Packers at 49ers: 5 things to watch

Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Green Bay Packers (2-0) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

When: 9 p.m. Friday.

Where: Levi’s Stadium.

Broadcast: TV — Channel 4 in Milwaukee and Channel 26 in Green Bay. Radio – 620-AM.

Injury report: WR Jeff Janis (hand), OL Josh Walker (knee), S Morgan Burnett (back), C Jacob Flores (knee) and QB Brett Hundley (ankle) will not play. NT Kenny Clark (back), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), ILB Jake Ryan (hamstring), ILB Joe Thomas (shin) and DT Mike Daniels (illness) are questionable. 49ers DL Glenn Dorsey (knee) and WR Eric Rogers (knee) will not play; WRs DeAndre Smelter (hamstring), Bryce Treggs (knee), RB Shaun Draughn (ribs), LB Nick Bellore (knee) and DL Arik Armstead (shoulder) are questionable.


1. First things first: The No. 1 offense is expected to play more than it has in any game thus far and QB Aaron Rodgers should be a part of it. But coach Mike McCarthy has been coy about Rodgers’ playing status all summer and it’s anyone’s guess how many snaps he gets. With Hundley out, Rodgers may play a little longer than originally planned so the offense can get its rhythm.

2. Puntathon: Through two games, free agent Peter Mortell has fared better than incumbent Tim Masthay in the race to be the Packers’ punter. Mortell has averaged 49.2 yards (48.8 net) on five attempts with four landing inside the 20-yard line. By comparison, Masthay has averaged 42.7 (26.7 net) with one inside the 20. This will be a chance for Mortell to keep the heat on and make the decision tougher for the coaches.

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3. Tip of the Kaep: Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick can be credited with ending the Packers’ season twice during his career, but last year his career took a nosedive and he was a shell of himself in a 17-3 loss to the Packers at Levi’s Stadium. After suffering a dead arm in camp and missing about the first two games, Kaepernick will make his debut in coach Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense. Blaine Gabbert has been the starter, but Kaepernick is still in the running.

4. Special moments: A couple of young players really need to show something on special teams this week. Linebacker Kyler Fackrell is one. It’s going to be his best chance of getting on the field this year. Undrafted free agents Josh Hawkins, Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans are three others whose fates might be determined by special-teams play. In the return game, rookie Trevor Davis looked good returning kickoffs last week and in practice this week and needs to build on it.

5. Middle men: There’s a decent chance Clark won’t play and so the backup nose tackles will be Brian Price, Christian Ringo and Demetrius Anderson. One of those three could very well be on the 53-man roster Week 1, but which one? Price has had his moments, Ringo has been so-so and Anderson has been hurt. This will be a great opportunity for one of the three to prove himself worthy of a full-time job. If no one does, the Packers might be looking for someone on the street after cut-down day.

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