Packers Preseason – Will These Questions be Answered?

Packers open the 2014 preseason with another successful Family Night
Packers open the 2014 preseason with another successful Family Night

Am I one of the only ones? I like Preseason! I look forward to it. When else can you see how the development of players is progressing? Did that second year player take a step up? How does that last years injured player look?

How often do the back ups and future back ups get extended playing time? Seeing the second team out there on both sides of the ball, even the 3rd teamers can be entertaining. Those second and 3rd teamers are in many cases the future of the team.
Depth is a key part of having a real contender and we get to see them in more than just a few snaps.

I want to know who is the best 2nd team OT, Center, Guard? Who will the rotation of Defensive linemen to be built out of? Who is the 3rd, 4th, 5th Wide Receiver? Does the OLB group have enough talent to keep a good rotation the field even without Matthews?

At Safety does Richardson push for playing time? How has Hyde made the transition? At TE who starts? What players are really pushing to get playing time?

And what I like most is seeing anyone of the young players giving it everything to just make the practice squad and some times a older player trying to keep his job.

Some of the battles I am most interested in are Sherrod Vs. Baktiari, most have written off Sherrod and handed the starting job to Baktiari. I am not one of them. Any time you have a first round pick, a Prototypical NFL LT at 6-6 321# and now healthy, he should in no way be written off. In the least he gives them a Swing tackle that will be the best they have had since Ted Thompson has been GM and really long before that. Tretter and Linsley is one of the most important battles of this camp.

Who makes it as the back up OG’s? How does Barclay look at OG, I think he can be a Pro Bowl OG.

One of the big questions to me is how will Peppers be listed on the depth chart. As a Olb or a DE. He has been working primarily at OLB and that is understandable, he has not played that position.

The elephant DE is something the Packers have not used before, but Peppers has done that most of his career. So with that you have Matthews, Neal, Perry, Mulumba, Palmer, Bradford and Elliot and Hubbard all OLB’s. They will keep 4 or 5 Olb’s. You have 5 players fighting for what most likely will be one or two spots, one is a 4th round pick this year and two others have NFL playing time.

The defensive line change is a huge part of the defense being better. I don’t care if you have all pro’s behind them, if the Defensive line does not do the job the defense does not take a step up. Can you tell I am all about the Lines on both sides of the ball being the key to everything. Gone are the Jolly, Pickett type Defensive linemen. I have bitched for years now that Raji should never play DE. His best play and most productive time on the field has been at NT.

All indications are that the defensive line is going to be more one gap attacking type of defense. Raji fits that better then any other position. And quite frankly he is fighting for his NFL life.

Jones stayed in Green Bay all off season. Boyd is one of those second year step up guys too, do they both take that step? Thorton is a perfect one gap DE/NT I think he can play both. Guion will be interesting to see play. Does the team now have a real rotational NT to go with Raji to keep him fresh? And a key question is who do they find to go with Daniels in Nickel and Dime? Daniels is another player I think should not play DE, and would best be played in rotation to keep him nasty.

CB is very competitive, Safety is now competitive with the addition of HHCD and Hyde. There has been a lot of good talk about Richardson, he gives the team a different strong Safety type. One of the things the Capers defense has been missing is interchangeable Safeties, they will have that now, not only interchangeable Safeties, but Safeties that can slide to the slot and play CB too.

One question that has been talked to death is the ILB position, we can pretty much tell who will be the starters. But for me I want to see Barrington, has he taken that second year step? Has Lattimore continued his development and push both Jones and Hawk hard or at least earn rotational, situational playing time? Does my favorite UDFA ILB Jake Doughty make a push to stay with the team.

Lots of questions out there, Lots will be answered in those preseason games. That’s why I like preseason.

  • Archie

    I’m with you – my favorite time of the football year for all the reasons you stated.

  • Robert Patreus

    Great article…mirroring many of my thoughts…Every year there are three or four surprises of players who get cut and UDFAs who make the squad. Do not be surprised if Guion gets cut. He hasn’t practiced. Not a good sign…Also, how many WRs do we keep, who makes the ’53’ and who slides onto the practice squad?

  • John Galt III

    Glad to see Favre and the Pack getting together. Favre’s number 4 will be retired. It should be despite the end of career nonsense. That will be forgotten just as Jim Taylor leaving to play for the Saints.

  • Archie

    I think it’s ludicrous to compare the two situations or people. You’re not a Packer fan, you’re a Favre fan. The stench of Favre shall last 4ever with many Packer fans. No former Packer came close to the treachery of Lorenzo Favre. I spit in his eye!

  • http://TalkinPackers Yoop

    Now that is one of those interesting Packer fan splits. I am of both minds On Favre. Pisses me off with the stuff he pulled and yet can’t help but like so much of what he did.
    Don’t know if I will ever forgive him for one and quit liking so much of the other.
    Lets get back to the 2014 team.
    Watching Family night, I really liked what I saw from a few of those UDFA’s types.
    Pennel moves very well for a big man, Rajion Neal is a talented back. OLB is DEEP! So is CB.
    Safety is going to be a whole different animal this year.
    You could see in a lot of plays that the defense is going to be a much more aggressive penetrating type for the Dlinemen.
    Can’t wait for the Titans.

