The last time the Eagles and Packers faced each other was Nov. 28, 2016, a 27-13 Green Bay win at Philadelphia. Here are some things to watch in tonight's preseason game:
- Wide-eyed rookies trying to make the roster. This is the time of year when new Packers are looking to leave a lasting good impression. And with more than one-third of Green Bay’s 90-man roster being rookies, competition is fierce for those roster spots once the cutdown happens after the preseason.
- Running backs getting real, live reps. Now is prime time for Ty Montgomery to perfect his pass protection, a skill he has been unapologetic for not being an expert at, because he’s “never had to do that before.” And the preseason also holds valuable reps opportunities for the five rookies behind him, especially Jamaal Williams, who has shown his ability to be a three-way back and add a 1-2 punch with Montgomery, who already creates mismatch nightmares for opposing defenses. Also key is finally being able to see each back’s ability to break tackles, escape a blitzing linebacker and fight against a real opposing defense.
- Brett Hundley’s time to shine. The backup QB was injured in the 2016 preseason, so this is his showcase and he’s ready for it. He is immersed in the playbook, knows the offense inside and out, communicates well and has shown improved footwork and rhythm in training camp. Considering the Eagles aren’t too talented at cornerback, Hundley should start out fast and furious, testing the unit and asserting advantage with a richly deep receiver squad. Which leads us to...
- Second-team O-Line taking shape. Plays break down early and often in the preseason, especially with little to no film to work off of for the first game in particular. The backup offensive line is likely to get most reps in the preseason, and the unit actually has eight years of combined experience, with only one rookie: LG Kofi Amichia. And for Hundley - and the Packers’ whole offensive attack - to be successful, this line has to be strong.
- Toying with nitro and other defensive packages. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers said he isn’t afraid to show his hand in the preseason as he tinkers with personnel and packages on that side of the ball. The much-hyped “nitro” will see plenty playtime because he wants his players to gain game reps in the hallmark package. Rookie safety Josh Jones will have plenty opportunities in “nitro” and Packers fans should look forward to finally seeing his play-making ability in a game setting.
- Field goal team getting on the same page. Kicker Mason Crosby, as Packers fans know, is solid - and special team coordinator Ron Zook expressed his lack of concern for Crosby’s kicking abilities. But new holder Justin Vogel and long-snapper Derek Hart have some syncing up to do after Crosby went 5-for-11 at Family Night.
You can catch the action in the Green Bay area on NBC26, your official Packers station, at 7 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. and the post-game show running through 10:30 p.m.
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