Green Bay Packers vs Jacksonville Jaguars – Key Players

Green Bay Packers vs Jacksonville Jaguars – Key Players

Brandon Carwile covers the Packers for the Barroom. His last story on Josh Sitton’s release attracted buzz as he hypothesized the move was related to the lineman’s questioning of Mike McCarthy’s playcalling. Below Carewile looks forward to the Green Bay Packers vs Jacksonville Jaguars game and spotlights five key players

There is no reason for Packers fans (and especially players) to overlook the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday. Jacksonville is a ascending team with potential to make the playoffs in a weak AFC South division. A solid offense accompanied by an up and coming defense makes this a competent team. These are not the same pushover Jags as before, folks.

Expect at least a 90-degree temperature at kickoff. Conditions that will not favor those more at home on a frozen tundra. The Jags are ready, surely more ready than the Packers, to withstand the oppressive heat. Aside from the weather, several players deserve our spotlight. Here are some Packers to look out for in Jacksonville.

  1. # 87 – Jordy Nelson

This may be a little too obvious, but anyone and everyone wants to see Nelson back on the field. Not just to see him catch passes from Aaron Rodgers, but to see how his knee holds up. Has he lost a step? Is he the same Jordy as before? These are all burning questions. When asked by reporters what his limitations may be Nelson answered, “If I for some reason get three deep ballS in a row, I’m coming out. I’ll come out at the end of the year on that too. I could run a bunch of short routes all the way down the field and never have a problem.” Nelson played 90 percent of the offensive snaps in 2014, but in no way should this be an expectation for 2016. He has not played since January 18, 2015 when he caught 5 passes for 71 yards in the NFC Conference Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks. That’s 20 months! The heat, lack of preparation, and taking NFL hits should be enough to keep a precautionary tag on Nelson and limit his reps.

  1. # 65 – Lane Taylor

The absence of Josh Sitton means there are huge shoes to fill at left guard. After three seasons as a reserve, Lane Taylor dons the starter’s shoes and must prove he can protect Rodgers and open holes for Eddie Lacy. It’s someTHING Sitton did play-in-play-out. To expect Taylor to immediately match Sitton’s level of play is unfair. Especially against Malik Jackson. The Super Bowl winning defensive tackle signed a 6-year $90 million dollar contract this offseason with the Jags and he’s probably licking his chops. The Jags will likely pressure Taylor and new center J.C. Tretter. #73. Keep your eyes on the trenches.

  1. # 50 – Blake Martinez

Wednesday it was announced Martinez will start at inside linebacker and wear the communication helmet. Wearing that thing is like being crowned prince of the defense. Martinez will see his first NFL game action and receive the play calls from defensive coordinator Dom Capers. It’s a tall task for the rookie out of Stanford. He not only has to relay defensive signals, but he must ensure the other ten players have it, and line up appropriately. The coaches have placed a lot of trust in Martinez who has developed a reputation for being a voracious student of the game. “I think you have to give him a lot of credit for his ability to communicate and understand, because that’s a heck of an adjustment,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “You could see it in the OTAs that he picked it up quickly. We have a new communication process with Dom Capers calling it from the box to the defensive players. After four weeks, it looks like it’s gone very well.” We’ll see if Martinez can transfer what he’s learned in meeting rooms and practice fields to the real game.

  1. Whoever Is Covering Allen Robinson

The connection Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson are building is becoming one of the scariest young duos in the NFL. Last season Robinson caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. He set a franchise record for receiving touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl in only his second year. Impressive! #37 Sam Shields will likely be opposite Robinson given his success against tall receivers (Robinson stands at 6’3”).  If Robinson becomes a problem, the Packers may mix up match ups and put #23 Damarious Randall or even #24 Quinten Rollins on him to make him less comfortable. The battle between Robinson and whomever is covering him is worth the price of admission.

  1. # 94 – Dean Lowry

When the Packers released their depth chart this week it was a surprise to see Dean Lowry getting the start Sunday over fellow rookie Kenny Clark at defensive end. Clark has been battling a back injury that limited his practice time, but he is ready to go Sunday. He may be the regular starter when fully healthy, but Lowry has been handed the chance to prove his status in the rotation. The Packers have only five defensive lineman on the 53-man roster so options are limited. So expect to see plenty of shots of these five guys drinking Gatorade. Over the last two seasons, the Jaguars have allowed an NFL-high 122 sacks. This is a great opportunity for Lowry to make a splash debut.

Who are your key players for Sunday’s game? I’d love to know. Post a comment below or let us know on our Facebook page (click here) or on twitter (click here).

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