How will no preseason affect the Packers?
Just like other professional sports leagues during this national pandemic, the NFL is trying to find the safest way to start the regular season. The NFL has decided to follow the MLB’s return to play plan rather than the NBA or NHL.
Games will be played in teams’ respective stadiums with no fans, rather than the whole league playing at one bubble site. Due to this, the NFL last week announced the cancellation of all preseason games.
The four preseason games are used for evaluation. In the preseason, we get our first glance at rookies and competitive position battles. Those who perform well in preseason are typically the players that make the final 53-man roster.
Without the preseason, Week 1 of the regular season will be the first game action for all 32 teams. Let’s take a look at how no preseason games will affect the Green Bay Packers this season.
The signing of Devin Funchess this offseason was supposed to help solidify the number two wide receiver position for the Packers. However, this past week, Funchess decided to opt out of playing in the 2020-21 season.
Now the Packers, who didn’t address the receiver need in the draft, are back hoping one of their young receivers on the roster makes a production leap.
It would’ve been nice to see who asserted themselves amongst the remaining receivers on the roster. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both showed flashes last season.
Lazard had major touchdown catches in both games versus the Detroit Lions. Meanwhile, Valdes-Scantling had over 130 receiving yards in Week 7 versus the now-Las Vegas Raiders.
Whoever performed best in the third preseason game where starters typically play the longest, likely would’ve started opposite Davante Adams in Week 1.
Hopefully, Green Bay can acquire a small and quick receiver who can operate in the slot before the season begins.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers rely on young talent and players who they just recently acquired. Although they were standouts last season, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, and Za’Darius Smith are only in their second year with the Packers.
In addition, Green Bay signed Christian Kirksey to replace Blake Martinez who signed with the New York Giants in free agency. At middle linebacker, Kirksey is supposed to be a coach on the field. Yet, with no preseason games, he cannot get accustomed to playing with his teammates around him.
For members of the secondary like Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, and Darnell Savage, the cancellation of preseason games hurt. These guys aren’t even out of their rookie contracts yet, so the more reps they see, the better they’ll get.
Ultimately, the Packers have continuity where it matters most, at the quarterback position and head coach. For teams with new quarterbacks or head coaches, having no preseason games will hurt them in the early portion of the regular season.