Burke's Blog 8/15

Published 08/15 2012 09:03AM

Updated 08/15 2012 09:04AM

5 Things to watch for vs. Cleveland

1. Left Tackle - Marshall Newhouse is back after his time off due to a concussion at the scrimmage. Will he be rusty in his return? And will Herb Taylor or any of his replacements make strides with the 2nd string. Needless to say, Aaron Rodgers cannot be under as much pressure as he was in San Diego if the Packers first team offense plans on improving from that performance.

2. ILB - Desmond Bishops loss will be another linebackers gain. The big question is whether or not Bishop will be replaced at or near the level of performance he was giving when 100 percent. Bishop was the Packers surest tackler and a huge part of their run defense. He was also one of the toughest players on that side of the football and his attitude and effort were always top notch. DJ Smith and Robert Francois filled in last year when Bishop and Hawk were out, so this is a prime opportunity for one of them to take that next step forward.

3. RB - James Starks had been given the starting job all to himself after Green Bay let Ryan Grant go, but it isn't as if Starks shined in his preseason debut vs. the Chargers. 5 carries for 16 yards and one botched fumble that was credited to Rodgers. Starks has looked decent during training camp, but with Cedric Benson brought into camp this week, there should be a little bit of "fire" lit for him.

4. DB - Davon House had made a push for being a starter at corner, but his shoulder injury will sideline his chances during the preseason for awhile. Tramon Williams spot is set in stone but who will play opposite him come September is still a question. The Packers may take the same approach they have with Charles Woodsons move to safety. Most guys are interchangeable parts with certain skills suited for each of them. At this point Jarrett Bush and Sam Shields are the veterans with the most experience.

5. Offense - 2011 was a record setting season for the Packers and even though Mike McCarthy has always limited the amount of snaps Rodgers and the starters have taken in the past, getting some sort of a rhythm going against the Browns will be the top priority. Traditionally the 3rd preseason game is the one where the Packers first team plays the most, even up through the entire first half. But if Aaron and company move up and down the field in quick fashion, look for an early exit and plenty of reps again for Graham Harrell.

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