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Burkes Blog 8/22

5 Things to Watch vs. Cincinnati

1. Cedric Benson:

The former Bengals running back returns to his old stomping grounds in Cincinnati where he will face his former Bengal teammates.  At this point he's said all the right things, but it's almost impossible to think that there isn't a part of him that wants to stick it to his old team.    Benson said,  "I DON'T HOLD ANYTHING AGAINST THEM BUT NATURALLY YOU'RE GOING TO WANT TO SHOW UP ON THE TEAM THAT PASSED ON YOU. LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK THERE I KNOW I GOT A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM THE FANS OUT THERE AND STUFF AND IT'LL BE GOOD JUST TO GO AGAINST THAT DEFENSE BECAUSE I'VE SEEN ALL THOSE GUYS COME IN TOGETHER SO IT WILL BE FUN TO PUT A LICKIN ON THEM." 

Plan on seeing a heavy dose of Benson not just to see how he has handled the playbook, but the Packers haven't done much of anything in the running game in the first two preseason games.

 

2. 1st team offense:

Aaron Rodgers and company have one touchdown so far, but the reality is they have only had six series to worth with.  And they've done so without some of their best offensive weapons.   Last year the Bengals were 7th in total defense, and 9th in points allowed, so even if it doesn't turn into a scoring track meet, there shouldn't be much reason for concern.  If Green Bay hasn't scored at least one TD in the first half, expect to see the starters keep their gear on and head out for at least one series in the 3rd quarter.

 

3. Graham Harrell:

The Packers backup QB has the support of the coaching staff and his teammates.  At this point though it isn't as if Harrell's gametime performances have made fans feel comfortable should Rodgers get hurt.  Bottom line, he needs to play better and the entire 2nd string offense needs to do the same.

 

4.  CB opposite Tramon Williams:

At some point a starter will be named,  but the trio of Jarrett Bush, Sam Shields, and Casey Hayward seem to be about even at this point.  The Packers will need contributions from all of them and with Davon House out because of a shoulder injury, they will all be factors when it comes to special teams.

 

5. Breakout player:

Every year there seems to be one or two players that shine during the preseason and make the roster as a longshot free agent.   Several guys could be in that role this year from Dezmond Moses, Jarrett Boykin, Anthony Levine, or even Marc Tyler and Otis Merrill.  

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