The Green Bay Packers wrap up their preseason schedule Saturday afternoon with a game against the Seattle Seahawks. This will be the last opportunity for players to make an impression on the coaching staff to earn a spot on either the initial 53-man roster or the practice squad. Here is a look at some Packers players who really need to shine in the preseason finale to solidify a starting job or a spot on the roster. They are not listed in any particular order:

Packers Player Who Needs to Shine Number One: K Anders Carlson

The Packers selected Anders Carlson in the sixth round of this year’s NFL draft to replace Mason Crosby. Thus far in camp, Carlson has proven he has a very strong leg, but he continues to struggle with consistency.

Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia worked with Carlson’s brother Daniel and helped him develop from an unsure rookie who was cut by the Vikings to a Pro Bowl player with the Raiders. He hopes to do something similar with Anders in Green Bay.

Barring a terrible performance on Saturday, Carlson is going to make the team but a good performance against Seattle could go a long way to improving Carlson’s confidence and the coaching staff’s belief that he is the next kicker of this team.

Player Number Two: Edge Brenton Cox

Undrafted free agent Brenton Cox has showed he can put some pressure on the quarterback both in camp and during the first two preseason games. Few people question Cox’s talent.

However, he has two obstacles to overcome to make this roster. The first is his past off the field that resulted in Cox getting kicked off two major college football teams. He needs to convince the Packers organization there will be no issues going forward.

The other is the depth the Packers have at edge. Rashan Gary has been activated off the PUP list while Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbare and first-round pick Lukas Van Ness are all guaranteed spots on the roster. Justin Hollins provides the team with a proven veteran rotational piece.

Keeping Cox means keeping six edge rushers which may be one more than the Packers want to have on their roster. A strong performance Saturday may help him lock down a roster spot otherwise the Packers will probably try to sneak him on the practice squad.

Packers Player Who Needs to Shine Number Three: DL Jonthan Ford

Jonathan Ford has a similar problem to Cox in that the Packers have some depth at his position. There are five players ahead of Ford on the depth chart who are locks to make the team in Kenny Clark, T.J. Slaton, Devonte Wyatt, Karl Brooks and Colby Wooden.

Ford would be the backup nose tackle to Slaton and help the always suspect Packers run defense. The 2022 seventh-round pick has had a good training camp but needs to have a strong game on Saturday if he wants to earn a roster spot rather than be placed on the practice squad.

Players Number Four: The 3rd Running Back Candidates

We all know Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon will make the initial 53-man roster and get the bulk of the carries barring injury. But there are multiple players fighting to be the third running back and they all need to impress to have any chance to make the roster.

GM Brian Gutekunst could start the season with just two running backs on the active roster and add two or possibly even three to the practice squad. The ability to contribute on special teams and to pass block are important factors in determining who wins the third running back spot.

Patrick Taylor eventually locked down the third running back spot last year and the team is likely to try to keep him around again. His pass blocking and special teams play give him an advantage and the team knows what he can do.

Emanual Wilson has been the running star of the preseason and a surprise in camp, but one more strong game will certainly work in his favor.

Tyler Goodson is fighting off an injury that couldn’t have come at a worse time but he’s eager to show what he can do.

Draft pick Lew Nichols III has also dealt with injuries and the Packers may try to stash him on the IR if he’s not ready to play on Saturday.

Whoever plays well on Saturday certainly increases their chances of being in Green Bay beyond Tuesday.

Packers Player Who Needs to Shine Number Five: WR Malik Heath

Malik Heath has the size and blocking ability the Packers want from at least one receiver on their roster. He’s made plays all preseason long and continues to exceed expectations.

If the Packers keep seven wide receivers, he’s a lock to be one of them. If they only keep six, Heath needs one more strong performance to try to lock down that final roster spot and complete his Cinderella preseason.

Players Number Six: The Safety Candidates

Safety remains the biggest question mark on the roster, so the candidates need to shine in this final preseason game to earn a starting job or a roster spot. Rudy Ford looks to be leading the competition for the final starting job but if he struggles on Saturday he could just as easily lose it.

Jonathan Owens and Tarvarius Moore (if he’s healthy) may be battling for one roster spot because of the strong play of rookie Anthony Johnson, Jr. so both players need to step up on Saturday to keep their jobs.

The Packers could look to bring in a player off the waiver wire after cutdowns if enough of the players currently on the roster don’t play well and earn the confidence of the coaches.

Packers Player Who Needs to Shine Number Seven: ILB Tariq Carpenter

Second-year man Tariq Carpenter made the switch from safety to inside linebacker this offseason. He played mostly on special teams last year but would a special teams only role be enough to earn him a roster spot? How many ILBs will the Packers keep? The top three are clearly De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, and Isaiah McDuffie.

Eric Wilson and Carpenter may be battling for one roster spot, or the Packers could just keep three ILBs on the active roster and add one or two more on the practice squad. Either way Carpenter needs to show the coaches something to secure a roster spot.



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