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Packers vs. Seahawks: 5 Things You Could Watch Friday Night

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Packers vs. Seahawks: 5 Things You Could Watch Friday Night

The Green Bay Packers will have the opportunity to make a rare preseason statement Friday when the tough and talented Seattle Seahawks travel to Lambeau Field for the third and most important exhibition game of the 2013 schedule.

Starters for each club will likely play deep into the first half, and possibly for a series or two after half time.

Seattle should present a worthy test. An 11-5 football team last season, the Seahawks have started their preseason schedule by outscoring the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos by a combined score of 71-20.

The Packers beat the St. Louis Rams last Saturday by a final of 19-7 after being shutout by the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason opener.

During the rehearsal week last August, Green Bay led the Cincinnati Bengals 17-6 by the time the starters exited the contest. The Packers went on to win, 27-13.

Here's five things you could watch during Friday's nationally televised matchup with Seattle:

1. Defensive Measuring Stick

With Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers waiting in Week 1 of the regular season, the Packers probably couldn't ask for a better litmus test on defense than the Seahawks starting offense for two-plus quarters Friday. Russell Wilson is a mobile, talented quarterback who can execute the read option, while Marshawn Lynch provides a physical test at running back. Seattle rather easily scored 20 points on five drives against the Denver Broncos last week. Even if the Seahawks don't throw the house at Dom Capers, the duo of Wilson and Lynch should give the Packers a gauge for how far along the defense is at stopping the evolving offenses in the NFL. Kaepernick, Frank Gore and the rest of the 49ers powerful offense will be eagerly awaiting Week 1 if the Packers struggle against a similar offense Friday night.

2. Bakhtiari and Barclay's Most Important Test

Through two games, Packers rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari has passed just about every test put in front of him. Save for one third-down sack allowed in St. Louis, when the fourth-round pick let Robert Quinn get inside and to Aaron Rodgers, Bakhtiari has been solid in protecting the blindside. However, the Seahawks present another front four who can get after the quarterback. One only needs to watch the first half of Seattle's win over Green Bay last season for evidence of that fact. Friday night, Bakhtiari should get two-plus quarters of fast, attacking defense to help ready himself for the regular season. The same goes for Don Barclay, who now appears to be the front runner at right tackle. Both young tackles could win over more confidence from the coaching staff with a strong performance.

3. Roller Coaster Ride at Kicker

Just when you think Mason Crosby has earned himself another life as the Packers kicker with a strong week of practice and 3-for-3 performance in St. Louis, the seventh-year veteran reverts to his mentally fragile alter ego Wednesday to keep the kicking competition wide open. How long can the Packers continue to ride the kicking roller coaster? It wouldn't be a surprise in the slightest if the team's kicker in 2013 isn't currently on the roster. However, Crosby can keep the ride going if he makes a few kicks against Seattle Friday. It would seem Giorgio Tavecchio will have to be nearly flawless from here on out to have a serious chance of being the Week 1 kicker.

4. Still Trying to Find No. 2

The focus will rightfully be on the starting offense and their half of work Friday night, but the Packers still need to make headway in finding their backup quarterback. Through two preseason games, none of the three options have separated themselves in competition. It will likely come down to the fourth and final exhibition game, when Graham Harrell, Vince Young and B.J. Coleman will take the majority of offensive reps. However, the Packers wouldn't mind if one of the quarterbacks finally made a strong impression in a live-game setting Friday, especially considering how suffocating Seattle's backup defense has been this preseason. Time is starting to run out on this competition, and the Packers are really no closer to finding a suitable backup to Aaron Rodgers. Separation from someone needs to begin Friday night.

5. Mixed bag of Player watching

A few players worth keeping an eye on Friday:

  • Eddie Lacy: The rookie running back was impressive in his preseason debut. Friday will be another test, especially in terms of pass protection. The Packers know what they have in Lacy in terms of running talent, but he still needs the reps against a good defense.
  • Micah Hyde: The instincts and physicality jump off the screen when watching the rookie cornerback. He figures to get another long look against Seattle, and it will be interesting to see how his physicality translates against a smash-mouth offense. Hyde could make another strong impression.
  • Jermichael Finley: It now seems like an annual tradition for Finley to be having a good camp, but this year has a different feel to it. All his talking is being done on the field, where he's dominated at times. The Seahawks will certainly be physical with him Friday. Another big night from the tight end could really springboard the kind of season everyone has expected from Finley for the last few years.
  • Johnathan Franklin: Given what he's showed so far, it wouldn't be terribly surprising if Franklin didn't have much of a role as a rookie. He's not a natural returning punts or kicks, and his work running the football has been shaky at best. He has value as a receiver in space, but so does DuJuan Harris. Franklin needs a better showing Friday.

