watching the pre-season just hoping and praying that all of our starters come out unscathed. Staying healthy is at the top of the Packers wish list this coming season and four pre-season games seem to be a barrier to that whatever their importance may be.
Will Mike McCarthy unveil a new approach to the pre-season play this year? If I was coach McCarthy, I would be considering new ways to prep the vets, make decisions on players, and get the team ready for the real season while at the same time, minimizing the exposure of players like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, and Datone Jones. We will see come August, and either way…GO PACK!!!