GREEN BAY – The Packers and Jets kick off preseason game No. 2 at 3:25 p.m. Saturday at Lambeau Field.
Here’s what to watch for.
New opportunities: Some have been hard-earned, some are just the way training camp goes, and some are a mixture of the two.
Rookie fourth-round draft pick Royce Newman will be starting at right guard with a chance to earn a starting job for Week 1. He was thrown into the guard competition this week with Jon Runyan, Lucas Patrick and Ben Braden, and this is a huge chance.
Quarterback Kurt Benkert is likely to play the majority of the game while Jordan Love deals with a shoulder injury. Benkert’s second-half appearance last week started strong before a couple of turnovers marred the outing.
Also, injuries throughout the week have sidelined several veterans, including receiver Devin Funchess, offensive tackle Dennis Kelly and defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster, all of whom played in the preseason opener last week.
If they are sidelined, it opens up opportunities for players like Equanimeous St. Brown and Reggie Begelton at receiver, rookie Cole Van Lanen at tackle and undrafted rookie Jack Heflin on the defensive line, among others, to get in the game sooner and make a larger impression.
Follow-up validation: Several players who performed well in the preseason opener last week – such as running back Kylin Hill, inside linebacker Oren Burks, cornerback Kabion Ento and receiver Malik Taylor – are now tasked with doing it again, the process coaches often refer to as stacking success.
It’s one thing to have a good game. It’s another to establish a level of consistency and reliability at this level. Preseason games are proving grounds in that respect for young players.
Bounce-back mode: The Packers want to rebound in multiple areas from disappointing showings last week.
The run game didn’t get going until the fourth quarter, so that’s high on the priority list. The run defense stood tall for the first half but was leaky in the second half. A four-quarter effort there is desired.
The special teams also didn’t get off to the start under new coordinator Maurice Drayton everyone hoped for. Rookie Amari Rodgers had one nice punt return but muffed another, fortunately recovering his own fumble to prevent disaster. The coverage units allowed punt returns of 43 and 20 yards.
Better work is expected as the Packers look to find the players who can help them in those last handful of roster spots.