Packers vs. Chiefs: 5 Things to Watch For

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Packers travel to the land of barbecue to get this preseason thing over with. Several roster spots are still up in the air so we examine five things to keep an eye on.

Tomorrow's game between the Packers and the Chiefs marks the final preseason game and I think I speak for everyone who's attempted to write something interesting about preseason football when I say, it's about freaking time. That said, the fourth preseason game does have some meaning as players on the bubble will use this game to either make the final 53-man roster, or become the next Packers castoff signed by the Vikings. Aside from that, this game promises to be a battle of who can get hurt the least. So if you truly have nothing else better to do this Thursday, here are five things to watch for:

Mason Crosby

It probably speaks volumes about the importance of this game when the kicker is the main attraction, but as we've seen over the last week or so, the Packers kicking game is about as stable as Andy Reid walking a tightrope. First they brought in Giorgio Tavecchio presumably to, ‘push' Mason Crosby or something. Then some guy named Zach Ramirez showed up and was sent packing before his bags got off the luggage carousel. Now? Hey, it's Mason Crosby! The guy who single handedly caused more remote controls to be thrown across living rooms in Green Bay since Brett Favre left town. Bottom line is, this game could go a long way in deciding whether or not Ted Thompson looks at the waiver wire this weekend.

Wide Receiver Competition

This has actually been one of the fun battles to watch over the last month. Say what you want about Ted Thompson, the guy is a damn oracle when it comes to WR's. Tyrone Walker and Jarrett Boykin look like the leaders for the 4th and 5th spots, but it's hard to say anything's been completely firmed up yet. Charles Johnson has only been back at practice for a little over a week, but his athleticism alone may make him worth keeping. Myles White and Jeremy Ross are also still in the hunt if anything, for special teams consideration. Expect all of them to get significant playing time tomorrow as they compete for the honor of catching perfectly-thrown passes from Aaron Rodgers.

Players on the Bubble

I've now used the word ‘bubble' twice in this article. I think that's probably enough, don't you? Regardless of what you call it, the Packers depth and Thompson's ability to draft always creates tough competition that goes down to the wire. This game could be the difference for a lot of players hoping to not sell insurance for a living. Of the more interesting players on the bubble (sorry) three stand out. Brandon Bostick, Andy Mulumba and Chris Banjo. While none are starter material quite yet, each offers intriguing potential despite some weaknesses or inconsistency. At 6'3 and a sculpted 260 lbs., Mulumba looks the part of OLB more than any other player not named Clay Matthews. Both him and Bostick are lean, athletic players who, while still raw, make at least one ‘holy crap' play per practice. Another guy who's making it difficult to ignore him is Banjo. While not the most athletic, Banjo plays with a fire inspired by one of the more heartfelt stories to come from training camp. So far, that motivation has propelled him to second on the team in solo tackles. With another good game, he could propel himself to the 53-man roster.

Vince Young

With the release of Graham Harrell the other day, it would seem that Vince Young would be partying like it's 2008. Not so fast there, longhorn. While most assumed Young is now the de facto backup quarterback, the reality is that according to Jason Wilde, Young is still "competing with every backup who may be released in the next five days." Since a semi-competent showing against Seattle last week, Young has been less than impressive in practice, throwing two ugly picks this past Monday and struggling to fully grasp Mike McCarthy's playbook. Since Young has only been in town three weeks the latter part is somewhat excusable. But with the Packers, bad decision making isn't. Young will need to prove that he's a better quarterback than the one who couldn't make the Bills (the Bills!) roster to secure a spot in Green Bay.

McCarthy vs. Reid

Of all the hard-fought battles that will take place during this game, none will be more intense than Mike McCarthy vs. Andy Reid in what promises to be a good ol' fashioned bad-challenge-off. Who will throw the red flag at the most inopportune time? Who will look the most bewildered when they do? Who will have their players explain to them that no, you cannot challenge the length of halftime? So many possibilities. If this were a regular season game, Mike Pereira would be working overtime during this one.

Enjoy the game everyone.

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