Finally, it's football. The Green Bay Packers open Pre-Season play in Nashville Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans. Everybody's fired up to play a real game, against another team. Here's a montage of comments from Mike McCarthy and several players about what they want to get out of the game, the first pro game for some, old hat for others:
Audio: Mike McCarthy and players.
There may be only one starting job that's still open for competition and that's tight end. Andrew Quarless would seem to have the inside track, he's played more significant snaps than any of the others. Keep an eye out for Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers. If they're making plays, the battle will heat up.
The rest of the starters will break a sweat and that's about it. A series for Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy, maybe a couple for the offensive line, breaking in a new center in J.C. Tretter. The top receivers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, will gave way quickly to get Jarrett Boykin more snaps. Second round pick Davante Adams, Myles White, Kevin Dorsey and perhaps Chris Harper and rookie Jeff Janis are all scrambling for the number 4 through 6 spots.
On defense, top choice Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will see significant playing time because starter Morgan Burnett won't play with his oblique strain. He needs the work, as does Micah Hyde, still settling into his new position. I'm anxious to see if defensive lineman Mike Pennel picks up from his strong Family Night showing and productive week of practice against the Titans. A bunch of backup linebackers will get into the mix. Andy Mulumba is getting pushed hard by the likes of Carl Bradford, Jayrone Elliot and Adrian Hubbard outside. Joe Thomas isn't far behind Sam Barrington as a backup, inside backer.
Seven players are staying home because of injury. Jared Abbrederis and Don Barclay will eventually wind up on injured reserve for the season with ACL tears. Also left behind are Burnett, Tanner Miller, Colt Lyerla, Letroy Guion and Jerel Worthy.
The Titans are implementing new systems on both sides of the ball under first year Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt, the former coach of the Arizona Cardinals. That usually leads to spotty play and mistakes.
Don't get too caught up in the final score. Sure, it would be nice to get some positive training camp reinforcement with a victory but this game and three more to come are all about showing the coaching staff and General Manager Ted Thompson you can function in this environment. Big plays are great but solid, fundamental play without mental errors will be graded just as high.