Packers vs. Chiefs: 3 Not-So-Obvious Things to Watch All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Packers Cornerback Sam Shields
Packers Cornerback Sam Shields

Seems like every writer, blogger and fan forum has a “5 things to watch” or “3 things to look for” post to preview an upcoming game. Usually, the items are fairly general and rather obvious; things like, “the offensive line needs to pass protect better  and the defense needs to create turnovers.” For many football fans, that’s good enough.

But you’re not just any NFL fan are you? No, you’re a Packers fan. And if you’re a repeat visitor to this web site, there’s a good chance you’re a rather rabid Packers fan that knows a thing or two about the game of football. From what you readers tell me, you like to read about Xs and Os, break down plays on film and discuss the more subtle aspects of the game of football.

I’m a firm believer in “give the people what they want,” so our “3 things” post will strive to be a little different. We’re going to delve into the not-so-obvious aspects of the upcoming games and give you some very specific things to look for.

Here are three players to watch in this game:

1) Sam Shields #37 – Shields regressed last season, partially because of increased responsibilities in coverage and run defense, according to CB coach Joe Whitt. Shields started slow in camp, then missed two games with an injury. Many Packers fans quickly soured on Shields, still irked from his disappointing play at the ending of last season.

Lately, however, his play is on the rise and the Packers are hopeful it continues. Shields has the one thing you can’t teach, the speed to make up for mistakes in coverage. With Davon House to be affected all season by a shoulder injury, Casey Hayward just too inexperienced and Jarret bush too valuable as a versatile fill-in, the Packers would much prefer to see Shields as the starter this season. What the Packers will be looking for this game is how Shields tackles a running back in the open field. You should watch for it too.

2) Jerron McMillian #22 – McMillian is in a two-man battle with MD Jennings to win the nickle safety position (when Charles Woodson will be moving to slot CB). But that’s not all – according to Dom Capers, the Packers have used him a bit at the dime cornerback spot (something I hadn’t noticed) and like what they’ve seen. I’ll be watching for #22 this game and how the Packers use him. This could open up a lot of possibilities in the Packers’ secondary.

3) Tim Masthay – Along with Mason Crosby, here’s the only starter you’ll see playing in the fourth quarter. Masthay is quickly developing into one of the top punters in the league and could be knocking on the Pro Bowl door in a year or two.  More than anything, he’s been doing a masterful job of keeping opposing teams guessing.

Sometimes he goes for hang time, sometimes he blasts line drive punts over a returner’s head and very often, make use of directional punting, keeping the ball away from certain returners or making it easier to cover them by pinning them up against a sideline. In addition, 23 of his 55 punts last season resulted in opposing teams starting inside the 20, one of the best averages in the league. Look for Masthay to get plenty of work Thursday night if the second team offense continues to struggle as it has.


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


13 thoughts on “Packers vs. Chiefs: 3 Not-So-Obvious Things to Watch

  1. Very nice list. I will also be watching:

    4) Boykin on returns (there’s your 6th receiver if they keep one).

    5) Datko and Barclay in pass pro. The Packers would dearly like to keep Sherrod on the 53 and not PuP, but unless one of these guys can be the 7th OL for a few weeks, they will have to keep Reggie Wells and potentially PuP Sherrod.

    The 4th preseason game — for truly rabid fanatics only. 🙂

    1. Good additions Ed. I’m still of the opinion we keep 9 OL (we’ll soon find out).
      Derf (who says “Sherrod is history”) – surely an ejaculation that is a little premature ?
      Mojo – I do see where you are coming from in calling for House to go on IR. He would probably be worse than Williams was last year, if he plays with the same severity of shoulder injury.

      However, I’m not sure anyone (except perhaps the team and House himself) know if his injury is of equal severity. Maybe it just needs a month or so to heal. I’d like to know more before I jump to one side of the fence on this.

      1. House would be a good candidate for the IR player that can be brought back later in the season – that rule was just passed today…

      2. Sherrod had a terrible camp last year, got a bad injury in the regular season, and the coaches have been mum about him ever since.

        I don’t know about history but I would say he’s on his way out.

        Act accordingly.

  2. I think Bush is best suited to be the second slot corner, with Heywood and Shields batteling for the starting corner.

  3. Regarding the secondary, I’d rather they shelve House on the IR for the year than have him play with one-arm like Tramon did last year. Not only will he have to wear a harness all year, but it will restrict him from raising his left arm above his shoulder. You cannot tell me a CB with such a severe limitation is going to play better the guy just below him in the pecking order who’s playing at near 100%. Sorry, don’t buy it. And as proof, I offer up Tramon, who is an exceptional talent when healthy, but sucked last year playing with one arm.

    Save the roster spot – and IR House now.

          1. House is debatable – depends on classification of injury. But why Bishop? he is certainly eligible. They would have to put him back on the 53 (per the one-time allowance) and cut someone else before then putting him back on IR. Dumb, but it could be done. I don’t think they will – they consider it a severe season-ending injury.

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