RODGERS AND HIS OFFENSIVE WEAPONS
OK, so you’ve probably heard of this guy. But he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and will see his first preseason action on Saturday. Last week’s Packers game was played in a huge rainstorm in Tennessee, so Green Bay opted to keep Rodgers and running back Eddie Lacy on the sidelines.
The powerful Lacy had a strong showing in his rookie year, racking up 1178 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns. Behind him, Green Bay used James Starks, who tallied 493 yards rushing last season. Starks ran it six times for 49 yards and a touchdown in sloppy conditions last week.
One of Rodgers’ top receivers, Jordy Nelson, sat out last week as well, but he didn’t play because of a hamstring injury. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday that Nelson is “on course” to practice Friday, and then a final decision will be made later as to whether or not he’ll see the field in St. Louis. The wideout has been one of Rodgers’ favorite targets for years, amassing 3322 yards receiving with 30 touchdowns over the last three seasons.
COMING AND GOING
Green Bay’s highest profile free-agency move was bringing in former Bear Julius Peppers to beef up the team’s lackluster pass rush. Peppers had only seven sacks last season, just a half-sack short of the team leader, Clay Matthews. The outside linebacker played just 11 games last season, but having Peppers as another sack threat definitely helps that defense.
The Packers opted to re-sign most of their top free agents, like defensive tackle B.J. Raji, but the one they let go could be a significant loss. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith signed with the Buccaneers, which means JC Tretter will be the Packers’ fourth differnet starting center in four years. Tretter is a second-year player out of the Ivy League’s Cornell.
The Packers took Davante Adams of Fresno State in the second round to help boost Rodgers’ receiving corps, but perhaps the most interesting new receiver came much later in the draft. Green Bay picked Jeff Janis in the seventh round, a wide receiver out of the small Michigan D-II school, Saginaw Valley State University. Janis was one of the best in college football his last two years, with over 3,200 yards receiving and 31 touchdowns.
The 6-foot-3 receiver has flashed in camp, and should see plenty of playing time on Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT
The Packers played on a particularly stormy night in Nashville, losing to the Titans 20-16. Matt Flynn got the start at quarterback, completing five of 10 passes for 49 yards. Scott Tolzien relieved Flynn and connected on eight of 12 for 124 yards.
Starks led the rushing attack, but Green Bay had four players who ran it five or more times.
You can tell just by looking at the box score that something bizarre at play, as there were a whopping eight total fumbles in the game -- five of which came from the Packers. Much of that undoubtedly had to do with the unusually wet conditions.