In the vast majority of cases, one preseason game will not make or break a player’s chances for a contributing role or a spot on the season-opening roster. However, their performances make up part of the larger picture, something the Green Bay Packers’ coaches will consider as the preseason nears its conclusion.
With roster spots on the line, certain players stood out during the Packers’ 33-21 exhibition loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, though not all in a positive matter.
Injuries and a looming suspension kept Aaron Jones out of the spotlight during the offseason, but the second-year running back looked fully recovered during his preseason debut. Despite shoddy offensive-line play, Jones managed 55 yards on 12 touches, including a 13-yard, bounce-out scamper that put his balance on display and set up his 1-yard touchdown on the following play.
Jones will soon begin his two-game ban, during which time Jamaal Williams projects to see the majority of the carries. But when Jones returns, he could eventually make a push for the starting job.
While JK Scott put his leg on display throughout training camp, he didn’t quite put his potential on display during the Packers’ first two preseason outings. He started to turn the corner a week ago against the Oakland Raiders, and he delivered in a big way on Friday. He boomed four punts for a 52-yard average, including a moonshot with 5.16 seconds of hang time just before halftime. He even registered a tackle during the second-half opening kickoff.
Green Bay expected a lot of Scott, and it the team put its faith in the right punter. With the early stumbles apparently out of the way, he looks ready for the regular season.
Robert Tonyan Jr.
The player known as “Big Bob” on the Acme Packing Company slack channel put together another solid performance in the preseason finale. Robert Tonyan Jr. caught four passes for 31 yards and a touchdown, but those numbers don’t paint the entire picture. On a poorly placed throw from Boyle, Tonyan made a mid-air adjustment to corral the football over the shoulder of his defender.
Even with all the necessary caveats out of the way -- the Chiefs played almost exclusively reserves, Kansas City defensive coordinator Bob Sutton did not appear to game plan for Green Bay’s offense -- Tonyan impressed again. Whether he makes the final cut or not, he’ll have a job on someone’s roster or practice squad to start the season.
Vince Biegel’s time with the Wisconsin Badgers makes him a favorite for many Packers fans, but he hasn’t come close to replicating the success of his collegiate career with Green Bay. That trend continued Friday night, with the Chiefs’ backup offensive line pushing Biegel 5 to 10 yards off the ball throughout the night. The former fourth-round pick did nothing to narrow the gap between himself and the Packers’ other reserve pass rushers.
Because Clay Matthews and Nick Perry tend to miss time with injuries, the Packers can’t skimp on depth at outside linebacker. That necessity probably allows Biegel to survive cuts and make the 53-man roster. Don’t confuse that with faith from the front office. Right now, Biegel’s selection looks like a misfire.
While Trevor Davis hasn’t played a snap during the preseason before Friday night, a mistake-free night might have given the Packers’ coaching staff just enough reason to bring him onto the final roster. Davis did an adequate job on the game-opening kickoff, but he fumbled his first punt return during the second quarter.
The third-year receiver does play other roles on special teams, so he could overcome his return gaffe. Still, Davis hasn’t contributed much offensively during his career, a trend that appears unlikely to change given the cavalcade of wideouts Green Bay selected in the draft. Davis’ ball security issues should cost him come Saturday.
Given the Packers’ investment at cornerback this offseason, it seemed highly unlikely that Josh Hawkins could have played his way onto the roster again this year. Still, the third-year corner’s poor preseason finale might have done serious damage to his prospects of latching on with another team. Despite possessing elite-level speed, Hawkins managed to let Byron Pringle get behind him for a 62-yard haul. That continues Hawkins’ downward trajectory since he flashed a preseason ago.