The battle for starting spots in the secondary has been one of the fiercest competitions so far during training camp. Patrick Peterson, Richard Marshall and Rashad Johnson will get another chance in the spotlight against one of the best receiving corps in the NFL.
A.J. Jefferson, meanwhile, continues his quest from undrafted free agent to potential starter, as he faces his toughest test to date – lining up against Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and more. How Jefferson matches up with Green Bay’s outstanding group of wideouts could determine his place on the depth chart.
The pass rush has come under some scrutiny and wasn’t helped by the lack of pressure against the Raiders. While O’Brien Schofield, Joey Porter and company are running very vanilla blitz schemes in the preseason, their heart and determination in getting past a solid Packers offensive line would be an encouraging sign.
Protect the Pocket
In each of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton’s first series they came under heavy duress from Oakland’s pass rush and often ended up running for their lives. Friday night’s contest would be an ideal setting for the Cards’ offensive line to gel together against Clay Matthews, Ryan Pickett and an imposing Green Bay defense.
Line calls and audibles, along with chipping and picking up blitzes should be the focus here, as the first-team offense needs to garner some successful drives in order to build momentum. Former Packer Daryn Colledge will be under the microscope, coming off missed assignments around the goal line last week.
Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams and LaRod Stephens-Howling all showed flashes running the ball against the Raiders, but face considerably tougher competition in the form of A.J. Hawk, B.J. Raji and a disciplined Green Bay run defense.
This is an extension of the offensive line developing continuity and opening running lanes, but the running backs need to utilize their vision and decision-making to be more consistent in their reads. A successful rushing attack is key to Kolb and the Cards’ success in 2011. A strong showing against the defending champs would be a major boost as preparations for the regular season continue.
Follow Ryan Knowles on Twitter: @RyKno52