GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers will hold their annual Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field this evening. It has been sold out for weeks but will be televised statewide on a variety of stations, beginning at 6:30 p.m. local time.
Here are some things to look for:
Running game: Because coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t believe in any live tackling during practice, it’s nearly impossible to tell much about the running game. That includes both the blocking and the running backs. So tonight, when full tackling is allowed (except of the quarterbacks), will be the first real chance to see what rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin can do. Lacy has been effective, especially in red zone drills where his power running style has served him well. But with only “thud tackling” in practice, who knows if the runs Lacy has been finishing would have really happened in a game? When asked whether people will learn anything more about him in the scrimmage, Lacy said: “I think they will. Everybody’s going to come out and play to the best of their ability or close to it. Nobody wants to get hurt, so it’s not going to be 100 percent full go, but it will give a lot of people a chance to see what the team looks like this year.”
Kickers: McCarthy said he planned to put kickers Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio under the microscope tonight. Other than in a game, what better way to do so than in front of a full house at Lambeau Field? “It’s awesome we can have a practice setting with 70,000 people and make sure we go out there and get ready for it as preseason comes and coming into the regular season,” Crosby said. It’s the first time since Crosby’s rookie season of 2007 that he has faced competition in camp. The Packers brought in Tavecchio this offseason after Crosby converted a league-low 63.6 percent of his field goals last season. In only two team kicking sessions this camp, Crosby is 9-of-11, including a 5-for-5 performance on Thursday. Tavecchio probably can’t match Crosby’s leg strength but so far has been on par in the accuracy department, going 10-for-12.
Backup QBs: B.J. Coleman and Graham Harrell have had their moments -- both good and bad -- so far in camp, but neither one has distinguished himself in the battle to serve as Aaron Rodgers’ backup. Accuracy has plagued Coleman at times during the first week of camp, but he is much improved over last year and has a legitimate shot to unseat Harrell. For Harrell, he needs a better showing than he did last preseason, when it wasn’t until the final exhibition game that he played well enough to convince the Packers to keep him. In a measure of just how close the competition is this year, the Packers have given the two backups equal reps and have alternated days as the Nos. 2 and 3 quarterbacks. “They’re in an open competition,” quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo said. “We roll who goes in after Aaron every day and keep the reps even, and we’ll let their play shake it out.”
Someone new: Remember the name Kevin Kaesviharn? If you know anything about the history of the Family Night scrimmage, you should. He was a free-agent defensive back in training camp with the Packers in 2001, when he intercepted Brett Favre twice during the scrimmage. He returned both of them for touchdowns and became a camp sensation. He didn’t make the team but went on to play in 127 career NFL games over nine seasons with the Bengals, Saints and Titans. Will there be a Kevin Kaesviharn that emerges tonight?