  • Since ’61

    Yoop – I also enjoy the preseason and learning how the various position battles play out. However, I do not enjoy preseason games. I hate the idea that A. Rodgers, Lacy, Nelson, Cobb and other starters are exposed to serious injury, possibly by a desperate player with no chance to make their team. I would prefer if the league moved to more practices or scrimmages with less preseason games. Allow more practices and reduce the number of preseason games to 2. The problem with my approach is that preseason games are 100% profit for the teams and the league. So the league will not change. The players should have negotiated for fewer preseason games rather than fewer practices during the last CBA. I am interested in how the Packers resolve their many questions for this year’s team, but I am not looking forward to the preseason games. I just root for no injuries. I don’t care about the score or who wins. I just want the team to come through healthy, so that the team can resolve their position questions with the best players rather than plug ins because the best players have been lost for no good reason. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • G

      I liked how Lombardi handled the preseason. He used it to evaluate the rookies/new players, he always said he knew what the veterans could do and wanted to learn more about the new guys so he played them more! He could care less who won in the preseason it was an evaluation period.

      • Stroh

        That’s the develop part of the draft and develop program the Packers employ now. The coaches know what our current vets can do, so mostly the preseason and training camp is about the young guys developing and letting the vets do their thing. Sometimes you’ll see a vet have to fight for his starting job, but not too often.

  • Stroh

    During the offseason I really look forward to training camp and preseason games. After 2 preseason games, I’m no longer satisfied and need the regular season.

    Always Jones for the next fix till the regular season begins!

  • Icebowler

    The preseason is more important to true “draft and develop” teams like the Packers than it is to most teams. Our D & D philosophy has already been damaged by the recent CBA. The league’s push to increase the regular season to 18 games by eliminating more preseason games will further erode the D & D strategy. It will only work if the NFL develops a functional “Minor League”.

    • Since ’61

      Icebowler – good point about minor league for the eventual 18 game season. But I don’t know if the owners will ever go for the additional costs. Thanks, Since ’61

  • GBPDAN

    “The defensive line change is a huge part of the defense being better. I don’t care if you have all pro’s behind them, if the Defensive line does not do the job the defense does not take a step up. Can you tell I am all about the Lines on both sides of the ball being the key to everything.”

    I agree 100%. It’s all about the trenches, the battle up front. If you don’t win in the trenches, every thing else falls apart. I fell good about the Oline and its depth, although the jury is still out at the center position. What I’m more concerned about is the Dline in the 3-4 base on run downs.How does a one gap DL work in 34 base? Dlineman shooting gaps in the 34 run base will not work because you leave other gaps unprotected. The one gap will work when the elephant end is played or on passing downs.
    I’m curious to see how this D does this year against the run with these smaller Dlineman. A side from Raji, the DL is a lot smaller this year.

  • http://TalkinPackers Yoop

    It is really simple, I think we will see both two gap and one gap.
    But with one gap, the linemen is playing one gap, the NT playing on the Center is playing the “0” position he will then take the Center straight on. Or he will play the one position and play either side of the Center.
    In one gap he plays one side or the other, and two gap he is responsible for both sides. That will go down the line with each player having a different gap. One gap is more aggressive, get in that gap and get to the QB or the running back. Where in two gap the linemen is taking on the player in front of him and just trying to control him.
    One gap is much more read and react. More disruptive.
    In the 3-4 which ever gap is open will be filled by a Linebacker or Safety.
    As for the smaller linemen the mix the Packers have are much better suited to playing the 3-4 base.
    They have gone to the more prototypical 3-4 DE’s for base. Taller, 280 to 290 pounds, Quick and more athletic.
    Think of the best Steeler Defenses, one gap, athletic DE’s, bigger OLB’s.

  • funcrusher

    I enjoy the preseason very much. It’s always fun watching the future stars of the team, along with the young guys who are just hoping to earn a spot on the practice squad. They may not count in records, but to many of the young players, these are the most important games of their lives.

    The players I’m most excited to watch this preseason: R. Rodgers, Bradford, Sherrod, Thornton, Tretter, Janis, Richardson, Barrington

  • PackEyedOptimist

    My favorite game of the year is the first preseason game; my second favorite game of the season is the first regular season game. 40 years of being a draftnik makes me love watching the rookies and 2-3 year players development. And DYC, MY guy this year is/was also Doughty. Sadly, I’ve heard nothing about how he’s been doing. I felt his college tapes were the most impressive of any Packer rookie. He looked a LOT like Ryan Shazier (who I had hoped we’d get). He looked much faster and more instinctive than anyone on the field, and he is physically perfect for special teams. I also see Bradford as a “perfect” special teams player. The addition of those two could easily fill the loss of Bush in my opinion.