Friday, August 22, 2014
W2W4: Green Bay Packers
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers (1-1) play their first of two home preseason games on Friday against the Oakland Raiders (1-1). It will be nationally televised on CBS.
Here are three things to watch:
1.Rodgers' last tuneup: In the third preseason game last year, coach Mike McCarthy pulled quarterback Aaron Rodgers after one series -- a 10-play drive on which Rodgers completed 4 of 7 passes for 41 yards before Mason Crosby kicked a 38-yard field goal. A year earlier, Rodgers played the entire first half in preseason game No. 3. All McCarthy would say this year is that Rodgers will play more than one series against the Raiders. After sitting out the preseason opener, Rodgers played two series last Saturday at St. Louis and put up 10 points while completing 11 of 13 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown. Rodgers almost certainly won't play in next week's preseason finale against Kansas City so this will be his final tuneup before the season opener at Seattle on Sept. 4.
2. Rookie encores: Perhaps the biggest standouts against the Rams were rookies Jeff Janis and Jayrone Elliott. Janis, a seventh-round pick, caught one pass in his preseason debut, but it was a 34-yard touchdown on which he caught a short crossing route and showed off his 4.42-second 40-yard dash speed to outrun the St. Louis secondary. Meanwhile, Elliott, an undrafted free agent outside linebacker, had three sacks in a four-play stretch. Both earned increased playing time in practice this week and likely will get more opportunities to prove themselves against the Raiders.
3. Ex-Packers return: Two years ago, the Packers cut veteran safety Charles Woodson even after he offered to take a pay cut. This past offseason, they let veteran receiver James Jones walk in free agency. Both ended up with the Raiders. Granted, it's just a preseason game, but it will be interesting to see how much they have left in the tank, especially in Woodson's case. The Packers struggled to replace his playmaking in the back end of their defense last season and were forced to use their first-round pick this year to draft a safety.