Saturday, August 17, 2013

Packers 2013 Preseason Game 2: Green Bay butts heads with the Rams

As you may note if you are a regular reader of, it's been a week since our last post. That article was very long post-mortem of the Packers shut out loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Frankly, it took yours truly a week to recover. Man, that was a clunker no matter how you looked it. And I know...because I looked at it every which way, as you'll see if you look again at that post.

Anyway, in the interim between that post and this one, I hope you've been checking in on all the goings on related to the Packers via our Amazing 2nd Page. That's your one-stop channel for more than you'd probably ever need -- or want -- to know about the Packers, from both the pro sport writers and sports networks as well as the great fans who help make up Packer blogger-land.

So what's the prognosis about tonight's game, which kicks off in less than one hour? Well, with a nod to Jerry Seinfeld, it is not Prognosis Negative. Rather, I think you'll see a much more inspired team this evening. Last week, other than the first series from the starting offense, the game was a flat and uninspired performance on both sides of the ball. CB Davon House, who got burned a couple times on the night, manned up during the week and even said it was his worst performance ever. That's the kind of shock therapy realization that can serve someone well all season long. Good to get that after the first preseason game and not later on in the regular season.

Who needs to show something extra tonight?
Quite a few players, at least judging by last week's performance.

Backup QB Graham Harrell has to show a lot more than an ability to throw underneath to his check-down receivers every time he passes. He is going to have to open it up and look downfield more. A lot more. Expect to see the majority of snaps go to him and Vince Young tonight. With an extra week of practice under his belt, it will really be interesting to see how Young does. He had a few good moments -- and deep throws -- in practice this week, so it will be most interesting to see his progress in the Packers system. While B.J. Coleman may get a few snaps, it seems more and more evident that he's likely to be the odd man out in the backup race for quarterback. Our fan poll (see the righthand column) clearly showed a preference for Young being Aaron Rodgers primary backup...for what that's worth.

It's likely that rookie RB Eddie Lacy will be held out again this week with his hamstring issue. Penciled-in depth chart starter DuJuan Harris is also likely not to see much if any action, just coming off the PUP list. That leaves a lot of potential carry action for Alex Green and Johnathan Franklin, in particular. Green will be given a lot of opportunities to show that he still has his pre-ACL tear burst. It was rumored at times throughout the week that Green's name was being floated as possible trade bait; to whom and for whom were not clear.

WR Randall Cobb is nursing a bicep injury and likely will not play this evening. That opens up more room for backup receivers Jeremy Ross and rookie surprise Tyrone Walker, who made a positive impression against the Cardinals. The knock on Ross is his inconsistency. Talent is no question. Hanging on to the ball consistently...question. As a kick and punt returner, it's his job to lose; head coach Mike McCarthy does not want to be in a position to have to put Randall Cobb back as the primary returner. Let's see if Ross seizes the opportunity given to him tonight.

Johnny Jolly should again see a fair amount of playing time. The defensive line is a crowded place right now. He played well last week in his first game action in three years. But he's competing against some younger guys. He's got the know-how and, his teammates say, he's got the desire. Can he put that desire and physicality back on the field in a way even close to what he was a few years back? We'll see.

There are lots of places to look for insights tonight. Let's hope the good surprises outweigh the bad, whether or not the Packers come out with a "W". Oh, and also let's hope the Pack escapes without any injuries. That would be good too, wouldn't it?