These rookies are worth keeping an eye on as the Packers open their exhibition schedule Friday night, Aug. 12, against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.
PREVIEW: Cleveland Browns (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Lambeau Field.
Broadcast: Radio - WTMJ AM 620. Television – WMLW in Milwaukee and Channel 32 in Green Bay.
Injury report:Packers – LS Jesse Schmitt (broken hand) is out; QB Brett Hundley (ankle), WR Randall Cobb (calf), CB Makinton Dorleant (hamstring), ILB Jake Ryan (hamstring), C JC Tretter (illness), RB Brandon Burks (leg), C Jacob Flores (knee), LB Clay Matthews (ankle), OT Kyle Murphy (concussion), OT Josh James (hamstring), TE Mitchell Henry (groin) are questionable. Browns – WR Corey Coleman (hamstring) and WR Andrew Hawkins (hamstring), DE John Hughes (personal), TE Seth DeValve (hamstring) are out; WR Terrelle Pryor (calf), TE Gary Barnridge (hernia), CB Joe Haden (ankle) WR Josh Gordon (quadriceps), WR Dennis Parks (shoulder), CB Trey Caldwell (hamstring) and DL Nile Lawrence-Stample (shoulder) are questionable.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH:
1. Front and center: If Don Barclay wants to win a job, he’s going to have to be Mr. Versatility. That means filling in at center most of the game Friday and performing well. With Corey Linsley (hamstring-PUP) out and Tretter and Flores questionable, the center snaps might all go to Barclay and Matt Rotheram. Barclay isn’t new to center but it’s a position he’ll have to function at if he wants to stick. Keep an eye on his shotgun snaps.
2. On lockdown: If the Packers cornerbacks don’t perform well, then something is wrong. The Browns are going to be without three top receivers and possibly a fourth. Sam Shields won’t play a lot but Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter, Demetri Goodson and Robertson Daniel are probably all going to play a number of different spots. They need to be tight right out of the gate.
3. RGIII revisited: New Browns coach Hue Jackson intends to play starting quarterback Robert Griffin III quite a bit. Griffin faced the Packers in 2013 at Lambeau Field and threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns with one interception in a 38-20 loss. Most importantly he ran for 1 yard on four carries. Can the Packers keep him from breaking the pocket again?
4. Middle infield: With Ryan unlikely to play and Sam Barrington either held out or limited to a few plays, the Packers’ young linebackers are going to get a chance to show what they can do. A lot has been written about Blake Martinez, who will start, but keep an eye on Beniquez Brown and Derrick Mathews. Brown is a heady player who’s around the ball a lot and Mathews, a late edition to camp flies around like he’s shot out of a cannon.
5. The long road back: Wide receiver Davante Adams was supposed to play an entire half in Canton. Expect about the same this week. Adams is looking for redemption after a down year. He has been up and down during camp and needs to show he can put some separation between himself and his defender. He's making some contested catches, but can he get open down the field? He needs to show that he can, especially if Aaron Rodgers is playing.