With week one of the preseason behind us, the Green Bay Packers saw a lot of positive things through that first game. Now, can those positive things become consistent will be the question. Here are the top five things, as well as some names to look for now in week two of the preseason as the New England Patriots are in town this week for two joint practices as well as game two of the preseason.
The Tight End Room
This comes in on the top five things to watch list not only due to the positive flashes from both Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft last game but also due to the injury to Tyler Davis. Davis, while listed at tight end three on the depth chart, was the Packers’ leading player in special teams snaps played last season. Losing Davis will force the workload on Musgrave, Kraft, and Deguara, which will make these rookies have to step up right away. This room will be something to watch due to a few things with the first being to see if Musgrave can continue to get open this week with the first team and Jordan Love. Another thing to watch will be if Kraft can stack another good performance with his last one and start to be consistent. Being consistent especially as a rookie will help them take on what they lost with Davis. Finally, the third thing in the room to watch for will be Austin Allen and Dre Miller. Allen, a practice squad player from last year out of Nebraska, has a 6-foot 8-inch frame that if he can put together assuming he will have more opportunities without Davis, should be someone to watch. Dre Miller, on the other hand, was a UDFA wide receiver out of Maine, who the Giants signed, turned into a tight end, then released him. Green Bay originally picked him up and put him back at wide receiver, but with the injury to Davis, Miller has been with the tight ends this week.
Wide Receiver Room
What a great first game it was for the wide receiver room. This comes back in again on the top five things to watch list due to the talent that is being showcased in this room. Again, it seems that the first five spots are locked down with Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Samori Toure, and Dontayvion Wicks, but there are a lot of names who showed very positive things last week that you should keep an eye on this week as well. With Watson, Doubs, and Reed showing they can get open against the Bengals last week, they will be quite a trio to watch for again this week assuming the first team and Jordan Love play a few drives again. Another thing to look out for in this room is again UDFA out of Ole Miss, Malik Heath. Heath did about all you can ask for last week hauling in three receptions for thirty-six yards, as well as sealing some key blocks, especially on the Sean Clifford keeper where Heath drove the opposing corner out of bounds on a block. It will be something to watch for to see if he can stay consistent this week as well. Another name to look out for outside of that top five will be Bo Melton. While Melton didn’t exactly get the touches he wanted last week with only three yards receiving, he showed what type of teammate he is by making a key block, driving the corner out left, and springing Emanuel Wilson for his first touchdown from eleven yards out. Melton continued to make some nice blocks, so something to watch for is if he can put the receiving part with those blocks this week.
The Defensive Back Room
With breakout rookie cornerback, Carrington Valentine stepping up the way he has, the Packers are going to have to see if that remains consistent. If so, getting the five best defensive backs on the field might take a switch from cornerback to safety for Rasul Douglas, but only if the consistency stays. On top of Valentine, William Hooper was actually a top-graded PFF player last week as well in the Bengals game. During joint practices this week, the first-day defense was shut down, and the second-day defense was not so much. The Packers’ defense won the first day, but the Patriots’ offense got them back on the second day. Valentine and Hooper continued to make plays in joint practice so with those two both showing out, plus the rotations alongside Darnell Savage with Jonathan Owens, Rudy Ford, and Anthony Johnson, this defensive back room will definitely be one to watch again.
The Offensive Line
With the recent fumbled snaps between the centers, the offensive line room has drawn some attention. While the starting rotation seems pretty set, with Luke Tenuta going down last week, and Caleb Jones not practicing this week, Rasheed Walker has been the one stepping up. Walker played great last week and will definitely be one to watch alongside the ball security from the offensive line room this week.
Who Can Stay Consistent?
Many players had solid starts last week during game one of the preseason, but something to watch for will be who can stack those days. Here are some names to keep an eye on this week on all sides of the ball.
Quarterback, Sean Clifford
Clifford had quite a week one debut against the Bengals. While the stat line doesn’t show it, Clifford had a lot of great throws that he made. He continued with a strong performance on day one of the joint practices with New England and then managed to have a hail mary bounce his way to wide receiver, Cody Chest for a game-tying touchdown in the two-minute drill in day two of joint practices. Clifford will look to continue to make those plays that show consistency, and positive flashes.
Wide Receiver, Malik Heath
This player’s plays have spoken for themselves so far. I continue to use the phrase “make a play everyday type player” because that’s exactly what Heath continues to do. While having thirty-six yards receiving last game against Cincinnati, Heath’s big play of the night was actually on a block where he drove the corner out of bounds and ten yards downfield. Heath will be looking to continue the consistency that we’ve seen so far and to show he belongs on this 53-man roster.
Wide Receiver, Bo Melton
Now this is a receiver who hasn’t practiced this week yet, so we will see if he is available for game time or not on Saturday night. Melton has been having a very positive camp, and while only having three yards receiving last game, he made some key blocks for his teammates, as well as played special teams. This is a name to watch if he’s good to go, if not, Melton will look to get back on the field as soon as possible.
Wide Receiver, Jayden Reed
This one is clear, but assuming the rookie gets playing time again this week, Reed will look to add on to the great start he had last week against the Bengals. Reed looks like a very fluid receiver, who also can go up and make the physical catch and come down with it when needed. While he is already a roster lock, he will look to keep making those big plays for the Packers with the reps that he receives.
