The Green Bay Packers will hold their annual Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field on Friday night. Family Night allows the Packers to ramp up the intensity of their practices before the start of the now three-game preseason. Having a big crowd at the team’s home stadium only adds to the atmosphere of the event and it gives fans an extra opportunity to see the Packers since there is only one home preseason game this season.
But the most important aspect of Family Night is how the team performs on the field. The coaching staff will be looking for certain things from the players and will be implementing different formations or looks in a simulated game situation.
Of course, emerging from Family Night injury free is also important for the Packers.
Here are five things to look for when the Packers take the field on Friday for Family Night:
- Can Jordan Love Continue Showing Improvement?
The Packers backup quarterback is entering his third NFL season and he has looked better in training camp so far this year than he did in his first two campaigns.
The former Utah State star has been more comfortable in the pocket and has been better on his pre-snap reads. His long throws have been more accurate and he is exuding more confidence in the pocket than he did in his previous training camps.
Can Love continue to show more of the talent that the Packers saw in him when they made him their first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? The preseason will tell and this is the first step in that process for Love who must show the Packers brass he is worth keeping around. GM Brian Gutekunst has to make a decision as to whether to offer Love a fifth-year option deal next offseason.
- Who Starts On the Offensive Line?
The coaching staff has showed a lot of different looks along the offensive line in camp thus far. We know David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are currently on the PUP list and it remains unclear when they will be ready to return to the lineup. So, there are several open jobs along the line at this time.
The Packers used mid-round picks this year on offensive linemen Zach Tom and Sean Rhyan who will be making their debuts at Lambeau Field.
Where players like Tom, Rhyan, Yosh Nijman, Jake Hanson, Royce Newman, Jon Runyan, Jr. and Cole Van Lanen line up will be interesting to see. Who will be at what position and who will see reps with the first team, second team, etc. are all up in the air.
Keep an eye on who plays where and who plays well along the offensive line.
- Can Special Teams Be More Special?
Rich Bisaccia was brought in as special teams coordinator to revive a unit that has ranked at or near the bottom of the league for far too long.
We will get our first look at the special teams units in a game-type situation on Friday. Both the kick and punt return jobs are up in the air, there is a battle for the long snapper spot between incumbent Steven Wirtel and newcomer Jack Coco and we don’t know who will be featured on both the kick and punt return coverage units and the field goal blocking units.
Bisaccia seems to have the special teams units more organized and is holding them to a higher standard than past coaches.
There are roster spots to be won and lost on special teams and Family Night will give us our first glimpse of how things will be different in 2021.
- How Good Can the Defense Be?
Thus far in training camp, the defense has been considered ahead of the offense. Joe Barry’s unit is going to look different this year with more formations with two inside linebackers which will hopefully improve the team’s run defense without sacrificing much against the pass.
One of the keys to this is the addition of rookie first-round pick Quay Walker who has more speed and is a more consistent tackler than the players who started at inside linebacker in the past.
The Packers could feature seven former first-round picks on defense this season in their starting lineup. The defense has been hyped since the draft with the additions of Walker, fellow first-round pick Devonte Wyatt and free agent defensive lineman Jarran Reed along with the re-signing of De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas.
This will be the first view of the new defense. While we won’t likely see all the starters, we will for the first time see what the basic formations look like and how the team is playing this new system.
- Can Romeo Doubs Keep Shining?
Fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs has been the talk of the first week of training camp. The former Nevada star has exceled in practice and has made good catches against both veterans and rookies and has worked well with both Aaron Rodgers and Love.
But can Doubs continue to play at this high level in a game-like situation? Now, he will be jammed at the line of scrimmage and be dealing with more physical play from defenders.
All eyes will be on Doubs who is looking to find a substantial role in the offense in his rookie campaign. He’s off to a promising start but needs to keep going to earn playing time in a wide open receiver group.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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