Friday, August 28, 2009

Pack vs. Cards preview

The Pack goes to the Arizona desert tonight where the temperature today is supposed to be 114 degrees. But it's a dry heat.

Luckily, the game will be played indoors, where the temp will be modified juuuuusssst a bit.

What Packer fans are interested in seeing, though, is the temperature of the team. The third preseason game is typically viewed as the real final warm up before the regular season starts. Sure, there is one final preseason game. But some starters won't see any action at all in that game, or perhaps only a few tune up snaps. Don't want to risk injury, of course. Generally, that last game is a chance for the team to make their final determinations on bubble players. You know, those rookies, free agents and even veterans that just might not fit the Packers' plans, or find a spot on a highly competitive roster.

But back to tonight. Fans want to know whether or not the starting defense is for real. They haven't allowed a point in two preseason games while they have been on the field as a unit. OK, they've played the Browns and Bills, but still...

But against the NFC representative to last year's Super Bowl, it will be a bit different. The Pack's defense won't be a surprise to the Cardinals, as both the head coach and their running game coordinator come from the Steelers, where the 3-4 scheme arguably originated. And let's not forget the Cards starting QB is a grizzled veteran by the name of Kurt Warner, who has seen a few things in his day. Including regularly facing the 3-4 in practice.

So, this will be a good test of whether the defense is really as together as it has seemed to be, or whether they are pretenders at this point. Should be interesting.

As to the offensive side of things, head coach Mike McCarthy named his starting five linemen earlier this week. From left to right: Chad Clifton, Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, Josh Sitton, and Allen Barbre. McCarthy wants some continuity there, rather than the shuffling that has gone on the last few seasons. He also wants some size. While still focused on the zone running scheme, the staff has apparently recognized they also need some power blocking...particularly when the majority of the running backs are primarily "north-south" type runners; rookie free agent Tyrell Sutton being the real lone exception to the rule (and a good reason to keep him on the roster!).

Back up QB Brian Brohm will once again see plenty of action tonight as #2 back up Matt Flynn will be sitting this one out with the shoulder sprain suffered in last week's game. Brohm needs to have a productive game to perhaps retain his roster spot. Rumors have been circulating that the Packers have an interest in Tampa Bay's back up, Luke McCown. Whether the Packers would go with just 2 QBs on the final roster or whether they'd release Brohm and try to pick up McCown we'll have to wait to see.

Should be an interesting game tonight. Especially with first cuts coming up soon.

Go Pack Go!!!