Zach Kruse is a 25-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covered prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

Comments (89)

Brooklyn81's picture

The Seahawks defense is on steroids. We all know what Rodgers can do its just a preseason game lets get a good look and Harrell with the first team and allow the new LT to gain some confidence without putting our best player at risk against this roid rage defense. Just watch them. They are on something

packsmack25's picture

You're extremely naive if you don't realize that every pro athlete today either has used or is using some form of PEDs.

Bearmeat's picture

Every single one?

BS. Most of them? Possibly. We don't know. That's why testing should be expanded.

Point Packer's picture

Not Mason Crosby.

packsmack25's picture

Ok, I'll say 98%. And testing will always be 2 steps behind. It's just the way the technology works.

Phatgzus's picture

If Crosby is on steroids I'll eat my hat-those things are supposed to elevate your game, the only drugs he is on are Haldol and Dramamine.

Cow42's picture

i agree. i would not play Rodgers this game.
even "vanilla vs. vanilla" Seattle's front 7 will maul the Pack's OLine.

Tommy G's picture

This is exactly what I am fearing to watch. Let's hope one of the 'five things to watch' is not AR on his back all night.

Rymetyme81's picture

Seahawks have recently had issues with failing drug tests. Richard Sherman got away with cheating last year because of a "Ryan Braun"-like technicality, and Browner got busted.

Makes you wonder how many other Seahawks are using PEDs and, if caught, will make the tiresome claim to the media that they tested positive for adderall and simply forgot to the tell the NFL they had ADD.

Cow42's picture

Someone should connect Seattle's supplier with the Packers. They could use some of whatever Seattle's takin'.

Tommy G's picture

It didn't help them that much when Atlanta beat them in the closing seconds last season. Of course that was far more fun to watch than the a**kicking we were handed.

Bugeater's picture

This will be fun! Not often a pre-season game has that regular season feel to it. I'm looking forward to watching Jolly - I think he'll cement his hold on a spot on the 53 and begin his march toward Comeback Player of the Year. I just love the way he plays and I think he'll start freeing up the LB's to get pretty creative in the blitz scheme.

Brooklyn81's picture

I would like to see jolly and d. Jones in together

PackerBacker's picture

I want to see his endurance with playing more than 15 plays in a game. Will he be able to hold up with a larger workload, that's my question.

tao li's picture

I'll be watching Jarvis Reed! If he wants to make this 53 man squad hes going to have to keep up the great work.

Al Dante's picture

One thing to watch, the Seahawks have a very aggressive four four who attack the line of scrimmage. They play sick em if you will. No rocket science here, just sick em.

The Dbacks with Browner are all 6'2 fast agile and solid tacklers. I don't think any of them were late round draft picks.

The Hawks built the team around defense then found the two missing links -Wilson for one, on offense and are super bowl bound.

I would not be shocked to see a blow out game and our defense exposed for what it really is and our running game for what it really is.

packsmack25's picture
hayward4president's picture

Wow ...ur such a bright ray of sunshine.

Cow42's picture

i agree with all of this.
i expect to see Seattle run the ball at will, throw the ball down the middle of the field with ease, make the Packers' D look confused (as usual), and hold the Pack's running game to under 3 yards/carry.

and then it'll really get ugly when the Packers' lack of depth is exposed by Seattle's backups.

Seattle scores 50.

THEMichaelRose's picture

And to think I'm planning to spend my Friday night watching that!

Evan's picture

Cow just saved you the trouble. No need to bother now.

Phatgzus's picture

Thank the Lord, now I can enjoy my David Carradine recommended weekend activities.

Tommy G's picture

50, in preseason? Probably not. If this was week 12 in Seattle... Probably.

Cow42's picture

Carroll likes to "set tones". He will not stop.

Phatgzus's picture

Of course you agree with it, you wrote it. Your clairvoyance must be such a burden, no wonder you sound like Eeyore on Prozac.

hayward4president's picture

I hope this is the game that shuts all the naysayers up. I wanted Franklin in the draft and for once we drafted a guy I wanted. He is explosive and I hope come tomorrow everyone changes their tune a little bit.

Cow42's picture

if he wasn't drafted in the 4th he would not even be in the discussion for making the 53.

Rymetyme81's picture

I agree, in part. If Franklin was an undrafted rookie, rather than a 4th rdr, he'd be fighting for a PRACTICE squad spot.

That said, we need to give him time based on his college career. IMO, Reggie Bush underwhelmed initially in his transition to the pros and he's ended up to be a pretty good back.

