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Packers: Who to Keep an Eye on Tonight vs the Eagles

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Packers: Who to Keep an Eye on Tonight vs the Eagles

After months of waiting, the Green Bay Packers will finally take the field tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles. Lambeau Field is the location for the first preseason game of the year and kickoff is 8 PM EST, in case you were wondering.

Now, many get sick of the preseason. Some argue that it’s boring and needs to be shortened. I however, disagree. The preseason is a great chance to evaluate young talent. Mike McCarthy said as much the other day.

Limiting those opportunities not only hurts young players trying to get a job, it also hurts the ability of the football team to evaluate its talent. The point is, while some will dismiss the preseason and whatever happens during it, I don’t buy into that.

I think particularly from a Packers perspective, there is plenty to be learned tonight and while I will be studying all the players on the field, here are a few I would recommend watching closely.

Josh Jones -- It’s no secret to anyone who has read my posts that I love Jones. I think he is the kind of safety Green Bay has needed for years, but hasn’t been able to get. I know Morgan Burnett is the safety currently playing ILB in the base defense, but soon, it could be Jones.

Tonight, I really expect Jones to make a splash. I think he will deliver some big hits, but I also anticipate him getting his hands on the ball. I am not saying an interception necessarily, but a pass defensed, a fumble, something.

Of course, we have only seen him in training camp and OTAs, so we don’t really know what his impact will be. That’s what makes tonight so intriguing. I want to see what Jones can do with live bullets flying, but in the end, I expect the results to be impressive.

Jamaal Williams -- It’s probably not a shock that Williams made this list. Running back is really hard to evaluate if the setting is not live, so tonight, the Packers will get their best look to this point at how ready Williams is for the NFL.

The rookie from BYU has looked good in pass protection and running the football. But, sometimes players look a lot different in game action. I think Williams is going to be a good player and could be a regular contributor this season. Tonight’s game could go a long way in determining just how ready the coaching staff is to make that move.

Kyler Fackrell/Jayrone Elliott/Reggie Gilbert-- I know a lot of focus when it comes to the pass rush is centered on Clay Matthews and Nick Perry and rightly so. But if the Packers are going to effective, they are going to need to find a third and fourth rusher that can be reliable.

Matthews and Perry both have a history of missing games, so I am looking to see if Fackrell or Elliot can step into that role. With Vince Biegel sidelined, another name that has worked himself into the mix is Reggie Gilbert.

Gilbert was on the practice squad last season after coming to the team as a rookie free agent. He has impressed and even played some with the No. 1 defense. We will see how these guys respond, but there may not be enough room on the roster for all three, so the time to make an impression is now.


Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I can not wait till tonight game. I do want to see others they can hit, should give us an idea what they have to do in the future.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm most interested in McCaffrey, both rookie Jones's, Hawkins, Heiman, Elliott, Gilbert, and most exciting of all, Lowry.

RCPackerFan's picture

For tonight's game I am looking forward to seeing a lot of players. Mostly the rookies but some 2nd and 3rd year players as well.

For position Battles these positions I'm mostly looking forward to seeing tonight.

RB -
With 3 drafted and 2 UDFA RB's there is a lot of young guys there. I am looking forward the most to seeing all 3 of the drafted RB's. I hope we can see them all mixed in together with the same OL's so we can get a true comparison for them.
The guy out of the bunch I am probably most excited to see is probably Jones. I want to see his speed and if he can be another weapon out of the backfield.

WR -
There are so many guys trying to win 3-4 spots. Davis and Allison returning for their 2nd season to go with the 3 rookies and McCaffrey. Many expected before training camp started that Davis would have a big preseason. Now is the time for him to show it. With Yancey, Dupre and Clark all making people taking notice this is becoming a huge battle. These 4 games are where these guys can earn the roster spot.

Out of this group the guy i'm most looking forward to seeing is Clark. His size and basketball background to go with his 1 year of football makes him very intriguing.

Behind Perry and Mathews the depth is young. I really like Elliott so I'm looking forward to seeing if he can be the guy I envision being. Fackrell coming into his 2nd year, hopefully will take a year 2 jump. Reggie Gilbert has been said to look really good. Is Calvin the next UDFA OLB to earn a spot on the 53?

These are the additional players I want to see.

Kevin King.
Josh Jones.
Kenny Clark/Dean Lowry.
Kentrell Brice.

And I can't wait to see anyone that stands out.

Can't wait for tonight!

Go Pack Go!

Tundraboy's picture

That's pretty much my list.

gr7070's picture

Way too much is being made of Jones ability to hit. I couldn't care less.

Can he cover? Can he tackle? That's what really matters.

So many pundits give way too much credit to attitude (Daniels), hitting (K. Brice), "doing things the right way" and so many other mostly useless things.

I think Jones may be good, but it won't be his hitting or his snarl and general disposition that make the difference. It'll be his coverage and tackling ability.

sonomaca's picture

What about the O-line, Murphy and Gray?

sonomaca's picture

Oh, and Lucas Patrick. Also want to see what Spriggs has got.

dobber's picture

I'm just hoping that when this one's over there's good film to evaluate players. Too many times you get a PS game where it's over and it feels like there's very little of value to point toward.

dobber's picture

I find it ironic that over the years people have been critical of management drafting or signing former basketball and baseball players ... and yet are so hyped and excited about another inexperienced basketball player making a transition to WR.

Finwiz's picture

Don't worry he's not making the 53, he's auditioning for the practice squad.

RCPackerFan's picture

The only one that I have been critical of is Goodson. Because to be honest, he sucks.
To be fair though he was improving as a special teams player.

I loved Rollins when I saw him playing in the Senior Bowl. He was a guy that really stood out and when I went back and watched his lone year of football, its I can't wait to see him in year 3 now that he had a full off season of practices.

I'm very intrigued with Clark. Packers haven't have a player like him before. Thats the intriguing part.

4zone's picture

Clark, Lowry, Randall and Rollins to see what kind of jump they made from last year.

King, Jones and Williams (would add Vince B if he were playing) for an initial feel for what they bring to this level.

Wild card, McCaffrey. Just would love to see if he can fight his way onto the team.

And last, want to see if Callahan has gotten a better grasp of the offense and can make plays with his arm instead of his feet.

nostradanus's picture

Special Teams - Can this Long Snapper get it right or is it time to bring back Goode? What about this rookie Punter, they usually struggle, i'm surprised the Packers haven't brought in any competition?

Defense - Jones, can he cover?-Gilbert, will he make the second year jump? King, is he all that and a bag o' chips?
Price, is he good enough to claim a spot as a true NT?

Offense - Barclay, at Center looked shaky on family night? Ty Montgomery and pass pro? J. Williams is he the next Ryan Grant? Wr's Dupree and Clark can they do it when the lights come on? TE, it'll be nice to see Kendricks in Green and Gold!

Go Pack!!

Don Hutson's picture

This is going to be a measure of offense depth/quality, and possibilities on defense. I know the score isn't important in the preseason, and it is more important to look at individual performances. But I would be pleased at the end of it all if 1) everyone's healthy, and 2) we score a lot more than do the Eagles!

Don Hutson's picture

Not great on the healthy part. Performance wise reasonably OK.

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