Green Bay Packers Late August Scouting Report
I don’t know if training camp is going the way LaFleur thought it would. QB Aaron Rodgers possibly not playing in a preseason game, none of the top two running backs getting many snaps in a new offense. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am not sure how Packer fantasy picks will do early in the season given the unusual preseason that is occurring.
On offense the quarterback group, fantasy wise, starts and ends with QB Aaron Rodgers. But Rodgers is not getting any preseason game snaps the way things are shaping up. Rodgers already has tightening in his back that he is nursing. It would appear that QB Tim Boyle has overtaken QB DeShone Kizer as the number two guy with his performance against the Raiders. At running back, RB Aaron Jones and RB Jamaal Williams are just returning to practice. Neither are taking regular snaps just yet. And it is not clear if either will play in the next preseason game. RB Dexter Williams has played in their place. His performance is good one time and not so good the next. He is going thru some rookie growing pains. RB Tra Carson’s performance is also been spotty too. FB Danny Vitale (calf) and FB Malcom Johnson (groin) have been injured for over a week and are still out. It is Vitale who is the guy who could be a contributor on offense if he can get healthy. The Packers did sign FB Tommy Bohanon but he lacks Vitale’s skill set. Meanwhile RB Darin Hall did well in the Ravens game – but that was in the 4th quarter against non-starters. Ultimately it will be Jones and Williams but how soon will they be functional and have enough snaps to produce? Need some more bad news? At tight end, TE Jimmy Graham dislocated a finger in practice after the Ravens game. What that means to how his season starts has yet to be determined. It could be the TE Robert Tonyan show at the position sooner than later. Stay tuned for this one. TE Mercedes Lewis will always be a very good blocker and available on game day. And TE Jace Sternberger is still in the process of learning the pro game. Others at the position are TE Evan Baylis and TE Pharaoh McKever. These are not considered significant. At wide receiver, time has a way of sorting things out. As stated last month WR Davante Adams, WR Geronimo Allison and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling are locks to make the roster. Adams and Allison especially should the focus of candidates for your fantasy draft. After that WR Jake Kumerow has solidified the number four spot. I think it is time we considered WR Darius Shepherd a part of the roster. His special teams play, route running, ball catching, playing speed, and quickness have shown up on the field. WR Equanimeous St. Brown is out four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain sustained in the Raiders game. Otherwise he was quietly having a good camp. Just where he falls on the depth chart is another issue. And finally WR Allen Lazard has also had a very good camp and in three preseason games has shown up. In one of those games he was the Packers leading receiver. The reports indicate his special teams work in practice is also very good. WR Trevor Davis took one hit in a practice with the Texans and then took a week and a half vacation while he healed from it. He is back now and had a very good game against the Raiders. Cuts for this position will be interesting. But I think WR J’mon Moore is gone. The offensive line starting lineup should consist of OT David Bakhtari, OG Lane Taylor, OC Cory Linsley, OG Billy Turner, and OT Bryan Bulaga. Taylor and OG Elgton Jenkins are in a battle for the left guard position. OT Alex Light seems to have won the swing backup tackle role. OG Cole Madison and Jenkins both can play center as well as guard. Bakhtari and Bulaga continue their good work. OG Lucas Patrick and OG Justin McCray both appear to better in backup roles than in starting roles. They are both having good camps as well.
On defense what is reported from camp and what is happening in games do not match. They are still having trouble getting off the field and stopping drives. They did better against the Raiders. And they are tied for first in turnover differential – so they have that going for them. On the defensive line not much has changed. DL Dean Lowry, DL Ken Clark, DL Mike Daniels, DL Montravius Adams, DL Tyler Lancaster, and DL Fadol Brown should all be pushing for playing time. DL Kingsley Keke is doing well individually. At outside linebacker the Packers have OLB Preston Smith, OLB Za’Darius Smith, OLB Rashan Gary, OLB Kyler Fackrell, and OLB Reggie Gilbert. The Smith brothers are doing well when they play which isn’t often. Gary hasn’t shown up yet – no pressures, sacks, and not much penetration. And now he was injured in the Raiders game. Fackrell also gets some positive comments but not many. At inside linebacker ILB Oren Burks is injured with a torn pectoral muscle. The Packers are talking like ILB Colton Bolton is the front runner to replace him. But the magnitude of his injury sustained against the Raiders has yet to be revealed. ILB Ty Summers was doing well until the last preseason game. Against the Raiders he led the team in tackles again. Otherwise ILB Blake Martinez will start. All this leaves ILB James Crawford, last year undrafted free agent wonder, maybe without a position? At corner back the starters are CB Jaire Alexander and CB Kevin King. But King is still out with a hamstring injury. CB Tony Brown would be his replacement in week one if he can’t go. Brown is closing the gap quickly and one has to wonder when the Packers decide to move on from King. CB KaDar Hollman has what is called a minor injury. He has impressed in both practice and games. CB Josh Jackson is just back from his injury situation. Most thought he played well against the Raiders. CB Tramon Williams seems to always be there and never misses a practice. The rest are CB Nydair Rouse and CB Chandon Sullivan. At safety the Packers have S Adrian Amos and S Darnell Savage who are the starters. S Raven Greene has been doing better than S Natrell Jamerson lately. At this point Greene is the number three guy at the position. I don’t know much about S Tray Matthews or S Mike Tyson. It looks like S Will Redmond has played himself off the team. S Josh Jones is around and when something is said about him it isn’t usually positive. He could be out the door soon. We will see if there is any improvement in yards given up in the following preseason games. K Mason Crosby is back and kicking again. He and K Sam Ficken seem to be doing equally well so far. I don’t know what the Packers intentions are concerning this kicking competition.
My recommendations for your fantasy team at this time are; QB Aaron Rodgers, TE Jimmy Graham (he should heal at some point), WR Davante Adams, WR Geronimo Allison, and the Packer defense. Let’s see how running back Jones and Williams look first. I don’t know about the kicker just yet. They say that those still standing will make the team. Be sure your one of them – see you in a couple of weeks for NFL week one.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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