Green Bay Packers: 5 Players We'll See More in Week 3
Across the NFL, players are jostling for position and playing time as teams head into the third week of competition. Injuries, poor play and a litany of other factors are reordering depth charts just about everywhere, and players young and old could see a bump in their playing time this weekend.
Green Bay is no different. After two tough weeks against playoff-caliber teams, the Green and Gold is making adjustments just like everyone else, and those adjustments are going to show up on Sunday.
The Packers' defensive effort improved Thursday against Chicago, and the key contributors are going to reap the benefits accordingly. On offense, shifting priorities could see at least two players with expanded roles in Week 3.
Rookie safety Jerron McMillian jumped into the lineup after a disappointing Week 1 performance by M.D. Jennings. Patrolling the secondary in the nickel and dime packages, McMillian provided a physical presence against both the pass and the run, assisting on two tackles and registering one pass defensed.
McMillian also gathered in an admittedly sketchy interception late and should have had another. His strong performance in his first extended playing time should earn him a longer look in Week 3.
Second-year running back Alex Green is still putting the finishing touches on his recovery from a devastating knee injury last October.
The emergence of Cedric Benson last week probably slowed Green's ascent to a bigger role in the offense, but he was on the field more in Week 2 than in Week 1. Given his obvious talent and the high praise he's received from coaches so far, it's hard to see Green not having a bigger role as the season progresses, perhaps even as early as this week.
Plus, it would be almost impossible for him to have a worse stat line than he's posted so far this year: two carries, two yards, no receptions.
Although he posted a solid preseason (six tackles, two sacks), Erik Walden was a healthy scratch in Week 1 due to a suspension. In Week 2, though, Walden picked up right where he left off in preseason play, consistently harassing Jay Cutler and teaming up with Clay Matthews for half a sack.
While there's no doubt that Nick Perry is and will remain the starter, Walden's play in the preseason and in limited action last week will doubtless put him in high consideration as Dom Capers cooks up a scheme to befuddle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Apparently Donald Driver's 37-year-old legs still have enough juice to beat a safety down the seam. After he saw just three plays in Green Bay's Week 1 loss to San Francisco, Driver saw a little more of the field last week and took his first catch of the season into the end zone for a score.
Now, admittedly Driver's increased playing time against Chicago was due in part to injuries to Greg Jennings and Randall Cobb, but a rash of drops among some of the top pass catchers could have Rodgers and Co. turning to old reliable Driver this week against a tough secondary in Seattle.
Near the end of the preseason, some speculated that Sam Shields could be on the outside looking in when the final roster cuts were posted. Now, Shields is starting across from Tramon Williams at cornerback after coming off a solid performance against Chicago.
Shields was an undrafted hero two years ago, but was beaten again repeatedly last season and even made poor decisions after he finally made big plays.
Seattle isn't known for their proficient pass offense, but it's likely much of the Packers' defensive efforts will be focused on slowing down Marshawn Lynch. Thus, Shields could find himself on an island this weekend in the Pacific Northwest.