The fourth and final week of the 2013 NFL preseason is upon us and it couldn’t have came any more quickly. A week ago the Green Bay Packers hosted the Seattle Seahawks in a possible NFC Championship preview and the two teams kicked the snot out of each other.
Both teams were impressive at least in their physicality – even though it was just an exhibition game.
There were a number of winners for the Packers in their 17-10 loss to the Seahawks last Friday night.
The first real winner was obviously quarterback Vince Young. Young completed six of his seven passes for 41 yards and also added two beautiful scrambles for an additional 39 yards. With the exception of one poor throw that should’ve been intercepted, I thought Young played well in moving the Packers’ offense up and down the field. For a guy who has only been with the team for two weeks, Young looked calm and collected delivering balls on time and on target. Young was so impressive that it led to the release of Graham Harrell the following day.
Harrell has since signed with the New York Jets.
Another winner from last Friday’s game was Alex Green. Green has been on the roster bubble since the Packers drafted Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin in the draft this year. Green had one of his most impressive runs as a Packer against Seattle. Green took a shotgun pitch and made two beautiful cuts on his way to gaining 31 yards. Green didn’t look particularly fast as he couldn’t break away completely from the defenders, but the quick moves he made to get into the open field was what was impressive.
The Packers will now turn their attention to the Kansas City Chiefs as they continue to gear up for the final roster cuts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 8. Last time the Packers traveled to Arrowhead Stadium they were 13-0 and riding high back in 2011. They would leave that day 13-1.
Though he won’t be playing, Derek Sherrod returns to the field that has since cost him the last year and a half of his career after a gruesome broken leg suffered in that game back in 2011.
After a pathetic performance in week one of the preseason, the Packers have put together back-to-back performances against the St. Louis Rams and the Seahawks, they will look to do the same against the Chiefs.
Here’s what we will be watching tonight in Kansas City.
5.) Limited time for the starters
As to be expected in the last preseason game, most of the Packers’ stars will not be playing, that would include Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews (most likely) and a few others. It will be up to Vince Young and B.J. Coleman to battle it out for the backup quarterback position – a position in which Young has a significant lead. Look for Young and Coleman to each play a half as they try to show the coaching staff who should win the job.
With the starters not slated to play much, if at all, it will be important for roster bubble players to shine. Players such as rookies Charles Johnson, Chris Banjo, Tyrone Walker, Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba. These guys need to make impact plays in order to stick around in Green Bay.
4.) Last chance for D.J. Williams?
D.J. Williams has been fading at the wrong time in Packers’ camp. Williams was once considered to be the next Jermichael Finley for the Packers. However, that hasn’t quite panned out. Williams is a gym class hero – the type of player who only performs in practice. He gets people excited, then disappoints in the game. It has become very frustrating to watch Williams as of late. He’s dropped a handful of balls in the preseason, he’s missed blocking assignments and besides a few catches last week has been invisible.
There is one name that all Packers’ fans should get familiar with: Brandon Bostick. Bostick is my favorite unknown Packer. Many Packers fans don’t even know the name or the position he plays (tight end). Bostick is a former college wide receiver at Division II Newberry College in South Carolina and at 6-3, 245 pounds, is an athletic monster. Bostick went undrafted in 2012 before receiving an offer from the Packers to come to training camp. He impressed the Packers and earned a spot on the practice squad. This preseason Bostick hasn’t been particularly productive, but we have seen flashes from him. With no real backup tight end to Finley, keep an eye on how Bostick handles the extended playing time against the Chiefs.
Even with DuJuan Harris put on injured reserve this week, either Alex Green or James Starks will get cut this weekend. In my opinion, Green is miles ahead of Starks in the competition and the Packers have even cut Starks’ playing time in the preseason down to nothing the last two games. It is evident that Starks is on his way out. It’s just a matter of time before the Packers make it official. Watch for Green to get a lot of carries Thursday night along with Franklin and for Starks to continue to be phased out in Green Bay.
2.) Will Micah Hyde continue to impress?
Micah Hyde has arguably been the most impressive player in Packers’ training camp in 2013. Hyde has pushed Davon House and Jarrett Bush way down the depth chart and is sitting right up there with Sam Shields, Casey Hayward and Tramon Williams. Hyde has by far played the most downs of any Packer in the preseason and that shouldn’t change Thursday night. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy may have found another late round gem in Hyde.
Though Hyde isn’t the fastest corner in the world, and that has been made clear a few times this preseason, he possess tremendous ball skills and tackling skills. I hate to say it, but when he is lined up in the box in run defense he moves like Charles Woodson. His ability to use his smaller frame has been very impressive and I’m excited to watch him grow in the Packers’ defense.
1.) Franklin’s time to shine
As Hyde has been the most impressive Packer this offseason, rookie fourth round pick Johnathan Franklin has been the most disappointing. Franklin was suppose to be the starting running back in Green Bay, according to many scouts after the draft. However, that hasn’t come to fruition. The game appears to be moving too fast for Franklin early in his career. Though he isn’t in danger of being cut, his playing time is starting to dwindle. It’s unfair to be overly harsh on Franklin as he hasn’t played with the starters at all during the preseason and that’s tough on a young player, however, at the same time, Franklin has to start showing some signs of life and it needs to happen Tonight.
There you have it, five things we will be watching tonight when the Packers travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.
Keep it here at Lombardi Ave for more pre- and post- game coverage.