Safety M.D. Jennings (right) struggled in last week’s preseason opener
The Packers play their second preseason game tonight. Here are 3 questions to ponder while you watch:
1) Can M.D. Jennings be a competent starter at safety in the sub-packages?
The former undrafted free agent from Arkansas State was a great story last summer, but it’s one thing to make a 53-man roster and a whole other thing to play 70 to 80 percent of the defensive snaps for a Super Bowl contender. Jennings didn’t impress me at practice a few weeks ago and he struggled in the preseason opener against San Diego last Thursday night. He’s a pretty good athlete, but he still looks unsure of himself on the field. The “Doctor” may simply need more time to learn to read complex NFL offenses. Unfortunately, he has less than a month before Randy Moss and the rest of the 49ers come to town.
2) Can anyone jump up and grab the potential sixth wide receiver spot?
Diondre Borel (3 receptions for 19 yards) played last week while Tori Gurley nursed an injury. The roles are reversed tonight. Borel is out with a groin, so Gurley now gets his chance to put some distance between the two young wide receivers. The former South Carolina star enjoyed a very strong week of practice, but his work on Ray Nitschke Field has never been an issue. Now it’s time for Gurley to make some big catches against a team in a different colored jersey. Through 12 practices and three weeks of camp, no young receiver has forced his way onto the final roster. Tonight is Gurley’s chance to do just that.
3) Can newly signed veteran offensive lineman Reggie Wells still play?
The Packers best backup offensive lineman is Evan Dietrich-Smith. Enough said. The situation would look a lot better if Wells proves there’s something left in his aging body. I watched him last August in Eagles’ training camp, and he wasn’t overly impressive. The 31-year-old didn’t bend very easily or play with much power. The Packers are working him mostly at the tackle positions, but he’s better suited for guard. That said, when struggling seventh-round pick Andrew Datko and journeyman Herb Taylor are currently sitting third and fourth on the depth chart, it won’t take all that much for Wells to improve the situation.