Thursday, August 29, 2013
What to watch for: Packers at Chiefs
By Rob Demovsky
The Green Bay Packers close out the preseason on Thursday at Kansas City. Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn’t expected to play much, if at all, so here are some other things to watch for:
Backup QBs: Coach Mike McCarthy tried to convince anyone who would listen this week that Vince Young is still competing with B.J. Coleman for the backup job. But the Packers cut Graham Harrell last Saturday not because of anything Coleman did but rather because of the impressive touchdown drive Young put together last week against the Seattle Seahawks. It was the first indication that Young has given the Packers since he signed on Aug. 5 that he’s capable of running this offense with some degree of success. Coleman is at least a year away from being ready to play. The Packers will likely give Young the majority of the playing time against the Chiefs because they need to make him as game ready as possible in case anything happened to Rodgers.
Mason Crosby: I wrote on Tuesday that perhaps the best thing that could happen for the kicker is that there are no field goals to even attempt against the Chiefs, and I was only half joking. After the Packers cut two kickers in less than 36 hours earlier this week, it would seem at this point the only thing that Crosby could do is hurt his chances. After struggling last season and again early in training camp this year, Crosby appears to be in a good groove.
James Starks: After fumbling in Week 2 of the preseason at St. Louis, the fourth-year pro dropped to fifth on the running back depth chart. He played only four snaps -- and did not carry the ball -- the next week against the Seahawks. But DuJuan Harris’ season-ending knee injury suddenly put Starks back in play for a roster spot. The best thing that can be said about Starks, who has missed more games (26) than he has played in (22) during his first three NFL seasons, is that he is healthy. He missed only one practice this summer, and that was because of an illness.
Jeremy Ross: The backup receiver helped his chances of winning the return job with a 33-yard kickoff return and an 11-yard punt return against Seattle last week, but he still has work to do in order to convince the Packers that they should take Randall Cobb off returns and let him focus solely on offense. Ross also is not a lock to make the team as a receiver. He could use one more dynamic kick return to secure his spot.
Players on the bubble: Can Chris Banjo hold on to the No. 4 safety spot? Who is the fifth receiver? Or the backup center? Or the tight ends behind Jermichael Finley? With few, if any, starting spots still realistically up for grabs, it’s these final roster spots that will be determined against the Chiefs.