RC Packer Fan's picture

that's exactly it... Everyone expects a rookie to come in and be pro bowl player immediately or bust... Not every player comes in and blows up the league right away. We need to lessen our expectations of rookies.

I loved the pick of Franklin. I think he will play more as the season goes on. He has the ability. Just give him some time...

Cow42's picture

Do you even remember Bush in college?

Franklin is NOWHERE NEAR as talented as Bush.

Not.
Even.
Close.

I'd compare Franklin to Tyrell Sutton.

Nerd's picture

I compare him with Alex Green. Except he has better vision. And no surgically reconstructed knees.

That said, Green is better in pass pro.

Cow42's picture

isn't green WAY bigger?

Phatgzus's picture

All-time leading rusher in UCLA history, I'd say that's somewhere close, maybe not same state close but certainly same region.

hayward4president's picture

He is not a power back like Lacy. We need Lacy because we need a guy that can break tackles because our OLine is....well u know. But if there were two guys on the team I'd like in the open field with the ball one is....duh Cobb, and the 2nd is Franklin. Watch and learn....tomorrow you will see.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I have been waiting to see him used the way they should use him. Franklin is a guy that will be best used in the receiving game. Screen passes, swing passes, check downs, especially early on.
I thought he has been pretty good at blitz pickup overall when I have watched him. I really want to see how he is used tomorrow night.

Phatgzus's picture

He had 2 dump-off catches vs. AZ and they ran a screen for him vs. St. Louey but Harrell managed to overthrow him. What games you bin' watchin'?

Cow42's picture

1 Cobb
2 Harris

hayward4president's picture

1 Cobb 1.5 Franklin 2 Harris/Lacy

Fi crane's picture

3. John Jolly

hayward4president's picture

4 BJ

VApackerfan's picture

5 DeShawn Wynn

Icebowler's picture

I think the stress of learning to be a ST returner has negatively affected his play at RB.

Cow42's picture

or he's just not very good.

VApackerfan's picture

I'm not writing Franklin off yet, especially considering we're not out of preseason. However, my fear is that his college elusiveness will not translate well to the pros. According to most people, Franklin was going to be our surprise starting RB this year. From what I've seen, he does not have the quickness Harris does. He also seems to be really soft, and hesitates hitting the middle of the field. The bouncing around does not work in the NFL. Look at Sproles. It's usually a screen pass, then go. Sproles has brilliantly used his size and quickness to his advantage. Hopefully Franklin and the Packers can use his skill set to their advantage, or else it will be a short pro career for him.

Nerd's picture

Sproles is a good comparison.

The Packers have tried to get Franklin the ball on swing passes, screens. They have not done so.

Franklin's not a between the tackles kind of dude. Get him in the open field, he will make people miss.

Cow42's picture

Sproles is faster.
Sproles is quicker.
Sproles is stronger.

But other than that... yeah, they're like mirror images of each other.

Nerd's picture

Sproles 4.46
Franklin 4.38

Sproles 190 lbs
Franklin 205 lbs

Sproles 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 23
Franklin 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 18

Stroh's picture

@ Nerd... Don't know where your getting your data, but Franklin ran a 4.49 at the combine, CBS has him at 4.46. Your taking only his best time, but averaged at CBS says 4.46. Also Sproles is like 5'6 and Franklin 5'10 so his weight should be higher. I like Franklin but he only had a 30 in vertical which suggests a lack of explosiveness. He's not a special athlete by any means. He might become a good RB in the right role, but IMO he won't be a great RB by any means.

Nerd's picture

So being 5' 6" is a good thing?

I'm not saying Franklin is or is not going to light it up in the NFL. Let's see what the dude can do first.

Stroh's picture

You compared their wts. So Sproles is lighter, but shorter and Franklin is taller and a little heavier. Pretty much evens out IMO.

THEMichaelRose's picture

In terms of natural ability, Franklin > Harris. Who's the better football player right now? Harris. And we've seen very small sample sizes from both. Give Franklin some time though.

Cow42's picture

"In terms of natural ability, Franklin > Harris."

No.

go to a practice and watch the two of them. Harris could break Franklin in half. Harris is a freak... thick. Franklin has a narrow build. I don't care what their ht/wt measurables are, their body types are completely different.

Franklin just doesn't have any burst.

VApackerfan's picture

Guys, just to reiterate my comment regarding Sproles and Franklin. I wasn't comparing the two in similarities, just saying it took a little time to define Sproles' role in this league. He has since understood what his limitations are and what his strengths are. I think he has excelled at his job. I think Franklin will need to do the same. He simply cannot be runner he was at UCLA. I think he is talented, but the Packers need to figure out how to use him.

hayward4president's picture

Go to their practice? Sure ....meet ya there in 15 hrs.

