It's the last dress rehearsal with jobs on the line as the Packers meet the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night at Lambeau Field. This isn't a game with game plans or schemes, it's all about determining which players on both teams will be on their rosters by Sunday.
Kansas City brings a couple of Packer connections to town with General Manager John Dorsey, a long time understudy to Ted Thompson and Head Coach Andy Reid who got his first pro coaching job with Mike Holmgren before leading the Philadelphia Eagles for over a decade.
Here are a couple of things to look for with the Pack. We'll start with center Corey Linsley. The Ohio State rookie has been thrust into the starting role after J.C. Tretter's knee injury. No one is too concerned about the actual physical job of snapping the ball or shoveling a shotgun snap to the quarterback. It's what happens when the huddle breaks and he looks over the defensive front. Linsley will get a ton of snaps in this game to learn the ropes of protection calls, declarations and other communication. When the regular season begins a week from tonight in Seattle, Linsley will have plenty of help in that regard from veteran guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, not to mention with Aaron Rodgers who has seen just about every defensive alignment and blitz package possible.
The number two quarterback job will be settled. Matt Flynn gets first dibs, followed by Scott Tolzien. Flynn will see the majority of time and if he performs well, my guess is the backup job is his.
On defense, the outside linebacker battle will reach it's crescendo. Returning veterans Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba have been pushed hard by the likes of Jayrone Elliott and to a lesser degree Carl Bradford. Bradford, a 4th round pick, worked at inside backer this week in what may be a last ditch effort to find a way to keep him.
Along the defensive line, Josh Boyd, Khyri Thornton, Mike Pennel and former Viking Letroy Guion are all fighting for snaps now that B.J. Raji is lost for the season with a torn bicep. Guion finally got on the practice field over the last couple of days of camp.
The top four wide receiver jobs are sewn up with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and rookie Davante Adams. Who's number five? Kevin Dorsey and Myles White spent last year on the practice squad but seventh round pick Jeff Janis has built a strong case to stay. Even Alex Gillett has made plays, a great touchdown catch last week. A bad drop could drop any of them out of the running.
One, maybe two offensive line backup jobs are up for grabs. Derek Sherrod and Lane Taylor have two spots in hand. No one has really distinguished themselves from the rest of the group and don't be surprised if Thompson looks for someone on another team's cut list to provide that depth.