After eight consecutive years of being in the playoffs hunt at this time of the year, wins and losses won’t mean a lot when the Green Bay Packers play the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions to close out the season. Green Bay’s elimination from the postseason provides an opportunity to get some backups off the bench and see how they look in game conditions.
My guess for first up would be Vince Biegel. The Packers pass rush has been marginal this year, and the team’s top two sackers, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are injury prone. Whether Biegel can become a valuable pass rusher is important, because if it doesn’t appear he’ll ever excel, the Packers need to make drafting a primo pass rusher a high priority in the upcoming draft.
Many would say, regardless of Biegel’s prospects, this should be the team’s highest draft priority. So let’s see how Biegel performs in extended playing time. Here’s another argument: the Vikings game could end up being a grudge match. If so, Biegel might be just the kind of guy you want in such a battle. He’s relentless, he’s physical, he’s emotional, and he’s nasty.
Montravius Adams, the rookie defensive tackle from Auburn, has only seen spot action in five games – despite being drafted in the third round. He has a tackle in each of the last two games he’s played. I would think he’d get a bunch of veteran Quinton Dial’s snaps.
Michael Clark should get some playing time. His size, 6’7” and 212 pounds, makes him intriguing right off the bat. His switchover from basketball to football is quite recent – there’s not much game film from his one year on the Marshall football squad – he caught only 37 passes, but for a fine average of 17.1 yards. He went undrafted, then impressed the Packers in the preseason, was waived, then added to the practice squad, and has been on the active roster since December 1. The Packers should check him out and decide whether he is a worthwhile developmental project.
It’s also possible that receiver Yancey DeAngelo could be moved up from the practice squad for a look-see. He’s a fifth-rounder out of Purdue.
The Packers have put three years into developing Brett Hundley, and two years into Joe Callahan. Now that the team has mothballed Aaron Rodgers for the final two games, will Callahan see some action, or will the Packers continue to play Hundley?
Though too little too late, Hundley had been progressing, though most unevenly: his passer ratings in his last five game were 110.7, 43.6, 134.3, 48.3, and 111.2. Those last two games were overtime wins. Hundley has plenty of critics, but you don’t have multiple ratings above 110, or a 134.3 rating against the tough Steelers’ defense, if you don’t have some talent and promise.
My guess would be that Callahan will get some token snaps, but that Green Bay doesn’t view him as anything but a backup – and third-string at that. Though his arm strength is well below average, he had a nice preseason a year ago.
Regarding the pool of defensive backs, we might get to see more of (roughly in order): Marwin Adams, Jermaine Whitehead, Lenzy Pipkins, Demetri Goodson (should he miraculously be healthy enough), Donatello Brown, and maybe even practice squad CB Raysean Pringle.
Who else is there? Rookie running back Devante Mays. Newly-acquired center Dillon Day. Tackle Ulrick John. Two hundred sixty-two pound linebacker Chris Odom. G/T Adam Pankey?