Mojo's picture

I'm not sure how anyone can make such definitive statements about Franklin based on nine carries in two preseason games. Will he be a good RB or a bust? I'll have a better answer by the end of this year. Until then, everyone's just guessing.

Even if Franklin were tearing it up, I'm glad Harris is still one of the featured backs. If memory serves me correct, he was one of the better players on the Packers offense by the end of last year.
Don't know why he doesn't get more love.

Evan's picture

"I’m not sure how anyone can make such definitive statements about Franklin based on nine carries in two preseason games."

You must be new here...

hayward4president's picture

Hahaha Like

RC Packer Fan's picture

That's what I don't get. How so many people want to cut or get rid of Franklin after 9 carries and 1 reception, and 2 preseason games.

You can't build a team through the draft if you cut all your players you draft in it...
Give the guy time. Did LaMichael James last year light the world on fire? No... Give players time.

Cow42's picture

He just looks too slow.
I understand that players can improve but some things are God-given and can be identified right off the bat.

you can tell by watching Franklin play that he lacks explosion. if you are seeing something else it's purely because you want to see something else.

if Franklin was an UFA would what he's shown in those 10 touches get him anywhere near the 53?

in my opinion, the answer is "NO".

Stroh's picture

Franklin and Harris are about the same wt and quickness according to combine/pro day results. Harris is 3 in shorter and slightly heavier, so he would be expected to be stronger and more powerful. Big difference b/t them is Harris has a 38 in vertical, where Franklin has a 30 in. That's a striking difference. Shows that Harris probably is the better natural athlete, where Franklin is the more refined athlete. Harris is definitely more powerful/explosive.

None of this is to say which is going to be better, just that Harris is more explosive, which gives him an advantage.

Phatgzus's picture

And what if you determined the potential of Favre's career on his first 10 passes? For the record he wasn't an explosive runner either.

Phatgzus's picture

Explosiveness can be improved, there are training exercises specifically designed to increase it at over various distance intervals.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree he doesn't look as explosive right now. Sometimes that comes with learning the league and learning the playbook more. Right now he doesn't seem to be seeing what he is supposed to be seeing as fast as he should.

IMO, once he starts seeing the field better, you'll see more of his explosiveness...

I'm not going to compare Franklin to Harris. Different style runners. I would compare Franklin to more of a Reggie Bush type of RB. Bush is at his best in the passing game. I think that's how Franklin will be best used. I'm not saying he is the same as Bush, just saying they are similar...

I just want people to give the guy a little time.

Stroh's picture

@ Phatgzus

1st comment. Farve didn't make his living running the ball, he made it throwing. Franklin makes his running the ball. Stupid to even compare them in that way.

2nd comment. As a former Strength and Conditioning coach, your right, there are exercises/movements that can increase explosiveness. I can assure you they are a staple of nearly every Strength program. It would be EXTREMELY unlikely that Franklin hasn't been doing them every week for the past 4 years in college. It would be incomprehensible to me if he hadn't been doing them for his entire college career!

Phatgzus's picture

@STROH I was just being sarcastic with the Favre explosiveness comment for the sake of levity, really wasn't making a legitimate comparison between a pocket QB's running ability and that of a professional RB; just as I wouldn't genuinely compare Franklin's arm strength to Favre's.

Phatgzus's picture

I realize that; however, the vast majority of college players gain strength and size (unless required to do elsewise) in the NFL, that is resultant from 4 major factors: their bodies finally ceasing their growth, enabling them to build muscle much more easily, improved strength and conditioning regimens, better diet, PEDs. It's not illogical to presume that his baseline explosiveness can increase based on these factors, however, the other players in the league are also privy to such methods.

FourEyesBrewing's picture

Really? Tavecchio has to be flawless to have a chance at being the starter? If both kickers were street free agents and had never played for the Packers, who would you pick? Why is a mediocre Crosby that occasionally does well better than a consistent and talented Tavecchio who has made his kicks? It can be hard to move from the default position, but that shouldn't mean we should favor the default.

Evan's picture

"If both kickers were street free agents and had never played for the Packer..."

But they're not. One's is a 5-year Packers vet with a relatively hefty contract while the other is a street free agent. As much as you or I think that shouldn't matter, it does. Especially when they're running more or less neck and neck.

