Packers vs. Jets: 5 things to watch for during second preseason game

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The Green Bay Packers and New York Jets will conclude a long week – featuring a pair of joint practices – with Saturday’s preseason game at Lambeau Field.

Matt LaFleur’s team is attempting to bounce back after a disappointing preseason opener. The Packers will have to do so with Kurt Benkert and Jake Dolegala at quarterback, assuming Jordan Love (shoulder) isn’t ready to play after missing the entire week.

Benkert will start and play the majority of the game. In fact, he could play the entire game with Dolegala – who was only signed this week – as the emergency option.

Here are five other things to watch for on Saturday:

Recovering receivers

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (19) is shown during a mandatory minicamp Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Green Bay, Wis.

Saturday afternoon should provide a big opportunity for a few forgotten names at receiver. It's certainly possible the performance won't matter much – the top seven or eight at receiver looks fairly solid – but don't discount what a talented player can do with an opportunity. Equanimeous St. Brown is healthy and should play a significant amount of snaps. The same goes for Reggie Begelton. Both have a lot of ground to make up between now and final cuts. But the opportunity should be available because there's a good chance both Devin Funchess and Juwann Winfree won't play because of injury.

Rolling with Royce

Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY NETWORK

Arguably no player has a more important opportunity on Saturday than rookie Royce Newman, who will start at left or right guard after an impressive preseason debut last week. The Packers' fourth-round pick has injected himself directly into the competition to start at guard. With a strong performance against the Jets, he could become a favorite to line up on one side of rookie center Josh Myers in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. While others fight for roster spots, Newman will be attempting to show Packers coaches that he can handle starting for one of the NFL's best offenses.

Trio of safeties

Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Will Redmond, who only recently returned from the NFI list, has to be feeling the heat. Young safeties Vernon Scott, Henry Black and Innis Gaines have impressed throughout the summer, including in the preseason opener. All three can fly around the field, play deep or in the box and contribute value on special teams. Redmond is the veteran, but the two or three backup spots behind Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage look wide open. Keep a close eye on No. 36, No. 41 and No. 38 on Saturday night. They can play, and all three are gunning for roster spots.

The new guy

New York Giants cornerback Isaac Yiadom (27) in action during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The Packers sent cornerback Josh Jackson – who played extensively in the first preseason game – to New York for cornerback Isaac Yiadom, who now has two weeks to prove he's worth keeping in Green Bay to start the 2021 season. He'll be wearing No. 24. The personnel department clearly sees talent and potential in Yiadom, a third-round pick in 2018, but his roster spot is far from guaranteed. Kabion Ento was terrific in the preseason opener and has a strong case for being the fifth or sixth cornerback. Can Yiadom stand out in simple coverage schemes against the Jets? He won't have long to prove he can play to his new team.

Sternberger's spot

Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers' third-year tight end made the big play in the preseason opener – catching a 34-yard pass from Jordan Love on third down to extend the team's only scoring drive – but it's also clear the Packers want to see a lot more from Sternberger during the preseason. His inconsistency – highlighted by tight ends coach Justin Outten this past week – could put him in roster trouble once he comes off the suspended list in Week 3. Sternberger will play a lot of snaps over the next two preseason games, so this is his showcase opportunity. It appears, at least at this point, that he has a lot left to prove.

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