Extra preseason game offers unique opportunity for up-and-coming Packers

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-Brady VanDeurzen

Many Packers fans muttered that 2015 would be a ‘long season’ after star wideout Jordy Nelson went down in week 2 of the preseason. However, the 2016 season actually will be a longer season for the Green and Gold, for in 2016 the Packer will partake in an extra preseason game, or the “Hall of Fame game.”

The NFL’s decision to include the Packers in the Hall of Fame game came after Brett Favre‘s recent induction into the Hall of Fame, and although many fans and players alike are opposed to the idea of having more preseason games, it is always the best place to watch up-and-coming Packers boast their skills.

The Packers will face the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. in the 54th annual Hall of Fame game, and watchers should not expect to see star players on the field for anything more than a few snaps.

The game has become more of a tribute than an actual game, and oftentimes stars will not even suit up. Although teams almost always sit their starting team after the first series of the Hall of Fame game, that does not mean that the game will be any less leisurely.

The game allows for one more week for position battles to be won, and backups to prove their value. For the Packers, many fans will most likely focus on backup QB Brett Hundley, as well as the group of 2016 draftees.

Young talent like Hundley, will be able to play an extra game, rather than a simple practice. Actual game time is irreplaceable for young players, practice can oftentimes become laid-back, and not lifelike. Hundley had a breakout preseason in 2015 and many hope that he continues to play with the mentality that he had in 2015.

Kenny Clark, the Packers first-round draft pick, will be another player that Packer fans will most likely place their focus on. The 20-year-old replacement for B.J Raji, will most likely be elevated to the starting lineup depending on the caliber of his preseason output. Clark, although very young and talented, will have a lot to prove in the preseason.

The extra preseason game may help the Packers solve their ongoing Wide Receiver battle as well. The Packers currently have seven, first-team caliber, receivers. With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb indubitably being shoo-ins for the starting lineup, the number three receiving position is still up in the air.

This battle should be very heated throughout the preseason, players like Devante Adams, Jeff Janis, Ty Montgomery, Jared Abbrederis and 4th-round draft pick, Trevor Davis will all have to perform admirably throughout the preseason in order to land the coveted number three receiving position.

It is unlikely that starters will receive excessive amounts of playing time in the preseason. However, young starters, like Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix may receive extended amounts of playing time in the preseason in order to hone their skills.

In the end, the extra preseason game will be an intriguing addition to the 2016 season. It will allow for many up-and-comers to display their talents, in hope that they land a spot on the Packers 53-man roster.


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