May 22, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Jerel Worthy (99) talks with tackle Marshall Newhouse during organized team activities at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE
In the preseason the concept of the word "starter" has to be a little flexible. For example Herb Taylor was the "starter" in the game against the Chargers, but we all know that he really isn't a starter for the Packers in any stretch of the imagination. This week might see some similar sorts of guys get highlighted here in light of 18 players being injured for the coming game against the Browns. Seriously, eighteen. My wife looked at Tex's post and then looked at me in disbelief. But that's where we are at like it or not.
In light of that here are five starters to watch. Most of these players are either in a camp battle for their job, or a significant part of the season rests on their shoulders. Either way, their performance tonight can tell us a bit about what this coming season holds for the Packers.
1. Marshall Newhouse - Last week saw Taylor in the starting position and it wasn't pretty. Aaron Rodgers shouldn't be knocked around by a rookie, even worse he shouldn't be knocked around by a rookie in the preseason. Newhouse there should give adequate protection. Newhouse is a player many have hoped would make a marked improvement from last year and this is his first chance to show if they were right.
2. M.D. Jennings - He made noise in OTA's but has been MIA since. Okay, maybe not that bad, but it was a bad game for him in San Diego. There he got turned around by Antonio Gates and whiffed on a tackle of Vincent Brown; both leading to touchdowns. He'll need to shake things up this week in order to show he's worth the confidence the Packers have put in him of filling a starting spot in the nickel defense.
3. James Jones - No Greg Jennings means that Jones gets a larger roll this week and may be considered the starter. He has still been inconsistent this year and dropped a touchdown catch last week. Sure that play probably would of been called back from holding, but that's not the point here. The point is that Jones has made a career of some amazing plays followed by dropping easy catches at critical times. If he wants a big next contract (here or elsewhere) he has to show that he can be a reliable #2 WR in a high powered offense. He'll have that opportunity tonight.
4. Casey Hayward - He's been getting reps with the ones all week and I think he'll get the start tonight in place of the injured Davon House. So far he's just looked a bit raw and inconsistent. He's stayed with guys and made a good play on the ball here, and then gets turned around or bites on a double more there. A more consistent performance tonight can take him a long way to winning that #2 CB role.
5. Jerel Worthy - Worthy is starting in the nickel packages (which is a majority of what is run by the Packers defense). Last week he didn't make waves with his performance, although he wasn't a liability either. This week could be a great time to make a splash and show some of the promise that landed him as a high second round pick.
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