On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers will take the field against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Packers are coming off of 20-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans, a game that was played in monsoon conditions. Also, eight starters, including Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, and Jordy Nelson were held out of last Saturday’s game. So, this Saturday will be their first game action of the year.
With this being Rodgers first game of the year, it will also be his first game working with new center J.C. Tretter. Tretter will be the fourth starting center in four years for the Packers, following in the footsteps of Scott Wells, Jeff Saturday, and most recently Evan Dietrich-Smith. Tretter played very well in the opener against the Titans. Even with all of the rain, Tretter was able to play whole first half without any problems snapping the ball.
However, the challenge for Tretter will only get tougher when they face the Rams this week. The Rams have one of the best defensive lines in the league, headed by former number two pick Chris Long. Along with the Rams d-line, Tretter will have to learn all of the cadences and different audibles of Aaron Rodgers. Hopefully Tretter and Rodgers can develop a chemistry that rivals that of Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday, when they played for the Indianapolis Colts.
Another player to watch is the former Chicago Bear Julius Peppers. Peppers did not record a sack or a tackle against the Titans in his first game as a Packer. Like many other starters, Peppers saw limited playing time because of the tough weather conditions. In the upcoming game against the Rams, it will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Dom Capers plays around with the different packages that Peppers can be used in. If Capers keeps on tweaking with ways to use Peppers throughout the remaining preseason games, the Packers defense will be fun to watch.
Even though this will be Rodgers’ first game action of the year, I still expect him and most of the other starters to play into the second quarter. Game reps are very important, even for a seasoned vet like Rodgers. This second preseason game will also be when head coach Mike McCarthy starts filling players into different roles, and when some of the starters will begin to emerge. After Saturday, the regular season will be less than three weeks away. The countdown is on, but first, there’s other business to take care of.