Personally, I'm at a loss. We know what Crosby brings but Tavecchio is still very much a mystery. I think we're stuck in a devil you know situation.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Also, what has Giorgio shown? He missed his very first attempt in an actual game situation.
There is a huge difference in kicking in actual games compared to practice.
And its a lot different kicking in January then it is in August.

Mojo's picture

Agree with everything that FourEyes said. If we weren't familiar with either players Travecchio would be most peoples choice. Instead, he misses one 49-yard field-goal and somehow Crossbar jumps way ahead despite his crappy kick rate.

Another thing is how everyone praises Crosby for his vaunted leg strength. I've noticed the last three years or so how the opposition kickers consistently have out-driven Crosby on kickoffs and hangtime. This is what McGinn wrote after last weeks Arizona game about Tavecchio: "But through an off-season of training and refining his technique, he has improved greatly. He does not have any problem hitting field goals from beyond 50, and inside the Edward Jones Dome he did a solid job kicking off.

In fact, his numbers were slightly better than Crosby's.

On three kickoffs, the ball traveled 65, 73 and 73 yards with hang times (in order) of 4.34 seconds, 4.2 and 4.11. Crosby's two kickoffs where he kicked away went 69 and 77 yards with hang times of 4.18 and 4.08."

There doesn't seem to be a large difference on the kickoffs to me. If people say their not happy with Tavecchio - well fine, but don't tell me Crosby is the better kicker. Maybe he once was, but he certainly isn't now.

steven's picture

Guys just remember this is cow. The same guy or girl that predicts a 6-10 season. Cow you need to start seeing some game tape and realize Lacy is special. He is going to average 4.6 this game and probably more through the season. And he is a legit Rookie of the year candidate

THEMichaelRose's picture

I agree he's good. But I don't think Lacy will be ROY. He's just not going to compile the total stats you need to win that award. He'll be splitting carries and probably won't play many 3rd downs.
Similar to one of the reasons Hayward didn't win DROY last year, he played great when he was on the field, it just wasn't as a "starter" or every down player.

steven's picture

I agree he most likely won't win it. But he will be a candidate. Heck I hope bakhtiari is a candidate but I doubt a LT will win the award

Stroh's picture

A lot of people give Lacy a real shot at ROY. He's in a perfect situation to be highly successful. Great passing team w/ a great QB on a teams that desperately needs his toughness and physicality. I think Lacy will get more than enough touches to potentially win ROY. I can see him getting 1000 yds and if he does he'll definitely be a strong candidate.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I do agree.
He does have a perfect opportunity. He will have a lot of opportunity's to run against 6-7 man fronts...

I think he will be the most impactful rookie, but I don't know if he will win the ROY award.

He has the ability to transform the Packers offense. If he runs like he did against the Rams, that will draw safety help up and will also freeze LB's from dropping into coverage. That will allow Rodgers to hit more deep balls and allow them to us the play action pass. We saw that work, with the 2 big plays by Finley.

CowKiller's picture

OMG Stroh shut your piehole you know nothing!!

Cow42's picture

i'd be shocked if he averaged more than 3.6 vs Seattle.

steven's picture

Prepare to be shocked

CowKiller's picture

Shut up troll.

CowKiller's picture

I hate you.

Cow42's picture

wow.

just voicing my opinion.

no reason for hate.

this is the game the Packers get exposed for the shallow/soft team that they are (again).

yes - even though it's only a preseason game.

when it's 1's vs 1's just watch the individual match-ups across the board. pay attention to who's side of the LOS the game is being played on. which team is the aggressor.

the truth of the matter is that the Packers can only win 1 way... Rodgers has to be brilliant. if anything other than that happens the result is a loss.

i understand that tonight's game doesn't count BUT we will all get to see 2 teams with completely different attitudes and demeanors. 1 wants to run away from the opposition... the other wants to run through the opposition.

CowKiller's picture

SHUT UP YOU HEIFER.

hayward4president's picture

Their offense will have as much trouble with our D as we will theirs. Our run D is solid and our pass D...well that depends on who's starting.

Cow42's picture

"Our run D is solid "

since when?

TommyG's picture

Cow, let us suppose this for a moment: the 1v1 match-ups look okay, and the game is played primarily between both 35 yard markers. Could we then say that we have a decent team? I would say, yes. We don't need an amazing D to win. We need a serviceable D and a great offense. I will give you the fact that if AR doesn't play lights out, we will lose.

steven's picture

Also expect them to struggle running the ball just like the last two teams.

Fi crane's picture

Unleash the hard green bay packers

The TKstinator's picture

Hold.
Hold.
Hold.
Unleash hell.

steven's picture

Cow o line is bad right? Well we graded the best pass blocking line in pre season http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000233127/article/players-to-watch-...

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