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Final Preseason Practice: Injuries, Barnett and Matthews, and Final Preseason Roster Battles

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Tuesday was the last open practice of training camp. From Tom Pelissero, the 200 fans that watched it gave them a standing ovation. It's been a great preseason and training camp.

Speaking of Tom, he provided a great run down of who won't play on Thursday night. CB Charles Woodson and CB Al Harris won't play; coaches' decision. The players battling injuries won't play either; RB Brandon Jackson, S Charlie Peprah, CB Will Blackmon, S Aaron Rouse, DE Justin Harrell, and WR Greg Jennings.

Anyone not mentioned above will play. That means it's the first live action for LB Clay Matthews and LB Nick Barnett. Although they've missed the first three preseason games, depending on how they both play at Tennessee, it's possible they could both start Week 1. Back in 2006, LB Brady Poppinga won the starting OLB job after missing the first three preseason games. If Barnett is healthy, is there any justification for starting LB Brandon Chillar ahead of him? Does Matthews deserve a chance to start Week 1 after missing most of the preseason?

From Mike McCarthy:

(Do you still have a lot of evaluating to do?) 
Oh yeah, I think we have a lot of evaluating to do, especially the special teams part of it.

Special teams might be the reason they keep FB John Kuhn over rookie FB Quinn Johnson, although according to Tom Silverstein, it sounds like the competition is still open. I hope they don't release or take away the starting job from FB Korey Hall, I think the running game is much better with him in as the lead blocker, but he could easily become the odd man out.

According to Pete Dougherty, Rouse and Peprah are battling for one roster spot at safety, but those guys are both in danger. It's not their fault, but it's hard to evaluate someone when they're not playing. And the team would be fine with CB/S Jarrett Bush and S Anthony Smith as the only backup safeties. I'd hate to see them release Rouse.

In the final preseason game against Tennessee last season, QB Aaron Rodgers and the 1st team offense only stuck around for one play. So it's lots of playing time for QB Brian Brohm while QB Matt Flynn continues to nurse his sore shoulder. Pete Dougherty discussed the possibility of claiming former New England QB Kevin O'Connell, but he couldn't possibly be an improvement over Brohm? Maybe my judgment is clouded because I'm a big Brohm fan.

Mitchell has admitted his mistake, but I can't help myself. Cincinnati finally signed OL Andre Smith last week after a lengthy contract dispute and almost immediately he breaks his foot. I'm so happy they landed DT B.J. Raji instead.