Green Bay Packers: Questions That Still Must Be Answered This Preseason
Now, as Green Bay gets ready to take on the St. Louis Rams this upcoming weekend, there are still questions that need to be answered. While the Packers still have three weeks of the preseason to figure out their issues, it'd be better to get it done sooner than later.
Today, we'll take a look at six questions that still must be answered this preseason.
Is a Third Quarterback on the Final Roster Still Necessary?
Last year's backup quarterback situation isn't going to dissipate anytime soon for the Packers. The struggles they had after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone are still so fresh that keeping three quarterbacks on the final roster is a legitimate possibility.
However, the first preseason game helped to show Green Bay that keeping three signal-callers simply might not be necessary.
The main reason for this was the performance of Scott Tolzien in Week 1 against the Titans. Despite a pouring rain, Tolzien still finished the game with 124 passing yards on just 12 attempts and a 100.7 quarterback rating.
While one preseason performance isn't enough proof that the Packers don't need three quarterbacks on their final roster, it's definitely a start in the right direction. If Tolzien has another strong game this week against the Rams, it could show Green Bay that Flynn is no longer necessary.
Who Should Start at Tight End?
The question of who should start at tight end when the regular season rolls around isn't one that got answered in the first preseason game.
In fact, it's unlikely that it'll get answered in the second preseason game, either. However, the question still needs to be asked because of the importance of the position for the Packers offense.
It was rookie Richard Rodgers who started the first preseason game for Green Bay. He finished with a modest 10 receiving yards on a single reception.
As for the rest of the tight ends, it was Brandon Bostick who had the biggest reception of the game by hauling in a 24-yard catch with the second-team offense. Andrew Quarless played with the first-team offense but failed to make a reception.
If the regular season was to start tomorrow, the Packers would likely give the nod to Quarless simply because of his experience at the position. However, should Rodgers or Bostick continue to outplay him and make big plays on offense, it's likely that they'll be rolling out with the first-team offense in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Can the Offensive Line Hold Up Should Another Injury Occur?
If there's one thing that Packers fans have learned in the past, it's that injuries are bound to happen. This has been most true about the offensive line.
Last year, the Packers were able to overcome an injury to offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. While the Packers haven't suffered an injury of that magnitude to the offensive line yet, the loss of premier backup Don Barclay to a torn ACL definitely hurts.
The question that Barclay's injury ultimately brings up is whether or not the Packers currently have the depth should another injury occur. For example, if David Bakhtiari were to get injured tomorrow, could the Packers survive?
The good news is that former first-round pick Derek Sherrod played 45 snaps against the Titans. Even better is that he looked good while on the field.
What the Packers need to do over the next three preseason games is continue to give their top offensive line backups relevant snaps to make sure they can hold up should another injury occur.
Will the Lack of Depth at Defensive End Be an Issue?
In a move that shocked everyone, the Packers traded former second-round pick Jerel Worthy to the New England Patriots, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The Packers were already thin along the defensive line, and losing Worthy only makes the group thinner.
This means that there will be a ton of pressure on the likes of Mike Daniels and Datone Jones. Despite being first-year starters, there's no denying the amount of potential that both players have.
However, Daniels and Jones will need to come off the field at some point during a game, and that's where the Packers could get in trouble. The only backup defensive end currently on the roster that isn't a rookie is Josh Boyd, a second-year player from Mississippi State.
Simply put, the Packers are extremely young and inexperienced at defensive end. The preseason is a perfect place to see what these young players can do and determine whether or not the lack of depth will be an issue.
Who Should Start at Both Safety Positions?
The question of who should start at both safety positions is the most important question for the Packers to answer during the preseason.
While the safeties were an area of embarrassment last year for Green Bay, that seems to be far from the case so far this season. One reason for that is the addition of rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but that's just the beginning.
Outside of Morgan Burnett, the returning starter from last year, the Packers have three other safeties who look like legitimate starters in Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde and Sean Richardson. In fact, all three of the latter safeties have looked much better than Burnett in training camp.
Over the final three preseason games, the Packers need to figure out what safety pairing gives them the best chance to win. It's possible, and maybe even likely, that the duo that should start doesn't include Burnett.
Who Will Be the Key Return Man?
Last year was a difficult year for the Packers and special teams, especially the return game. No matter who Green Bay put back there, they were never able to make much of an impact.
The preseason will be a great opportunity for the Packers to figure out who the key return man should be. As of right now, Hyde sits atop the depth chart as both the kick returner and punt returner.
However, one name to watch is running back DuJuan Harris. He flashed during the first preseason game by returning his first kickoff 40 yards. Harris has the speed and open-field awareness to be a real threat in the return game.
Look for the Packers to experiment with a few different players deep during returns until they can find the perfect fit.