Green Bay Packers: 5 Players to Watch Against the Cleveland Browns
There were too many turnovers, the offensive line struggled and the defense is still in a developmental stage.
There is one thing everyone saw last week against the Chargers: Herb Taylor is not starting NFL left tackle caliber.
Injuries thrust Taylor into action and he got an opportunity to start. The results were concerning, to say the least, as he basically got overwhelmed by the likes of rookie Melvin Ingram and others.
That is why it is important to have Marshall Newhouse back and have him play to see where his progression as the future left tackle lies.
Derek Sherrod does not look like he will be ready for the season and rookie Andrew Datko is just not ready for the NFL game yet. Newhouse is coming off an injury and returned to practice earlier this week.
Not a moment too soon for the Packers.
No one is saying that he is the best left tackle in the league, but he is the best the Packers have. Now he needs to prove that to give the team and quarterback Aaron Rodgers some level of comfort heading into the season.
“It’s great having Marshall back. I think he needs some reps with the six of us together,” Rodgers said. “Having him in there with T.J. [Lang] and Josh [Sitton] and Bryan [Bulaga] and Jeffy [Jeff Saturday], it’ll be nice having us together and start to jell together.” (h/t ESPNMilwaukee.com)
The writing is on the wall for undrafted rookie running back Marc Tyler.
The signing of veteran running back Cedric Benson puts a damper on Tyler's chances of making the 53-man roster.
Injuries allowed Tyler to get an extended look against the Chargers, and he will have to take advantage of the same situation against the Browns.
Benson will not play against Cleveland and James Starks is battling a turf toe injury. Even if Starks suits up, he did nothing to convince the coaching staff that he is ready to take on the full-time starting position, and his performance probably prompted the Benson signing.
Meanwhile, Alex Green is still on a snap-count limit. Brandon Saine and Du'ane Bennett are injured along with Starks.
All of that equates to a big opportunity for Tyler.
He did some good things against the Chargers. He ran hard and got the Packers close in the fourth quarter with a touchdown. A fumble in the closing moments of the game was the only blemish in his debut.
His performance against the Browns will be the proverbial do or die on making this team.
Quarterback Graham Harrell got an extensive look against the Chargers and will probably get the same opportunity against the Browns.
The Packers have to figure out whether or not they will be comfortable with Harrell being the backup to the reigning NFL MVP.
"I think it’s very important to see as much of Graham Harrell as we possibly can,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said this week. “That’s where he is in his development. He doesn’t have a lot of playing time under his belt." (h/t Green Bay Press Gazette)
He struggled initially but really picked it up as the game progressed. He went 15-of-27 for 135 yards and a touchdown and led another touchdown drive.
McCarthy seems to have worked his quarterback coaching magic on Harrell, so it will be key for his development to continue to progress.
One of the knocks against rookie cornerback Casey Hayward coming out of college was that he is not a good man-to-man cover corner. That was evident against the Chargers.
He had a typical rookie game, showing some flashes as to why the Packers selected him in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, but it was clear he still needs work.
Now an opportunity has come his way and he has to take advantage of it if he expects extensive playing time this season.
Davon House is sidelined with a shoulder injury and will miss a couple of weeks, at the very least. House was doing very well in camp and may be the biggest surprise considering where he was last season.
House's loss can equal Hayward's gain if he performs well. Either way, the Packers are counting on a contribution from Hayward this season and they would love it if his presence was felt beginning with the game against the Browns.
The preseason is the time for guys like Dezman Moses to shine, and he certainly did some of that last week in San Diego.
The undrafted rookie linebacker out of Tulane saw some extensive playing time on defense and special teams, coming up with a couple of coverage tackles.
Moses has been a bright spot in camp and is looking to make the most of his opportunities. He has raw pass-rush ability and shows a ferocious tenacity to make a play.
It looks like he has outplayed most of the competition behind starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry and will continue to get an opportunity to show the Packers what he can do.
If Moses continues to impress on special teams, a spot on the 53-man roster seems fated for him.