Green Bay Packers: Final Thoughts before 2nd Preseason Game

July 30, 2021; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (19), wide receiver Juwann Winfree (88), wide receiver Davante Adams (17) and wide receiver Malik Taylor (86) participate in training camp Friday, July 30, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK
July 30, 2021; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (19), wide receiver Juwann Winfree (88), wide receiver Davante Adams (17) and wide receiver Malik Taylor (86) participate in training camp Friday, July 30, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK /

The Green Bay Packers will take on the New York Jets in their second preseason game later today. But before the game officially kicks off, I have some final thoughts on what to look for, who to watch, and really anything and everything about this game from the Packers’ perspective.

Can Oren Burks impress again? Burks is coming off a seven tackle — two of which were for a loss, by the way — two pressure, one sack performance against Houston where Joe Barry often utilized him as a blitzer. It really allowed Burks to showcase that speed of his, and it resulted in an impressive performance. But as good as that was, we need to see him find more success today.

Two under-the-radar names to watch are IDL Willington Previlon and edge rusher Chauncey Rivers. Previlon has really come on strong in practice the last week or so, making plays on both defense and special teams while also having a nice performance against Houston. Then there is Rivers, who has done nothing but make plays since he arrived in Green Bay. I’m not sure where he officially stands in the battle for the fourth edge rusher, but I imagine he’s right in the mix with Jonathan Garvin and Tipa Galeai.

Will Devin Funchess play? Funchess left Wednesday’s practice with what looked like a hamstring injury and was then held out of Thursday’s practice. He’s coming off an impressive six-catch performance against the Texans, but I’m guessing the coaching staff would still like to see as much of him as they can before the final roster decisions have to be made.

If Funchess can’t go, then that could create an opportunity for Equanimeous St. Brown to get back into the mix for that WR6 battle. He’s missed some practice time due to an injury and been relatively quiet otherwise–this game is massive for him.

Sticking with the receiver position, as I wrote earlier this week, let’s not forget about Malik Taylor. Like Funchess, Taylor had a very good performance against the Texans, but in addition to catching all five of his targets, he made two key blocks on wide receiver screens and was a gunner on special teams as well.

Hopefully, we see some much improved offensive line play this week. Against the Texans, the Green Bay Packers RBs averaged only 2.3 yards per carry, and they also allowed five pressures, according to PFF ($$).

Does anyone emerge in the battle for the two guard openings? Last week, OL coach Adam Stenavich told reporters that really no one has stepped up to seize those jobs. For much of training camp, the Green Bay Packers were rotating Lucas Patrick, Ben Braden, and Jon Runyan with the starters, but they now added rookie Royce Newman to the mix, and he will get the start at right guard against New York.

Who are we going to see at OT? Dennis Kelly also left Wednesday’s practice with an injury, and I’m not sure what his status is for this game, and of course, we aren’t going to see Elgton Jenkins or Billy Turner at all this preseason. My guess is that we can expect a lot of Yosh Nijman again, perhaps a bit of Ben Braden as well, and likely this creates a good opportunity for Cole Van Lanen — who is pushing for a roster spot — to see ample playing time.

And when it comes to Nijman, this is his third season, and it feels like time is running out.

– We need more consistency from Jace Sternberger. When TE coach Justin Outten was asked about Sternberger’s big reception from Jordan Love last week, he immediately shifted the conversation and began talking about the importance of consistency for Sternberger. This is an important final two weeks of training camp for the third-year tight end.

It feels like Kabion Ento is one more strong preseason performance away from securing his roster spot. Whether it be practice, Family Night, or the first preseason game, he is consistently making plays and has worked his way up to taking snaps with the No. 1 defense on occasions.

If that’s the case, then the recently acquired Isaac Yiadom really needs to show the Green Bay Packers coaching staff why they should consider keeping a seventh cornerback. Yiadom has struggled in coverage during his first three seasons but is an experienced special teams player and is also solid against the run.

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Will Redmond is going to be in need of a big performance as well. With how well Vernon Scott, Henry Black, and Innis Gaines are playing, Redmond could be on the outside looking in when it comes to a roster spot.

I know I probably sound like a broken record this summer, but keep your eyes on the special teams unit. Many of these final roster spots will be determined by special teams play, not what these players can do on offense or defense.

Also, when it comes to the special teams unit, let’s hope we see a much better performance this week. Unfortunately, their play against Houston looked very similar to what we saw all last season.

Do the Green Bay Packers keep three RBs or four? We know Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are roster locks, and I think it’s safe to put Kylin HIll there as well. Patrick Taylor is a very good fit for this LaFleur system with his pass-blocking and pass-catching abilities, not to mention that he’s been returning kicks as well, but we haven’t seen enough of him up to this point. However, with a strong finish to the preseason, he can make this decision much more difficult for LaFleur.

I know I’ve already discussed Oren Burks, but keep your eyes on the linebacker group in general. In this Joe Barry defense, with steady five-man defensive fronts, it opens things up for the linebackers, making their jobs a bit easier, which can then lead to more playmaking opportunities.

Also, watch TJ Slaton closely; he had a nice debut last week. Given his skill-set and what he’s asked to do, oftentimes, he isn’t going to fill the stat sheet, but by eating up space and taking on double-teams, he will create for his teammates.

It really is a bummer that Jordan Love can’t play. For a young quarterback who missed preseason action all last year, these are important reps that he’s not able to be a part of.

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Players from last week who had sneaky good games: Josh Myers, Innis Gaines, Jack Heflin, and Willington Previlon.