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’ coaching staff will consider as the preseason progresses.
During the Packers’ 22-21 exhibition defeat to the Oakland Raiders, a much-maligned receiver made a compelling case for a spot on the Packers’ 53-man roster.
A stinger sidelined Trevor Davis for two weeks, during which time some of the Packers’ younger wideouts narrowed the gap between him and them. However, the coaching staff never appeared to give up on Davis, who immediately returned to working with the first-team offense upon recovery. He rewarded that faith Thursday, producing nearly 100 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Davis’ speed and athleticism make him an attractive weapon in Matt LaFleur’s offense. As long as the fourth-year wideout can stay healthy the rest of the way, he stands in good position to make the squad.
Though Davis silenced many of his doubters Thursday night, Darrius Shepherd continued his strong preseason. He hauled in three catches for 40 yards including a beautiful, toe-tapping reception during the first half. The Packers’ crowded receiving corps could still push Shepherd to waivers come September, but that decision becomes harder with each standout performance he provides.
Chandon Sullivan rebounded from a mixed performance last week where he allowed a long touchdown to lead all Packers this week with four pass breakups. Like with Shepherd, the roster numbers don’t favor Sullivan at the moment. Still, given the general dearth of capable defensive backs, the Packers might find another team willing to trade before final cuts.
Tim Boyle - Coming out before DeShone Kizer for the first time this preseason, Tim Boyle had a fairly strong performance. Boyle remains unafraid to challenge defenses downfield and connected deep with Davis for the first touchdown of the night. Boyle did almost throw an interception in the first half, though that came as the result of his receiver stopping on his route. LaFleur praised the second-year quarterback in his postgame media availability.
JK Scott - While JK Scott never had to seriously worry about his roster status, he has rolled through this preseason like a savvy veteran. Thursday’s performance ranked as his best so far, booming seven punts for a 47.1 average.
The NFL’s credibility on player safety
Even before the field conditions pushed the Packers to sit a staggering 33 players Thursday night, the Raiders revealed their plans to bench their starters. That left few compelling players left for a Canadian audience that shelled out hundreds of dollars for their seats. Though one cannot hold the field responsibility for every injury, several Packers did hurt themselves Thursday. Rashan Gary left the game with an apparent neck and/or head issue, Equanimeous St. Brown suffered a serious-looking leg injury, and Curtis Bolton ended up on crutches. This travesty came roughly a month after substandard field conditions contributed to an ankle injury Cincinnati Bengals star A.J. Green suffered on a rented practice field in Dayton, Ohio.