Mike McCarthy. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Playing Packers Starters Will Be a Balancing Act

 

After Mike McCarthy‘s press conference today, one message was clear. The Green Bay Packers coach needs a lot more information on his players before any roster decisions can be made.

“We have guys who haven’t practiced all camp. Guys who haven’t practiced in the offseason. We have a whole bunch of stuff going on.”

It’s clear the coach isn’t satisfied with his team at this point in camp, but he shouldn’t be. There’s still a lot of football left to be played, and the Packers are still weeks away from their season opener against he San Francisco Forty-Niners.

Traditionally, the third preseason game is the team’s dress rehearsal for the season, and the starters play at least a half, sometimes well into the third quarter. It’s not usually a game for the reserves to get a lot of looks and earn a roster spot with their performance.

The third preseason game is usually the best indicator of what you have in your team heading into the season, and the Packers will be faced with a tough challenge against a stout Seattle Seahawks team.

But how much should the Packers starters really play this Friday night? Can Green Bay afford more injuries?

I don’t suspect the starters will play the typical amount of a third preseason game. Maybe a half. But it’s not because the team wants to prevent more injuries.

There’s still way too many players on the roster that haven’t seen playing time because they’ve been out with an injury and have just recently returned to practice.

Cornerback Casey Hayward practiced for the first time this week. Andrew Quarless just returned from missing over two weeks with a leg injury. Rookie receivers Kevin Dorsey and Charles Johnson will play their first game as a Packer this Friday, and DuJuan Harris–the Packers supposed starting running back–still has yet to play in the preseason.

The coaches will want to get good looks at these players in a game situation, and that is why the starters may not play as much we expect this Friday.

The Packers will want to see if Harris can handle the backfield responsibilities. If Quarless can make an impact in the passing game and prove to be an effective blocker, like he once was. If Hayward is still his playmaking self and can get back in fold for playing time at cornerback. And finally, if the rookie receivers have anything to offer and are worth keeping around, even if it’s just on the practice squad.

Many questions will be answered on Friday night when the Packers host the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field.

(To watch the rest of McCarthy’s press conference click on the link.)

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Tags: Andrew Quarless Casey Hayward Charles Johnson DuJuan Harris Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy Preseason

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