Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011 Preseason Week 2 - Packers/Cardinals Review

Sorry about the delayed "Quick Thoughts" post on the Packers/Cardinals preseason game, I was unable to see the replay of the game on the NFL Network until later on Saturday night. With my apology out of the way, here are my quick thoughts on the Packers/Cardinal preseason game:

#1) Player that hurt his stock most: Derek Sherrod struggled at both left guard and left tackle so it looks like Sherrod's chances of opening the season as one of the five starters along the offensive line ended against the Cardinals. As a result, absent injury, the starting offensive line (left to right) for the 2011 Green Bay Packers will be: Chad Clifton (LT), T.J. Lang (LG), Scott Wells (C), Josh Sitton (RG), and Bryan Bulaga (RT).

#2) Player that helped his stock most: The Packers have a ton of undrafted free agents that would make most NFL rosters but since the Packers already had 53 guys worthy of being on their opening 53-man roster before the 2011 NFL Draft, there are going to be a ton of guys worth keeping on the active roster that will most likely get cut. Just look at a few of the undrafted free agents that are having a good training camp but are still long shots to make the opening day 53-man roster: running back (Brandon Saine), wide receiver (Chastin West, Diondre Borel, and Tory Gurley), and cornerback (Brandian Ross and Josh Gordy).

#3) Position to watch: Since left guard was already handled above and a number of guys fighting to start at defensive end (Mike Neal and Lawrence Guy) sat out with injury, let's look at the starting outside linebacker spot opposite Clay Matthews. After Brad Jones struggled at the start of training camp, the starting outside linebacker spot opposite Clay Matthews looked like a two horse race between Erik Walden and Frank Zombo. Neither player did much to grab hold of the starting job although Zombo played slightly better than Walden against the Cardinals. Look for Walden and Zombo to get a ton of snaps next week against the Colts so the Packers can pick one of them to be the opening day starter opposite Clay Matthews.

#4) Injuries: C.J. Wilson (concussion) and Randall Cobb (bruised knee) were the only players that suffered anything more than a minor injury against the Cardinals. No further injury information was available about either player but look for the Packers to be cautious with both players because both are virtually guaranteed roster spots on the opening day 53-man roster as long as their injuries are not too serious.

Final Note: Last week roughly 30,000 fans attended the Packers/Browns preseason game in Cleveland. This week 67,688 fans attended the Packers/Cardinals game in Green Bay, which is still roughly 5,000 below capacity at Lambeau Field but much better than 40,000 below capacity like in Cleveland last weekend. Green Bay is a very unique place and fans are especially excited about the Packers since they won Super Bowl XLV but 35,000 more fans showing up in Green Bay than in Cleveland is embarrassing for the mistake by the lake.

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