Packers vs. Eagles: 5 Things to Watch for Preseason Week 3

Five things to watch for the Packers' third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

The Green Bay Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles during the team’s third preseason game of 2015 on Saturday from Lambeau Field: 

Here are five things to watch for Green Bay: 

 

1. Will the Next Jordy Nelson, Please Stand Up?

The Packers’ once-envious depth at receiver is now being asked to replace one of the game’s superlative players. Whippersnappers such as Jeff Janis, Ty Montgomery and Myles White were pegged for supporting roles in the Packers loaded offense, but at least one of the three will likely be asked to play a major part at receiver. Janis is carbon copy of Jordy Nelson physically, but he’s been inconsistent in his second year transitioning from Division II football. Montgomery was an early star of camp, but targets have been harder to come by against cornerbacks in a live-game setting. White is entering his third season in Green Bay, but he’s limited physically. It’s funny how the optimism of potential can quickly flip when the timetables are pushed up. Let’s see which of the three takes advantage of the opportunity. WR3 is wide open. 

 

2. Might Get Ugly

The Packers almost certainly feel very good about the top two spots on their quarterback depth chart. While the third preseason game is typically the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, it sure sounds like Aaron Rodgers and the majority of the offensive starters won’t play Saturday. They looked Week 1 ready in Pittsburgh. Scott Tolzien is still in the concussion protocol and likely won’t suit up. That would leave the quarterback reps to Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard. Hundley took a step backward in Pittsburgh after a strong debut, and he needs all the reps he can possible get ahead of what will likely be a redshirt rookie season. Blanchard is the longest of long shots to make the roster, but he’ll have an opportunity to show the rest of the league’s 31 teams that he’s talented enough for a spot on someone’s 53-man roster. Bad news: The Packers offense will likely struggle early on, especially when Philadelphia’s defensive starters are in the game. 

 

3. Zook’s Big Test

The Eagles should put a massive amount of pressure on Ron Zook’s special teams, and it will be interesting to see how his unit handles the test. Reserve running back Kenjon Barner has two punt returns for touchdown this preseason; an electric 92-yard score in the exhibition opener and a winding 62-yard touchdown last week. Last year, Philadelphia had seven special teams touchdowns, including four kick returns and three blocked punt returns for scores. Green Bay’s special teams won’t have an easy night. But that’s a good thing for a re-hauled unit looking to gauge where it is at before Week 1. 

 

4. Finding the Reserve 

The Don Barclay experiment at tackle failed in terrific fashion. Now, the Packers need to scramble to find a capable backup for both David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. Barclay will get another chance Saturday, but the more intriguing options are Josh Walker and Jeremy Vujnovich. Neither are ready to take on a big-time pass rusher, but Barclay couldn’t handle anyone with speed or a countermove in Pittsburgh and New England. If the backup tackles struggle another week, it might be on Ted Thompson to go get someone at final cuts. There needs to be a sense of security behind Bakhtiari, who is still dealing with a bad knee, and Bulaga, who has had his share of injury issues in the past. 

 

5. Momentum Rolling on Defense

The Packers have some young defensive players really impressing this preseason. The list includes cornerbacks Ladarius Gunter, Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall, defensive linemen Mike Pennel, Bruce Gaston and Christian Ringo, and linebackers Jayrone Elliott, James Vaughters and Jake Ryan. It’s a strong group, with players at every level. Chip Kelly’s offense should give all the youngsters a different kind of look on Saturday. Is it possible the Packers could be deep on defense to start 2015? 

 

Prediction: Eagles 25, Packers 9

The young quarterbacks will struggle early on. Oh well. The reps are necessary. Just stay healthy. Hopefully, the Packers swatted the injury bug and buried it under that wannabe Soldier Field in Pittsburgh.

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Comments (13)

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PaulRosik's picture

August 28, 2015 at 08:52 pm

The score of this one isn't important. Last week the offensive line was manhandled. It will be nice to see if it can hold up better this time. Josh Walker as being that first backup will be interesting to watch.

Everyone will be watching the receivers after last week's development, but with the QB's out there it just doesn't really matter.

On defense it is time to see some final thoughts on some guys. Bradford, Gunter, Pennel, Boyd, Elliott, Ryan, Randall, Rollins are all looking at playing time and roster spots and should be out there playing hard to show their stuff. With the scrubs at QB the D can expect a lot of chances out there.

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EdsLaces's picture

August 28, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Randall gets his 2nd int of the pre-season....book it.

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Dan Stodola's picture

August 28, 2015 at 11:18 pm

The Packers can't hope the next Jordy Nelson steps up. They will be mightily disappointed if the do. What has to happens is a lot more situational football, where Montgomery, Janis and White all take up a small part, while Cobb and Adams take on much of the production lost. Forget about one player stepping up, hope each is able to take on just a little more.

Cobb and Adams are going to find their jobs are much more difficult, but they have to rise to the challenge. Then even moderate production from Montgomery, Janis and White will allow the Packers to be productive.

