5 Green Bay Packers with Most on the Line in Preseason Week 1
The Green Bay Packers matchup with the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the preseason will put a handful of players under the spotlight. The reason for this is because these specific players have something to prove in this first preseason game.
You might be asking yourself, "What exactly needs to be proved in the first week of the preseason?" For starters, poor performers in training camp need to prove that they can fix whatever issues have ailed them. On the flip side, players who have excelled in camp need to keep things going in a positive direction.
Let's take a look at the five Packers with the most to prove against the Titans on Saturday, August 9, in the first preseason game.
Quarterback Scott Tolzien
Despite his struggles last year, the Packers still decided to bring Tolzien back. What Tolzien needs to do in this first preseason game is prove that Green Bay didn't make a poor decision by counting on him as one of its backup quarterbacks.
Tolzien will likely be the third quarterback to play on Saturday, but he's also likely to get the most snaps. What he ultimately needs to do with his playing time is lead the offense on multiple quality drives. They don't necessarily have to be scoring drives, but they need to definitely be substantial.
If Tolzien can do that, he can prove the Packers right in their decision to keep him and maybe close in on the No. 2 quarterback job.
Wide Receiver Jarrett Boykin
It simply hasn't been a good training camp for wide receiver Jarrett Boykin so far.
His biggest issue, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been dropped passes. What's interesting about this is that he didn't really have drop issues last year, with the exception of his first game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Packers have had issues in the past with receivers dropping passes, and it hasn't been good for those receivers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has the tendency to look the other way once a player starts dropping passes.
Boykin has a pretty good holding on the No. 3 receiver spot as of now. However, failing to prove that he can fix his issues with drops could force the Packers to reconsider their depth chart.
Offensive Tackle Derek Sherrod
With offensive tackle Don Barclay now out for the year with a torn ACL, all eyes will turn to Derek Sherrod to become the premier backup offensive lineman.
What Barclay ultimately gave the Packers was ease of mind should any one of their starters get injured. He was versatile enough to play a handful of positions if the Packers needed him to.
Sherrod, on the other hand, has been mostly injured since being drafted back in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. However, with Barclay injured, Sherrod needs to prove that he can become the replacement player that the Packers need on the offensive line.
Look for Sherrod to get plenty of snaps in this first preseason game, and look for them to be from both the left and right tackle spots.
Inside Linebacker Joe Thomas
Few players have been as impressive in training camp as undrafted inside linebacker Joe Thomas.
It started back in the end of July when Thomas had his way with Barclay in the one-on-one drill. It continued on Family Night, when Thomas was one of the most impressive players, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
All in all, Thomas looks poised to earn a roster spot with such a hot start to camp. However, a strong performance in Week 1 of the preseason could push him even higher on the depth chart.
Thomas needs to prove that he's more than just a camp body, and that he can actually play once it's a real game.
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has the most to prove in this first preseason game.
For starters, he's the Packers' first-round pick. He also plays at a position that needs major improvement heading into the 2014 season.
Furthermore, Clinton-Dix has had a relatively quiet training camp. While he hasn't been one of the better players in camp, he also hasn't underperformed. It's almost as if he's been stuck in camp purgatory.
What Clinton-Dix is ultimately going to need to prove in this first preseason game is that he's the safety of the future in Green Bay. Even if he only makes one big play during this game, it will be a good sign that Clinton-Dix is ready for a big role.