Green Bay Packers: 3 things to watch for against the Eagles


The Green Bay Packers face the Philadelphia Eagles in the third preseason game of the year on Saturday night at Lambeau Field. Usually the third preseason game we see the starters play a whole half of football. The case may be different for the Packers this time.

With injuries to the offensive line and for no reason to rush them back, Mike McCarthy may elect to sit Aaron Rodgers and not put him at risk behind a makeshift offensive line against Philadelphia’s No. 1 defense.

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The Packers may decide to rest some of their key players after watching Jordy Nelson go down with an injury last week. With their last game coming up next Thursday, we may not even see the starters much more this preseason.

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Even though we may not see many of the starters, there is still a few storylines to follow as we watch this matchup. Here are three things to watch for when the Packers take on the Eagles.

Jeff Janis

With the season-ending injury to Jordy Nelson, the Packers need to find some help from some other players to help fill that void. Nobody may be under more pressure than Jeff Janis. Janis was expected to take a leap this year and be a contributor for this team with Nelson healthy.

Now that Nelson is gone, the pressure is bigger for Janis to be ready for the regular season and to be able to contribute on a regular basis.

Janis so far has shown inconsistency throughout training camp. His play was pretty quiet up until the first preseason game against the New England Patriots, where he scored a touchdown and had a couple of catches. Then, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was all over the place by making some good catches, then bone-headed mistakes like his missed punt.

Janis matches Nelson the most in physical traits and is one of the Packers’ best options for a deep threat when you add his height and speed. If Janis can show good, consistent play, it will help earn the trust and confidence of the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. The Packers could use his skill set so it’s very crucial that Janis begins to play really well.

Offensive Line

The Packers will most likely be without the majority of their starting lineup against the Eagles, so it’s a great opportunity for some of the backup players to make their cases at making the team. This is especially true for Don Barclay.

Barclay struggled in both of his preseason games. In the game against the Patriots, he struggled coming in for relief at right tackle. Then starting at left tackle against the Steelers, he struggled again in pass protection.

There is no question Barclay’s strong suit is blocking in the running game. However, the Packers are counting on him to be their best backup option at tackle and that requires him to be very good at pass blocking, especially when your quarterback is Aaron Rodgers.

Barclay needs to prove to the Packers that he has knocked off all the rust after missing last year due to a knee injury. He needs to play well against the Eagles to make the Packers more comfortable about putting him in the lineup if need be during the regular season. If Barclay continues to struggle, the Packers may be looking at other options when final roster cut downs begin.


If Aaron Rodgers does play, don’t expect it to be for a whole half like we are used to seeing during the third preseason game. With the injuries to the offensive line, the Packers may not want to put Rodgers behind a makeshift offensive line unit against the Eagles’ No. 1 defense.

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  • Add in the fact that Scott Tolzien will be out recovering from a concussion, the Packers will be seeing a lot from Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard.

    This will be a good and important test, especially for Hundley. He is going to be able to play against some of the Eagles No. 1 defense and that will help him grow and improve as a player.

    The Packers would love for Hundley to not play during the regular season this year, as would the fans, but playing against a No. 1 defense for some reps will help grow Hundley and hopefully help him improve.

    As for Blanchard, the Packers probably would have liked to not give him many reps again for this game. It seems as if the Packers would like to hide Blanchard this preseason and put him on the practice squad. Unless they play Hundley 75 percent of this game, the Packers will have to put Blanchard out there for the world to see.

    Blanchard has shown some impressive play at times during training camp. If he can do the same in a game, it increases his odds of catching on with another team on their 53-man roster. Blanchard has a very good opportunity to showcase his talent on Saturday night to not just the Packers, but the rest of the NFL.

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