Packers preview: 5 things to watch in exhibition vs. Titans
GREEN BAY PACKERS (0-0) vs. TENNESSEE TITANS (0-0)
When: 7 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Lambeau Field.
Broadcast: Radio – WTMJ 620-AM. TV – Ch. 4 in Milwaukee and the Packers Television Network across the state.
LIVE BLOG: Tom Silverstein provides lively discussion and Q&A throughout the game
Packers – TE Jimmy Graham (knee), DT Mo Wilkerson (groin), WR Trevor Davis (hamstring), WR Randall Cobb (ankle), CB Jaire Alexander (groin), OT David Bakhtiari (ankle), CB Kevin King (shoulder), RB Devante Mays (hamstring), RB Aaron Jones (hamstring), DT Mike Daniels (thigh) and FB Joe Kerridge (shoulder) all sat out practice Tuesday and probably won’t play. OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) has taken part only in individual drills since coming off PUP and probably won’t play. Titans –DB Demontre Hurst, LB Rashaan Evans, LB Sharif Finch, OL Kevin Pamphile, DL Bennie Logan, LB Nate Palmer and linebacker Brian Orakpo have missed time recently and are questionable. (The Titans do not reveal the specifics of a player’s injury during the preseason.)
5 things to watch
1. SAFETY FIRST: Though coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t reveal who was not going to play, there is zero chance that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play. Instead, backups Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer will split the snaps and fourth-stringer Tim Boyle may mop up. This is the first of four live auditions for Hundley and Kizer, who are competing for the top backup spot.
2. THE RUN AROUND: with Jones and Mayes both unlikely to play and starter Jamaal Williams probably seeing a limited amount of snaps, McCarthy must decide how much he wants to play Ty Montgomery. The converted receiver has been injury prone and probably shouldn’t be exposed too much. That would leave street free agents Joel Bouagnon and Akeem Judd to take care of most of the ball-handling and pass protection duties.
PODCAST: Tom Silverstein previews Thursday's exhibition opener
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3. SEEKING GOOD RECEPTION: Assuming Davante Adams, Cobb and Geronimo Allison aren’t going to play much, if at all, the foursome of Jake Kumerow, J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scanting and Equanimeous St. Brown will be the main receiving targets. Kumerow has been the most consistent by far, but St. Brown made a strong move this week and will be pressing for more playing time.
4. DEBUT PERFORMANCE: Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s unit will get at least a quick look at a legitimate NFL starter. The Titans’ Marcus Mariota is expected to play, which should give the new Packers defense a better test than if it were just playing against backups Blaine Gabbert or Luke Falk. Mariota’s scrambling ability will test the unit’s discipline.
5. SAFETY IN NUMBERS: Pettine has shown an affinity for using safeties during camp and don’t be surprised if you see as many as four on the field at the same time. Jermaine Whitehead and Quinten Rollins can play near the line of scrimmage as slot corners or in the middle as inside linebackers while Josh Jones will play both deep and in the box. Pettine has a lot of corners to look at, but he’s going to find out which safeties can play multiple positions before the summer is out.