End of last year, the Packers were trying to get/keep Kuhn on the field. Expect him to get a much higher workload too. In my expert option, his versatility and football IQ will be put to good use. No doubt about it.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 29, 2015 at 01:53 am

I think we'll find out that Eagles are mean team, but I believe our D (at least at 1st half) will hold the ground and produce quite a lot problems to their O. I expect Matt to have good game. He is fighting to survive in NFL. He want's to show he can be at least capable back up QB. I expects little less from Brett at the moment, but he will have some good plays for sure. he is great talent.
I do not expect any can replace Jordy, but I expect to see few WR worth of their jobs. I'm not that much in Ty Montgomery expectation. He is, after all, rookie. But he will have decent game. I expect lot from Miles & Ed, Larry & Jimmy is fighting for their position on PS. We know what to expect from Jeff. I hope he can at least confirm that. Also, I watched some highlights of James Butler... Man, he knows how to catch back shoulder pass, he knows how to catch side line pass and he showed some good ability in production of yards after catch. But, question is can he translate that to the NFL speed and how much of the playbook he learned in 2 to 3 days....
Result, even high difference score, is nothing that worries me. I just pray for one thing: NO MORE INJURIES!

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4thand1's picture

August 29, 2015 at 08:43 am

Why did AR say it was a meaningless game? Because it is. The team knows who the starters are going to be in training camp. Fans are hungry for football to start, so they give them a little taste to see there hero's for a quarter or two. Let the 2nd and 3rd teams slug it out and fight for a roster spot. Each team should match up there perspective back ups against each other. Play the starters like it was a pro bowl game for a series or two, collect the $$$$ and move on. Soon the playoffs will be expanded and there will be a longer season, so if a team gets off to a slow start, its not the end of the world. Lotta football left after the 1st few weeks.

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the real russ letlow's picture

August 29, 2015 at 09:21 am

This will be a good test for the defense. I'm very interested to see how they and special teams play. You can always gain some insight by playing younger guys in meaningful preseason snaps. The coaches & Ted will have some good film to evaluate some of the young offensive players who might be on the bubble.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 29, 2015 at 09:53 am

Damn. No confidence in the team?

I predicted the Pack going 2-2 in the preseason but I never thought they would get beat down.

I'm starting to like this defense more and more after watching the Steelers game. I believe the coaches are close to getting the proper personnel together for certain situations. I don't see the Eagles offense putting up that much.

You might be spot on with the prediction of how many points the Pack might put up. No Rodgers or Tolzien = uh oh.

The game is in Lambeau, so (hopefully) a few roles players will show up. I'm hoping Ty, both TEs , Jake and Sam (Barrington) stand out.

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PaulRosik's picture

August 29, 2015 at 11:01 am

The Packers will be starting the 2nd line and 3rd QB against the starters of the Eagles. I don't think any team is going to win that matchup. We will be looking for flashes and individual plays on offense because I don't believe they will be able to deliver whole drives with that lineup playing.

But I still have a lot of confidence int his team if Rodgers and Sitton and Bulaga, and Bakhtiari and Lacy and Cobb were playing. But I expect to see none or very little of any of those players.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 29, 2015 at 03:44 pm

And what about on defense...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 29, 2015 at 11:03 am

Zach, thanks for the heads-up on Philly's STs. This game I am watching the OT back-ups, Walker and Vujnovich, & I expect to see quite a bit of Rotherham at RG and RT. We might not be able to tell much about the WRs with Hundley & Blanchard at QB.

I will also watch Palmer, Bradford, Ryan and Thomas closely. We might even get a Dantzler sighting. I wonder how much even Barrington will play. I expect to watch a lot of Mulumba, Elliott, Vaughters, and some of Rasco at OLB. I'd like to see some more of Banjo and Hubbard (is Hubbard healthy?) since they are on my bubble.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

August 29, 2015 at 03:45 pm

I think Bradford is gone.

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PETER MAIZ's picture

August 29, 2015 at 11:44 am

I'm right on with Zach Kruse on these issues. Barclay's issue may be due to his ACL tear from last season or he may be moved to right tackle but Ted may be forced to move on this one.
On the QB issue, I don't want to mention the word "absurd", but since Blanchard seems to be playing better than Hundley, how about Hundley in PS? I don't think he'd be picked up by any team.
I agree with the Zook issue. McCarthy should have recruited the "expert of experts" as the special teams coordinator, not placed his buddy Zook at the position. Also Montgomery should do something returning kicks. I'm also going to watch Masthay.
Overall, without Tolzien, this game could end up as the "comedy of errors".

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porupack's picture

August 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Not particularly on topic, but as we digest the fallout from Jordy and Bakhtiari.... can you imagine what 49er fans must be dealing with? any team in history go through such as bloodbath of a off season? even my dislike of 49ers crossed its satiation level, and I feel sorry for that team.

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