Wow! Tomorrow is Friday and the third preseason game is upon us! We will get a chance to see Aaron Rodgers in more extended action and the Packers defense will again have a chance to stop the run and perhaps show us more against the pass.
The third preseason game is usually the last chance for first team’s to tighten things up without showing their hand to the regular season opponents. The Packers game-plan will be no different. We will get to see the starters in action for longer during this game but we will not see everything the Packers have in store for opposing teams…for that, we all have to wait for the game against the Seahawks. Here is what I will be watching for:
1. Julius Peppers
While we won’t see everything that Dom Capers has prepared for Julius Peppers (and more’s the pity for opposing defenses), we will get to see him get some extended playing time. I have said all along that his veteran presence will be good for our run defense, which was a liability last season, and it is important for Julius to get more and more comfortable with this defense.
Last week we saw Julius starting to pressure the quarterback…without the benefit of any trickery or scheming. The guy is a player and if he doesn’t get there Clay Matthews will. The plus is that Julius can also drop back into coverage…a trait that few of Peppers’ size can boast.
2. The safety competition
With Morgan Burnette having an injury issue this preseason, Ha Ha Clinton Dix has gotten extended playing time and has made the best of it. Out of position on one play, Ha Ha has otherwise done an admirable job for a rookie who is seeing his first NFL action. He doesn’t seem out of place and has shown an ability to get to the quarterback in blitz situations too which is a bonus.
There are other candidates for sure but Micah Hyde and Ha Ha Clinton Dix seem to be the best bet and I have to wonder if Morgan Burnett is not fading in the eyes of coach McCarthy and the Green Bay coaching staff.
3. The offensive line
The starting O-line is making a statement folks. The game against the Rams showed that they will not be bullied by anyone and it will be interesting to see if their success carries over into the first regular season game against the Seahawks, who will throw the kitchen sink at them. There is a reason for the saying “The battle is won or lost in the trenches” and the while the D-line has had an upgrade in Julius Peppers (OK…he’s not technically on the D-line), the O-line has a new center in JC Tretter and other than that, the only benefit is getting guys back healthy.
If the Packers O-line holds up against the Raiders, we could again be treated to an offensive clinic tomorrow night. The real value, however, is in the fact that the line will have extended time to play together and continue to gel. Let’s see some more of that up-tempo Aaron Rodgers action!
So that is what I am looking forward to…but what do you want to see in this third preseason game (yes, I know…no injuries – I totally agree)? What is on your checklist to make sure this preseason is a success? Let me know in the comments section below.
Can’t wait to hear from you…and can’t wait to watch the Pack again tomorrow.