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Packers Begin Preparations for Regular-Season Dress Rehearsal

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Packers Begin Preparations for Regular-Season Dress Rehearsal

The first two preseason games of 2014 are in the rearview mirror, as is the purpose of getting the young, inexperienced players on the roster a good, long look for evaluation.

As the Packers returned to the practice field on Monday, they started to get ready for this upcoming Friday's third preseason game against the Oakland Raiders; the third preseason game typically being the one the starters play the longest. In essence, a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

In the first two games against the Tennessee Titans and the St. Louis Rams, there was a bit of rigidity by the Packers coaching staff.

Despite being a high-round draft choice, the Packers didn't give rookie wide receiver Davante Adams an opportunity to work with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the football, the Packers have been hesitant to give Casey Hayward playing time in the team's nickel defensive package despite the fact he intercepted six passes as a rookie in 2012.

The Packers have their reasons for being a little inflexible in the first few preseason games, although that figures to change starting this week.

"There will be more different combinations of players playing this week," said head coach Mike McCarthy. "Anybody that's called the games in the preseason versus the preseason, you call things a little differently because you're more worried about what your team's doing and what you want to work on. That will be our approach this week."

One aspect of McCarthy's 2014 training camp that's been rather unique this year has been the starting lineup that's stayed rather consistent since late July when practice started.

Even at the spots that have seemingly been up for grabs—center, tight end, safety—the same players have been working with the first-string units week in and week out thus far.

"Teams that play together, particularly practice together, every day, get better," said McCarthy. "That's always been my experience. The opportunity to grow takes time on the practice field, then obviously once you start getting into the games, you have an opportunity to grow there. The continuity's been good.

"We're still trying to play as many different combinations of players as we move forward. You'll see some of those changes as we get ready for Oakland, and the way we go about it Friday night against Oakland. We have targets that we're trying to hit based on schemes we're trying to run, different combinations of players, but the biggest thing is the same guys are practicing every day together, so it's good that way."

Based on McCarthy's comments, it would appear the Packers will start using more combinations of players—wide receivers, tight ends and running backs on offense and different subpackages on defense.

In the fourth preseason game, the Packers and most NFL teams start scaling back their starters' workloads in an effort to keep them healthy for the start of the regular season.

This Friday's game against the Raiders figures to be the closest thing the Packers will trot out during their season opener against the Seahawks in Seattle in the NFL's annual Kickoff game.

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