Every media outlet will give you five things to watch in today’s Packers-Chargers game. In a slightly different approach, here is one under-the-radar, underrated thing to look for in each phase of the game for the hardcore Packers fan…
- Offense: The second-string offensive line––If everyone was healthy and available, the second-team offensive line would look something like this from left to right: Derek Sherrod, Ray Dominguez, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Reggie Wells and Herb Taylor. All but Dominguez have played in a regular season game, and even then, at least Dominguez isn’t a rookie. Instead, tonight’s second-string line is: Andrew Datko, Don Barclay, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Tommie Draheim and Shea Allard. Among them, only Dietrich-Smith has any NFL experience. Backup quarterback Graham Harrell will be operating under an extremely inexperienced line. If anyone was hoping Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t get hurt, they might want to transfer their concern to his apprentice.
- Defense: Unveiling the dime defense––Even though Charles Woodson might not see much, if any, playing time, the Packers will be getting getting ready to use more dime defense with six defensive backs on the field with or without him on Thursday. There’s a great cornerback competition brewing between Davon House, Sam Shields, Jarrett Bush and Casey Hayward and the dime package will be a good opportunity to see several of them on the field all at the same time. It will also be chance to see M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian get some playing time. In response to all the spread out, multi-receiver offenses in today’s NFL, it’s important the dime defense performs well and has the best combination of players on the field.
- Special teams: Can Mason Crosby bounce back?––After reports that Mason Crosby had been perfect on field goals through the first week of training camp, he looked less than perfect in the team’s Family Night scrimmage. Granted, many of them came from long distance, and he may have been experimenting with the new wind conditions created by the Lambeau Field expansion, but more was expected from Crosby. With no other kicker in camp, Crosby will get plenty of opportunities tonight to make every kick and rebound from last week’s disappointing showing.