4 Packers To Watch In Preseason Opener

Offensive lineman Don Barclay (#67) faces tough competition for a roster spot in 2016.

Offensive lineman Don Barclay (#67) faces tough competition for a roster spot in 2016.

Football is essentially a game of limited opportunities. A particular game might only have 70 to 80 offensive plays, and the best performers will maximize those very limited shots to show what they can do best.

Obviously, players looking to make the Packers’ roster need every opportunity they can get, so last weekend’s cancellation of the Hall of Fame game was a significant blow, if only to the amount of chances for players to show their stuff.

That puts a lot more pressure on Friday’s tilt with Cleveland, and these four guys have the most to prove in their increasingly limited opportunities.

1. Jeff Janis

Green Bay’s playoff hero (whose heroics netted the Packers… zero wins) has been having a rough camp. In Jordy Nelson’s now truncated absence, Janis has gotten significant playing time with the first team. The results have been underwhelming, at best. Janis hasn’t shown significant improvement as a receiver, and now he will seemingly have to make the team once again as a special teams ace. This is fine. It is also not what the Packers were hoping for. Perhaps Janis will be better in actual game situations.

2. Sam Barrington

Barrington’s preseason needs are different than most. His roster spot is not in doubt, in all likelihood. But with Blake Martinez coming on strong, Barrington must make the most of every chance he gets to demonstrate why he should still be in the inside linebacker discussion.

3. Don Barclay

Last year, Barclay made the final roster for two reasons: reputation and a lack of competition. Neither are a factor this year. Barclay’s poor showing last season (caused in part by the not-negligible effects of ACL surgery recovery) put him nearly back to square one this year. Competition, meanwhile, is fierce. The Packers have a strong offensive line group in camp, featuring the highly regarded J.C. Tretter, monstrous Josh Walker, nearly as monstrous Matt Rotheram, newly re-signed Lane Taylor, and draft picks Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy. All of those players could present reasonable cases for replacing Barclay on the basis of potential alone. It’s up to Barclay to show why he’s the better choice.

4. Marquise Williams

Squarely behind Joe Callahan on the QB depth chart, Williams missed out big time with last week’s debacle. With fewer game speed reps to show what he can do, Williams will need to really cash in on every possible chance in Friday’s game.

NewsJon Meerdink