The first preseason game is upon us and we are one step farther from this long biter offseason. Now the first preseason game is not for the faint of heart. The starters don't play many minutes. Aaron Rodgers probably won't play much due to the injury to Marshall Newhouse and Charles Woodson won't play at all. This can be troubling often times for the casual fan, who want to see Donald Driver dance on the field, big name players do Lambeau Leaps, and Clay Matthews get sacks. If these players are all out by half time, what is a person to do?
The main way to overcome this problem is preparation. Go into the game knowing which players you want to watch, and who might pull ahead in the heated camp battles of the year. For example, last year (while I was exiled in the Twin Cities) I got a call from my mother-in-law the day before the first preseason game. She asked me which players to watch for and their numbers so she could last the whole game in the stands. I gave her a list of some of the guys that seemed to be flashing in camp that year, like Randall Cobb, Tori Gurley, etc. The next day I got a call from her excited that all the guys on the list had done something interesting and she got to sound so smart to all those around her using the list.
Moral of the story? Find the right storylines to follow early cause unlike the regular season those storylines don't often come to you. So who are you watching tonight fellow Packer fans? What storyline do you think this game sets up the next chapter to?
A few of the options to look for tonight:
- The Cornerback Soap Opera. This is an ever changing long term battle between Jarrett Bush, Sam Shields, Davon House, and Casey Hayward. Really right now it looks like a three person fight between Bush, House, and Hayward, but Shields could get back in the running with a good game or two. No Charles Woodson tonight means some real opportunity for any one of these three to make some noise and get a new lead on the position.
- The Safety Dance. Woodson's move (and absence) is going to change up the feel for this position as well. Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings seem to have their spots locked up, but there are still some roster spots up for grabs with Anthony Levine, Sean Richardson fighting for a spot. Jerron McMillian also will be an interesting guy to watch. How is his transition to the NFL level going? How often does he line up at safety and how often at corner?
- How good is Graham Harrell? The Packers seem to have one view of their backup QB and countless pundits seem to have another. Which one will be right? Tonight's game will go a long way in answering that question.
- How worried should Packer fans be about Herb Taylor? Rodgers won't be in long, but expect Taylor to be. Seeing Taylor in an extended action should give us a test of where the LT position is at without Newhouse or Derek Sherrod. Mix in the late addition of Reggie Wells and it could get interesting tonight.
- What is the state of the pass rush? Lots has been done to help the Packers' failing pass rush from last year....how effective were those moves? The Packers should have a good interior and edge rush, and should be able to have that rush come in waves with Dezman Moses shining, Nick Perry coming along, Matthews still a stud, Mike Neal looking to prove himself, Jerel Worthy looking good, and Anthony Hargrove adding an edge to the defense. Will this all come together?
Of course there are many other players and battles to watch through out the night. Which one are you going to watch?