Preseason games are the "cheese pizza" of the NFL. Where's the Pepperoni? Italian sausage...and in my case: Jalapenos! As the baby-steps version of NFL football, we need to be tolerant, patient, and... Oh screw that! Bring on the regular season for God's sake!
Tonight, the Green Bay Packers have traveled to St. Louis for a test launch. These two teams are in the middle of finding out, not who will be on the final rosters, but how the pieces-parts will fit together for the coming season. Green Bay is trying to find out which wide receiver can fill the void of Greg Jennings, who left in free agency for Minnesota. They'll be trying to unveil a running game, which showed itself to be a severe team flaw in 2012. The Packers hit the NFL Draft in April, landing two promising running backs in Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.
Offensive line woes could bring on some dog days for Aaron Rodgers. The most sacked quarterback in the NFL last season, he's hoping for a fewer bruises this year. Facing them tonight is one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, headlined by defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn. The bookend former first round draft choices will be a great test for a morphing Packers offensive line.
The Rams are coming off a "meh" first preseason week performance against the Cleveland Browns. This game features a small subplot, with the recent revelation of 2012 star linebacker Jo Lon Dunbar being suspended for the first four games of the regular season. Look for Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher to be test driving a few possible Dunbar replacements tonight.
The number of rookie and second year players on the Rams roster will be fun to watch. Tavon Austin was relatively quiet in his first professional appearance against the Browns, so he may get a few more chances to shine tonight. Sam Bradford is going to try and add to a strong first week outing, and he's hoping for fewer dropped passes among his young wide receiver charges.
So get ready for at least one quarter of football, followed by the NFL's version of American Idol tryouts. Come on rookies, it's your time to sing!
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