Hoping to fine tune each unit and see more from rookies battling for roster spots, the Green Bay Packers host the Oakland Raiders Thursday night at Lambeau Field in Week 2 of the NFL preseason. Green Bay is coming off a 17-11 victory over the Cleveland Browns, and Oakland just throttled the Arizona Cardinals.
With veteran and former league MVP Aaron Rodgers resting up on the sidelines, rookie quarterback Joe Callahan led Green Bay with 124 yards passing and one touchdown and completed 16 of his 23 pass attempts.
Controlling the clock with 151 rushing yards, Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy only took four hand offs but churned out 24 rushing yards, while rookie Brandon Burks converted nine carries into 45 yards. The Packers also saw some solid signs from third-year tight end Justin Perillo, who led the team with five receptions for 52 yards.
Green Bay faithful are likely to see more of the same young players, with rookie offensive tackles Kyle Murphy, Josh James, Jason Spriggs, and Lucas Patrick all angling for regular season jobs.
The Packers did receive some good news on Pro Bowl wide out Jordy Nelson Wednesday. Nelson was cleared to return to practice after a new knee injury, which the nine-year veteran labeled a “hiccup,” kept him out of training camp. However, head coach Mike McCarthy is unlikely to play Nelson considering he tore the ACL in his right knee during preseason last year.
The Raiders and head coach Jack Del Rio, on the other hand, should follow the same recipe that led to a 31-10 drubbing of the Cardinals last week. Second-year quarterback Derek Carr did play, going 3-for-7 for 44 yards on the night, but Matt McGloin and rookie Connor Cook took the majority of the snaps with the former firing off two touchdowns (one to budding tight end Clive Walford and one to receiver Andrew Holmes).
Much like Green Bay, Oakland saw two of second-year rusher George Atkinson rip off a game-high 97 yards and two touchdowns and rookie DeAndre Washington claimed 43 more yards on the ground while projected starter Latavius Murray gained 21 yards on four attempts.
Unfortunately, the game did prove costly to Oakland. Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. suffered a hip injury, and while he won’t require surgery, he’s expected to miss upwards of four-to-six weeks. Second-year tight end Gabe Holmes also went down with a high ankle sprain and broken bone in the ankle which may land him on injured reserve.
Edwards injury, however, does open doors for a number of rookie Raider pass rushers and tight ends. Third-year defensive end Denico Autry is likely to take Edwards place in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future, but his time should be limited against Green which will allow rookies like James Cowser, Branden Jackson, and Greg Townsend Jr.
Rookie Ryan O’Malley and third-year tight end Colton Underwood could also fill the void left by Holmes.
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channels: Packers TV Network (Green Bay); KTVU FOX 2 (Oakland)
Live Stream: A live stream is available at NFL Game Pass