The Green Bay Packers are headed into their second preseason game this Saturday against the New York Jets. Their first preseason matchup was a loss to the Houston Texans. With every preseason game, there were many positives, but just as many areas to work on. The Packers will not see the Jets for the first time this Saturday. They have been holding joint practices this week to give their players extra reps against opposing defenses.
The Packers look to get the best of their practice buddies this Saturday but more importantly evaluate the team’s depth. Here are the key matchups that I will be looking at this weekend:
Devin Funchess vs Jets Young Secondary:
One of the most interesting battles of the Green Bay Packers training camp is the wide receiver position. The Packers seem to have five roster spots locked at wide receiver so far with Adams, Valdes-Scantling, Lazard, Cobb, and Rodgers, but there is still a potential sixth spot up for grabs. The player who seems to be leading the pack for the sixth spot is Devin Funchess.
In his first preseason outing, Devin Funches showed that there are levels to the game. He finished the game with six catches for 70 yards, including a one-handed for a first down. Not only did Funchess impress in the passing game, but he also showed he is willing to contribute in the run game. One thing that fans know for certain, is that LaFleur values wide receivers who can block. If Funchess continues to impress in that department, he could be a lock for the final roster.
Vernon Scott vs Will Redmond:
Looking back at the Packers mini-camp and OTA’s, Will Redmond was getting time with the starters. Even though it was early in the off-season, it showed that the third safety spot was Redmond’s to lose. One player who has made a strong case for dethroning Redmond is Vernon Scott. He had a strong performance against the Houston Texans, contributing in the run and pass defense. He also showed that he is capable of laying some heavy hits on opposing offenses.
I’m a big fan of 2nd year safety Vernon Scott – played team high 64 snaps last night… Excellent job coming down and filling the run!
Joe Barry’s Quarters scheme will need safeties to flyyyyy downhill!
TJ Slaton good job playing stout and on opposite side of LOS pic.twitter.com/AH6ZyT22gJ
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) August 15, 2021
Unfortunately, Scott has missed time this week with an injury, but signs point to him being available for Saturday’s game against the Jets. One strong performance is not enough to earn playing time. Scott is going to have to show he will be consistent every time he steps on the field.
Green Bay Packers Offensive Line:
Arguably the biggest disappointment of the first preseason game was the offensive line. The offensive line was without veterans Elgton Jenkins, David Bakhtiari, and Billy Turner, but even without these veterans, the line underperformed. Most noticeably, Yosh Nijman struggled to protect Jordan Love’s blindside. He was responsible for the strip-sack on Love which also led to his injury. Love has been out of practice the entire week, and will likely miss Saturday’s game.
The offensive line will need to improve against the Jets in order for the Packers to implement their game plan and evaluate players like Kurt Benkert, Kylin Hill, Patrick Taylor, and others. If the line cannot open running lanes or give Benkert time, it not only hurts their chances of winning but makes it harder for the skill positions to truly show their potential. Everything starts in the trenches.