Preseason games require a different approach for an observer or fan. Teams have differing objectives in these games, so score is not what it is all about. Based on that fact, here are a few things I’m looking forward to seeing tonight:
1. Brett Hundley the second year quarterback from UCLA. Brett, after a good start to camp, has been out with an ankle injury. He returned to practice this week and should be ready for his first preseason snaps in a game tonight. Last year, Hundley turned heads by finishing second in the NFL with a 129.6 passer rating in preseason games. Hundley completed 45 of 65 passes for league high seven touchdowns and just one interception. Not bad for a rookie.
From what I saw in the OTAs and mini camp you could tell Brett had a nice presence about him in the huddle running the offense. In training camp I saw a strong arm and a quarterback that had learned from the master (Aaron Rodgers) how to draw defenses offsides with his cadence. Hundley obviously showed growth through last season running the scout team, as the club let backup Scott Tolzien leave for Indianapolis via free agency.
2. Defensively, I want to get another look at Blake Martinez in the middle of the Green Bay linebacking corps. I thought he was solid in his stint against the Cleveland Browns. If the Oakland Raiders play their starters through the first quarter, we should get a good look at the rookie out of Stanford against a potentially strong offense. As we discussed last week, Martinez could be a key at inside linebacker this season. Watch his ability to diagnose, he knows where to be, now can he make the play?
3. Kenny Clark is another rookie who might be asked to play a major role in his rookie season. Tonight he will be going up against an improved Oakland offensive line that many are saying could be the best O-line in the AFC West. Clark is targeted to play at the three-technique and nose tackle positions along a defensive line that will be without Mike Pennel who will be serving a four game suspension at the outset of the season.
4. The Oakland Raiders are a trendy pick to make a playoff run. Former Packers front office operative Reggie McKenzie has built a formidable roster around emerging quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Copper on offense, while defensively Khalil Mack is an all pro defensive end and is quickly becoming one of the premier performers in the league. We probably won’t see much of the Raider starters, but the glimpse we get should be worth it.