5 Things To Watch For In Packers Preseason Opener vs. Bengals

Jordan Love, Jonathan Owens, Josh Myers, Packers
Packers Coverage, NFL Analysis Network

The Green Bay Packers are set to play their first preseason game of the year tonight against the Cincinnati Bengals. After a joint practice on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see which players can keep the momentum rolling and if anyone turns things around after a tough day on the field.

There is some eerieness to this matchup, as Aaron Rodgers’ first preseason game as the Packers starting quarterback, 15 years ago to the day, was against the Bengals as well. To this point, Jordan Love’s career path has been virtually identical to the one of Rodgers; the Packers can only hope that also means the Utah State product will have a Hall of Fame career.

Love, for obvious reasons, is one of the five things to watch for tonight in the preseason opener. Everyone wants to see how he handles being the starter and getting as many reps as possible will be good for him.

He had some bright moments during the joint practice and received a lot of praise from the Bengals’ defenders for how he performed. Can he replicate the good portions against them for a second time in three days?

Another thing to watch for on offense is the unexpected battle that has ensued along the offensive line. Center Josh Myers has found himself facing off with tackle Yosh Nijman for the final starting spot in the trenches. Whoever doesn’t land the starting spot will be replaced by Zach Tom, who will starting somewhere.

Right now, Tom is listed as the starting right tackle, with Myers at center. That is something that could change, as the coaching staff has laid out clear goals for Myers if he wants to hold onto his starting spot. 

Last but not least offensively, how effective the young playmakers are against the Bengals will be worth keeping an eye on. A lot of attention will be on the backfield, where competition is heating up for the No. 3 job behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.

One of Patrick Taylor, Tyler Goodson and Lew Nichols will have a chance to be the featured back in the offense during the preseason. Taylor looks like he will get the frist crack against the Bengals. The coaching staff wants to see production as a runner but also in pass blocking and special teams.

Defensively, the attention will be on the safety position. Darnell Savage Jr. looks to be the only player with a set role right now, as he will likely be one starter. Rudy Ford is listed as the second starting safety, but his hold on the spot is tenuous.

Free agent signings Jonathan Owens and Tarvarius Moore are both breathing down his neck and have been mixing in with the first-team defense. No position is as unsettled as safety for the Packers, who are looking for someone to seize the spot and stand out.

Thus far in training camp, the defensive line, namely the interior, has been one of the pleasant surprises. Kenny Clark is entrenched as the stalwart of the bunch, but the performance of Devonte Wyatt, TJ Slaton, Jonathan Ford and rookies Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks has really stood out.

What was once perceived as a potential weakness could quickly be turning into a strength for the Packers. Getting the job done in practice is one thing, but finding success in live game reps is another. The coaches will be keeping a close eye on this group to see just how far along they have come once the whistle blows for game action against the Bengals.