NOW it’s officially football season.
The Green Bay Packers will play their first game since winning Super Bowl XLV when they take on the Browns in Cleveland on Saturday night.
While the preseason contest has no official meaning, there will be plenty to watch for tomorrow. These five headlines will be broken down in a post tomorrow following the game.
Which cornerbacks will step up with top three battling injuries?
Starters Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams both worked with the scout team rather than the first team Thursday night, which could indicate that they will sit out Saturday night. Sam Shields was injured on the second to last play of practice last night and reserves Davon House and Brandian Ross have missed the entire practice week battling hamstring injuries. That leaves just Jarrett Bush, Josh Gordy and Pat Lee as the only three healthy cornerbacks for Saturday night.
While head coach Mike McCarthy said there is a chance a few of the injured cornerbacks will be ready for Saturday night, this is a huge opportunity for Gordy and Ross (if he can play). Brandon Underwood’s tenure in Green Bay is likely over as he is expected to miss two weeks with a knee injury, and that could open up an extra spot at the position. Both Gordy and Ross have played well but, if Gordy can play well with the first team defense, it could give him the upper hand in making the roster.
Healthy? 2010 injured can prove it tomorrow night
One of the early headlines coming out of Packers training camp involves a tight end who fans did not get to see much of in 2010.
But it isn’t Jermichael Finley.
Instead, fifth round draft choice D.J. Williams has been showing off his impressive ball skills in seven-on-seven segments and individual drills, making fans believe that general manager Ted Thompson has once again struck gold in the middle rounds of the draft.
There’s no denying that Finley is a lock to start as long as he is healthy, but the departure of free agent Donald Lee and no apparent back-up could mean that Williams, a junior from Arkansas, could contribute in 2011.
Wondering if Williams defines Ted Thompson’s mantra of “Packer people”? ESPN’s E:60 ran a segment on Williams portraying his extremely difficult childhood. Growing up, Williams dealt with a drug-inflicted, abusive father and eventually escaped with his mother and sister to Arkansas, where the family of three began a new life.
The Green Bay Packers are World Champs! 11 days later and it still sounds as amazing as it did when Ben Roethlisberger threw an incomplete pass on fourth down with under a minute to go. With the season over, it’s time to give out grades to the 53-man roster. Injured players will get their own section later, but for now it’s about the 53 players who suited up in Dallas (OK, only 45 suited up but you know what I mean). Here’s the Packers’ offense year in review.
QB- Aaron Rodgers: Many expected an MVP-type season out of Rodgers, but Packers’ fans will have no problem living with a Super Bowl-type season. The numbers weren’t always there for Rodgers, who missed a game and a half, but he was near impeccable in the playoffs and was named the Super Bowl MVP, a fitting end to a “belt” of a season. GRADE: A
QB- Matt Flynn: Many laughed when an unnamed NFC scout said Flynn was the back-up in football, and Flynn’s pre-season did little to help that case. But an incredible showing against New England on Monday night, 24-of-37, 251 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, made everyone believers. If the Packers don’t trade him, they have a more than serviceable back-up should Rodgers miss any time in 2011. GRADE: B+
QB- Graham Harrell: Thankfully for Packers’ fans everywhere, we didn’t get to see what Harrell could do this season. He didn’t see any action this season. GRADE: INC
RB- James Starks: