Packers vs. Bengals: What to Watch For

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IAugust 10, 2008
  1. Defensive tackle depth -- With injuries nagging Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, Justin Harrell and Daniel Muir, there's not a whole heck of a lot of options left at the defensive tackle position. Expected to join Colin Cole in the starting lineup at the position is usual starting defensive end Cullen Jenkins. Will those two be able to hold up against the run? And can they keep the interior offensive linemen off the linebackers? Once they come out, reserve tackles Alfred Malone and Conrad Boston stand to see perhaps the most playing time on the entire team due to having such a depleted unit.
  2. The offensive line shuffle -- It wouldn't be unexpected to see a starting offensive line comprised of Chad Clifton, Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, Josh Sitton and Mark Tauscher from left to right. But head coach Mike McCarthy probably won't keep Clifton in the game for more than a series or two. The obvious move is for Colledge to slide over to left tackle while Allen Barbre steps in a left guard. Then later in the game, watch players like Tony Moll, Orrin Thompson Breno Giacomini fight for their roster lives.
  3. Strong side linebacker -- Both Brandon Chillar and Brady Poppinga are expected to see playing time at the "Sam" linebacker spot this season. But how exactly will defensive coordinator Bob Sanders pull it off? Will Chillar only see the field in passing situations? And will they utilize Poppinga as a defensive end in a three point stance as they've occassionally practiced? Packer fans will start to uncover the method to their madness on Monday.
  4. Nickel duties -- Beyond Al Harris and Charles Woodson, the cornerback position is largely unsettled. Tramon Williams has the inside edge for the nickel job, but a nagging hip flexor injury earned Jarrett Bush some playing time in his absence. Rookie Patrick Lee has steadily improved since training camp began. He might steal away some snaps from both.
  5. The safety valve -- In addition to two interceptions in three game he started last year, free safety Aaron Rouse started the pre-season off with a bang when he intercepted Aaron Rodgers in the endzone in the team's annual scrimmage last week. The knock on incumbent starter Nick Collins is the lack of turnovers he creates. If Rouse continues his ways, he may unseat Collins for a starting spot.
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