Thursday, August 28, 2008

Packers vs. Titans preview

The Packers take on the Tennessee Titans tonight - less than 30 minutes from now actually -- at Lambeau Field. Starters are expected to play about 10 plays for the Packers, while the Titans' starters, according to head coach Jeff Fisher, may play into the second half.

The key for tonight's game is the number of players playing for roster spots. Teams have to be down to the league-mandated 53-man squad by Saturday. That means about 20 players will be cut within the next two days.

As has been noted here in prior posts, the most competitive area is at running back where there are reportedly two spots open, with three players competing for them. Noah Herron, Vernand Morency and Kregg Lumpkin will be looking to perform well tonight. Another area where tough cuts will likely be made is at linebacker. Again, too many players available for one too few spots.

One area that was originally thought of as a place of depth was defensive line. But with lots of injuries, some of the lesser-knowns need to step up. In doing so, they may also be earning a spot long term. Particularly if they can exhibit a pass rush, as well as stop the run...neither of which the Packers have shown much of an ability to do yet this preseason.

It will also be intriguing to watch the two rookie backup quarterbacks. Neither Brian Brohm nor Matt Flynn have provided much confidence that, should something happen to starter Aaron Rodgers, the Packers will still have an effective offense. One or the other needs to demonstrate consistency tonight, and they both will be given plenty of opportunity to do so given Rodgers' limited playing time.

The final score won't matter. Getting starters out without injuries and having players -- especially for the 6 spots which head coach Mike McCarthy says are still up in the air -- step up and claim their spot decisively will be the key outcomes tonight.