The Next Step…TODAY!

Nov 10, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) throws the ball during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field. The Eagles won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers’ matchup against the Steelers will go a long way in determining a lot of young players’ futures on this team. Several rookies put in showings against the Patriots and now have to show that they can be consistent and continue to grow. Other rookies have yet to make a case for themselves and all the rookies will want to shine on special teams. Here are a couple things I will be looking for in this game. 

Special Teams

The special teams in the Patriots game did not look stellar by any means but that is largely because they have not worked together as a unit. Special teams is a very chaotic part of the game, much more difficult to control than offense or defense because the entire field is involved on kick returns and a large portion of it on punts. I saw some good hits against the Patriots. With Jayrone Elliot and Sean Richardson as examples, I see guys like Aaron Ripkowski, who had two tackles in the Patriots game on ST, to have a chance to show not just consistency but improvement.

Beyond that, I think we all missed seeing Ty Montgomery get a chance to take a kickoff out of the endzone and we will likely see that today. Montgomery should be slated as the starter again as he did nothing to lose the spot and coach McCarthy made specific mention of the fact that they did not get to see him take one out of the endzone. I am excited to see what this kid can do in kickoff returns as his fluidity lends itself even more to kick returns than punt returns (the difference between fluidity and suddenness).

Don Barclay at left tackle

While the Packers are doing all they can to get David Bhaktiari healthy for the season opener, Don Barclay is getting a monumental task coming back from his ACL. Barclay is slated to take the blindside protection role against the Steelers and his performance there could be critical to more than just the “success of the Packers run game”. One bad hit and we could have the league MVP dinged or even injured for the start of the 2015 season. I don’t like this situation, and while I want to see Barclay get reps, I will be more worried about this game than I would otherwise be. The saving grace is that this is a preseason game so the Steelers will not throw everything at Barclay to test him as they would in a regular season game. They will just run the plays they need to run to get the looks they need and focus more on the performance of their own players. Here’s to Don Barclay having a great performance. The Packers need it.

Will Tolzien continue to progress/impress?

Scott Tolzien showed in the Patriots game why the Packers’ coaching staff has been so impressed with his improvement. Going 10/16 for 107 yards and a touchdown. I was impressed by Tolzien’s release and the way he spun the ball. Even more than that…Tolzien commanded the huddle like a pro. I am really pleased to see this UW Wisconsin product succeed, even though I hope to only see him in the pre-season.

So today is the day and the Packers take one more step toward the regular season. Job one, as always is to stay healthy and then we hope to get a lot of film on the rookies so that the coaches have what they need to make decisions. But don’t be surprised to see the first team offense get plenty of reps again. Coach McCarthy is intent on making sure this team hits its stride before the regular season begins. It’s a dangerous proposition, but the payoff could be immense.

Go Pack!

The Next Step…TODAY!

One thought on “The Next Step…TODAY!

  • August 23, 2015 at 10:52 am

    What time is the game on?


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