Wide Receiver, Dontayvion Wicks
Another roster lock here, but Dontayvion Wicks really had one of the best games out of anyone last week. He showed off his hands, as well as his ability to create after the catch with a forty-seven-yard reception from quarterback, Sean Clifford. Wicks will look to continue to show his ability to be a playmaker, as well as that guy who can catch any ball over the middle.
Wide Receiver, Grant DuBose
Grant DuBose has been out until recently with a back injury, but ever since being activated, DuBose has shown out in camp. He made a leaping catch over the middle in joint practices against the Patriots in day two Thursday, so assuming he plays this week, DuBose’s name can be added to an already big list of wide receivers to watch this week.
Running Back, Emanuel Wilson
Emanuel Wilson couldn’t have asked for a much better start to his career last week. With six carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns, Wilson had the best game out of anyone last week. The key for Wilson will be to capitalize on every rep he can this week, especially considering he has been taking reps with the second team as well now. If Lew Nichols and Tyler Goodson can’t go, that’ll leave Wilson, Patrick Taylor Jr., and Nate McCrary this week in the running back room after Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
Tight End, Tucker Kraft
Kraft has been picking up momentum by the practice thus far and has had some nice plays with Clifford, as well as some nice plays with Jordan Love as well. He will look to continue not only catching some passes but also become an even more consistent blocker with Tyler Davis being out for the season with a torn ACL.
Offensive Lineman, Rasheed Walker
Walker has been making some noise after his high-graded performance from week one. He has even been taking reps with the first team as well this week which shows the leap he made for himself through the performance last week. Assuming he gets some of those reps again during this game, Walker will be looking to duplicate what he did last week and solidify that he could contribute on the starting offensive line for Green Bay.
Now that I have addressed the offensive side of the ball and some names to watch, check out the defensive side now with some names to look out for to continue their momentum.
Cornerback, Carrington Valentine
This one speaks for himself, just as Heath does. With Jaire Alexander out with a groin injury last week, Valentine stepped up and took on the role of starting cornerback with the first-team defense last week. Valentine stepped up in a big way and not only had an interception, but three pass breakups, and four tackles as well. You couldn’t have asked for a better start out of the seventh-round pick ballhawk corner. Valentine’s spot is locked in on the 53-man roster, now it comes down to showing he can stay consistently making those plays enough to where he can start even with Jaire back.
Cornerback, William Hooper
Hooper is someone who had a very underrated performance last week. Going back through the film, he was with his receivers in coverage every step of the way and it showed in the stats. Hooper finished with three pass breakups and showed that he can stick with multiple outside and inside routes. Hooper will get quite a bit of playing time I would imagine this week, and he will look to solidify himself as a corner who makes those key plays.
Defensive Lineman, Karl Brooks
With Brooks, it seems as though the Packers took him in the sixth round, Brooks was beyond ready to show what he can do. He has consistently been getting pressures throughout camp, which just adds to an already stacked defensive lineman room. Brooks will continue to look for his consistency so be sure to look out for number ninety four Saturday night.
Edge, Brenton Cox Jr.
Cox Jr., just like Brooks, has been in the backfield consistently throughout camp. This defensive line room is packed full of talent so he will have to continue to make plays Saturday night and show he can be one of those key rotation players for Green Bay.
Edge, Kingsley Enagbare
Enagebare is one of the few guys who has already made this roster previously that lands on this list. Enagbare is a roster lock, but he’s looking to earn some more playing time from the decent amount he got rookie year. Enagbare is someone you see getting a sack almost every day it seems. He will be someone to watch alongside all of his teammates in that stacked defensive line room.
Linebacker, Isaiah McDuffie
Isaiah McDuffie is going to be someone who needs to step up this week with De’Vondre Campbell being out due to an ankle injury. McDuffie already has played a lot of snaps for Green Bay whether it has been at linebacker, or on special teams, but he will look to show he is a starting linebacker level with the injury to Campbell, and no timetable of a return yet.
Linebacker, Jimmy Phillips Jr.
Phillips is someone I wrote about as my players to watch last week, and he continued to make some solid plays in the run. With the injury to Campbell, that moves everyone up a few reps on the depth chart, and with a few more reps, Phillips will have time to settle in and showcase his run fit and play recognition. Phillips also made a play on the second day of joint practice with an interception returned for a touchdown. He will look to take momentum and build on it come Saturday night.
Safety, Benny Sapp III
Sapp has been flying around at safety for Green Bay, who continues to shuffle around the rotation to figure out who will fit in with Darnell Savage. Sapp also will look to contribute on special teams so we will see what momentum he can build off of after a pass breakup last week against Cincinnati.
I couldn’t forget this phase of the team, as it takes a full team to win games, here is one name to watch and he speaks for himself.
Kicker, Anders Carlson
Carlson has not been consistent through training camp, to say the least. With his updated percentage coming in at around 68% of makes thus far after the Patriots practices, Carlson will need to improve. He already is locked in at kicker as he is the only one on the roster, but he will need to make a step forward this week and show he can be a consistent kicker for Green Bay.
Overall, these players are all some names to watch as it should be an exciting game Saturday night. Joint practices this week seemed to favor each team in different days with the Packers having an edge on the first day. While the first team will look to continue their nice start last week if they play, the second and third team guys will be battling it out showing they belong on the 53-man roster as well. If you enjoyed this article, check out my players of the game and some key takeaways from the win over the Bengals.