There was plenty to take away from the Packers’ first preseason game against the Houston Texans last week, for better and for worse, and some of what we saw a week ago will inform what to keep an eye on in Green Bay’s second preseason game against the New York Jets.
Here are five things to watch on Saturday night:
Is Jordan Love going to play?
This is the question everyone wants to know the answer to.
Love being able to go on Saturday will not only be important for his development as a young quarterback, it will make the game exponentially more watchable.
It will be disappointing if Love is unable to play, and it sounds like the Packers will give him every opportunity to show he’s healthy before the game, but hey, at least we’ll get to see Kurt Benkert continue to sling it as a consolation prize.
Will the OL improve?
The offensive line was… sub-optimal against the Texans, especially in the run game.
On too many occasions, there was simply nowhere for Green Bay’s running backs to go, as they routinely ran into a brick wall.
In the wake of the poor showing from the Packers O-line, Matt LaFleur has opened up the competition for a spot at left or right guard, with rookie Royce Newman now getting into the mix.
With the regular season on the horizon, the Packers badly need a player or two to grab their opportunity with both hands and prove they are worthy of starting in the opener.
New cornerback Isaac Yiadom
It was time that Josh Jackson moved on. If for nothing else, just so that Packers’ fans don’t have to keep holding on to a tiny shred of hope that the light would eventually come on for Jackson.
There is absolutely no guarantee that Yiadom is better than Jackson or even makes the roster. It’s going to be tough for him to catch up with the other corners midway through training camp.
But Green Bay will likely give him his first opportunity to show what he has against the Jets, and the bar is set pretty low for him after Jackson’s performance last week.
Will Oren Burks continue to shine?
Burks had somewhat of a coming out party on Saturday against Houston, frequently finding his way into the backfield.
The big question is, was that Burks finally coming alive in the Packers defence? Or just Joe Barry deciding to send him on blitzes against a Texans offense expecting something more vanilla?
If Burks is able to follow up his impressive performance with another one versus the Jets, then he could begin to establish himself as the Packers’ number three middle linebacker, which would be quite the turnaround.
There’s also an equal chance he reverts back to being the underwhelming linebacker we’ve seen in the past, with special teams continuing to be his calling card.
Can special teams get any worse?
It’s still early, but Green Bay’s special teams unit did not get off to a promising start in their first preseason action.
Between big punt returns given up, another punt nearly blocked and Amari Rodgers fumbling back into his end zone, Packers fans will be concerned to say the least ahead of the second game.
The good news is, it can’t possibly get any worse, right?… right?
Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW.