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Packers vs. Raiders: Questions to Ponder Ahead of Preseason Week 3

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Packers vs. Raiders: Questions to Ponder Ahead of Preseason Week 3

Friday night's nationally televised preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders will mark the 21st time in 22 years that the Packers have played at least one exhibition contest on a national network. 

The game will be broadcast on CBS at 7:00 p.m. CDT. 

The 65th annual Upper Midwest Shrine Game will also feature homecomings for Charles Woodson, James Jones and C.J. Wilson, former Packers who will make their return to Green Bay for the first time since leaving the club in recent seasons. 

Here's a few questions to think about before the third and most important game on the preseason schedule:

 

Which OLBs Will Make a Statement?

No position on the roster is more undecided than the outside linebackers. Nine players are vying for likely six jobs. Four roster spots look locked up. Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Mike Neal will see a bunch of snaps Friday night, but the few given to the remaining five outside linebackers will be important. Can Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer hold on to third-string jobs? Will Jayrone Elliott continue his push toward a roster spot? Will Carl Bradford finally show signs of life? Another preseason game is another opportunity to show something to the staff. Tough decisions lie ahead.

 

Can the First-Team Defense Continuing Stuffing the Run?

The No. 1 defense has quietly fit the run well during two preseason games. All 11 players have swarmed to the football, and most run plays have seen at least one free hat—usually A.J. Hawk or Brad Jones—bee-lining to the ball-carrier. Another test lies ahead. The Raiders averaged 4.6 yards per rush and finished 12th in the NFL in total rushing yards (2,000) in 2013. This offseason, Oakland added workhorse running back Maurice Jones-Drew, and Darren McFadden is—for the moment—healthy. The Packers defense should expect a heavy dose of run plays early Friday night. Another strong performance will give the unit more confidence ahead of the test awaiting Green Bay in Seattle on Sept. 4. 

 

Will We See More of the No Huddle?

The Packers were devastatingly efficient running the no-huddle in St. Louis. On a fast track, and against a defense missing five primary starters, Aaron Rodgers and the starting offense had their way. I's clear Mike McCarthy wants the offense running at a higher pace this season. Friday presents another chance for the Packers to run circles around an opponent. The Raiders defense has come out flat in each preseason game so far this August, with Matt Cassel and the Vikings scoring on their first possession of the opener and Matthew Stafford and the Lions finding the end zone on back-to-back series to open the game last Friday. Maybe the Packers will get a more motivated Oakland defense. Or maybe Green Bay will embarrass an old, struggling unit. Either way, expect the Packers offense to continue playing fast. 

 

Can Jeff Janis Lock Up His Roster Spot?

It took just one preseason game for seventh-round rookie Jeff Janis to make a splash. His undeniable speed helped him turn a short throw into a 34-yard touchdown during the second half against the Rams. Now, Janis looks like a near-lock for the 53-man roster. His upside appears much higher than any other receiver vying for the No. 5 job, and he even showed an ability to return punts in St. Louis. While the Packers probably can't get Janis through waivers and onto the practice squad, he still needs to earn his roster spot over the final two preseason games. If he makes a couple plays, and avoids any bone-headed mistakes, it appears likely Janis will be with the Packers for Week 1. 

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. He is also the Lead Writer for the NFC North at Bleacher Report. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

GoldFinger's picture

I would prefer they sit Rodgers after one series to be honest. Lacy as well. They are fine. I would love to see Flynn vs. Tolzein the entire game maybe alternating series. Forget about Rettig in this one.

Defense needs a little more work but I would also sit Peppers and Matthew after one series so we can see the rest of the OLB especially Bradford and Elliot.

Also would like to see more playing time for Pennel, Ha Ha and Sherrod. Janis on kickoffs and punts. These four could be crucial at some point this year.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I think that's going a bit far. Rodgers has work to do to get on rhythm with receivers yet. Normally the 1 offense plays the first half, but I'd like them to play more like the whole first quarter. Remember that they will likely sit most, if not all, of next week.

GoldFinger's picture

Rodgers can run this offense blindfolded. He's ready for the season. He does not need any extra work. Now maybe the young receivers have work to do and they can do their "work" with Tolzein and Flynn who are both competent NFL low tier starting quarterbacks at this point. Putting Rodgers out there when it's totally unnecessary is to me "going a bit far". Save him for when the games actually count. Now will they do that? probably not, but I can dream.

My guess is you are going to the game. If I went I would also want to see Rodgers play as much as possible and my justification would be that he needs to work with the young receivers. I totally understand. That's why I hate preseason. The fans pay full price for an inferior product on the field.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Remember that Giants playoff game loss? Rodgers didn't look too sharp after that 2-3 week sit. I'm all for letting Rodgers play.

You also have to get other receivers in sync with Rodgers. Practice/Training Camp can only do so much.

RC Packer Fan's picture

The position I want to watch the most is the OLB spot. The question is who will shine?
I do consider 4 locks to make the roster. After that it leaves Mulumba, Palmer, Elliot, Bradford, Hubbard for probably 2 spots. I think Hubbard ends up on the PS.
The 2 players I will probably watch the most will be Elliot and Bradford. If Elliot continues to shine, its going to be hard letting him go. If Bradford starts to show something, it will be hard letting him go especically considering he was a 4th round pick.

The other competition I want to watch closely is the WR.
I think there are 4 locks (Nelson, Cobb, Boykin, Adams).
The 5th spot I think goes Janis.
Do they keep a 6th, and if so who? Harper, Dorsey, White? I want to see them force the Packers to keep one of them in the next 2 games.

DraftHobbyist's picture

The way I see the OLB spot right now is Hubbard and Elliot to the PS and Bradford and Mulumba making it with Palmer on the PS, but we'll see.

At WR, Harper has already lost the spot IMO. I don't see what he can do in the next 1-2 games to make up for all of his drops. He does get open, so that can push other guys, but he just doesn't complete plays. That's been a consistent problem over multiple years. I'm sure at least one of Dorsey and White will get the axe, but I'm hoping both do.

davy jones's picture

Elliot doesn't make it to the practice squad...nice thought though.

COW's picture

I think the b*ner everyone has over Elliott is funny.

Vic So'oto... Dezman Moses... Jayrone Elliott.... who's it gonna be next year?

Oh - and Palmer's making the team.
He's on almost every first string ST groups.

4thand1's picture

Is this Charlie or Hank?

Tarynfor12's picture

Bradford making the 53 roster would be solely due to his draft pick status( a very bad idea) as there is no way he has shown anything must lest enough to be an OLB. He needs big time snaps and production tonight period and that might even get him swooped up from the PS,which is the only place he has going for him at this moment....they still have Perry ahead of him..sheesh!

Aeric's picture

Now that is just a stupid comment cowboy..one player is obviously not another.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I wonder if there will be 2nd and/or 3rd string mixed in with the 1st string throughout the early 2nd half.

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