The Green Bay Packers open up their preseason schedule against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field. The Packers are looking to make the 2013 season a championship season. Since they won the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers have become one of the best organizations in the NFL making the playoffs in each following year.
The Cardinals have been heading in the opposite direction of the Packers since the two squared off in the 2009 season’s overtime playoff thriller. They have gone through numerous players at many different positions including the all important quarterback position.
A new quarterback is at the helm for the Cardinals this season as they took to the free agent market and gambled on Carson Palmer. Palmer is best known for his days with the Cincinnati Bengals, throwing touchdown passes to Chad Johnson. Since his stint on the Bengals, Palmer moved to the Oakland Raiders and struggled, showing no signs of the once stellar quarterback he was. Palmer is hoping to turn things around this season with the Cardinals, and in his first preseason game he looks to prove he still is deserving of a starting spot.
The running back position also has a new leading face as Rashard Mendenhall enters the mix. After showing signs of decline and reoccurring injuries, Mendenhall was let go by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mendenhall looks to be the starting back, but don’t count out Ryan Williams, Andre Ellington or Stepfan Taylor just yet. Each will look to prove they have what it takes during the preseason to get time on the field come the regular season.
The home team, Packers, take the field Friday night with most of the starters already securing their positions. The biggest battle to watch during the contest will be the starting running back role. Rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin will have a tough competition for the starting role. Both running backs play different styles of football and the Packers’ coaching staff will use the preseason as a final test for the young players.
Aaron Rodgers will undoubtedly be the starting quarterback for the Packers and won’t see much playing time Friday night. The backup job to Rodgers is not quite as clear. Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman have been competing through training camp, but it seems as if the coaching staff isn’t too happy about what they’ve seen. The Packers decided to bring in Vince Young for a tryout earlier this week and signed him to a one year deal in hopes he can bring in the level of play the Packers are looking for in a backup quarterback.
Injuries have been a problem for the Packers early this season. They lost starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga for the season with an ACL tear, Randall Cobb is nursing a shoulder injury, Jordy Nelson found himself under the knife after suffering a knee injury, and Lacy pulled his hamstring earlier in the week. With the injuries coming so early in the season they do have time to make adjustments, but they don’t want to see any more of their players go down.
Friday night’s contest may not be the most exciting game for fans to watch, but the coaching staffs on each side will be watching closely as they use the game as their first assessment of position battles. The Cardinals will give every player a chance to show if they have what it takes and get an idea of the direction that the ball club is heading this year. For the Packers, they are simply hoping another player doesn’t lay on the turf in agony with another crucial injury.