Packers at 49ers: Who We’ll Be Watching
Hey, everybody! It’s the preseason debut of Aaron Rodgers!
That’s what we’ve got to look forward to when the Green Bay Packers face the San Francisco 49ers tonight. Otherwise…
Preseason football. We’ve seen enough. Lets’ get on with it already.
Frankly, the Packers roster, save for maybe five spots, is probably determined by this point. Sure, someone can play really well in the last two preseason games and overtake someone for spot No. 53. Then that guy can have the honor being inactive for the next 16 weeks.
In other words, it doesn’t matter at this point, but here’s who we’ll be watching anyway.
Yes, Aaron Rodgers is one of those guys, but not really for his own play. We’d really like to see how the receivers play with QB1 on the field. The receivers haven’t really caught many balls this preseason because most of the QB reps have gone to guys who aren’t making the roster. It will be interesting to finally get an idea of who Rodgers wants to throw the ball to.
Since we’ve already given the starting inside linebacker jobs to Sam Barrington and Blake Martinez, there’s now a real possibility that Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas and Carl Bradford are competing for two spots. Sure, the Packers could keep five inside backers, but we’d say only four spots are guaranteed at that position. Is it possible Ryan could be the odd man out after only one season? Not likely, but he hasn’t done himself any favors being sidelined with a hamstring injury for the first two games. Meanwhile, Thomas and Bradford have looked great.
A similar situation has developed at outside linebacker. Datone Jones has surpassed Jayrone Elliott. This was supposed to be Elliott’s breakout season, but he’s been a total non-factor. Elliott better start making plays stat or his ass is going to be on the street. The Packers have too much depth at this position and others to keep Elliott around another year based solely on potential.
This is a bottom-of-the-roster battle, but it appears the Packers have plenty of NFL-caliber safeties around right now. One and possibly two spots are going to come down to three guys — Chris Banjo, Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans. Banjo has the edge because of his stellar special teams play. Brice has made his presence known in both preseason games. Evans is the newcomer here. Others are saying he belongs on an NFL roster. Rare combination of speed and tackling ability, they say. Maybe we’ll stick around until the fourth quarter and take a look tonight.
Two guys who will have much more of an impact on the early season are rookie defensive linemen Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry. Neither has done anything of note in a game yet. In fact, Lowry just gets pushed around. However, the Packers are going to have to rely on one of these guys to start the first four games while Mike Pennel is suspended. Clark, especially, needs to turn it the fuck on and needs to turn it on now. That’s why you got drafted in the first round, big boy!