Green Bay's preseason got a bit of a delay after the Hall of Fame Game was canceled, but six days later the Packers begin their four-game countdown until the real games begin. The Packers open at Lambeau Field against the Cleveland Browns and we're not expecting anything revelatory, but, beyond seeing how late-round picks and undrafted free agents perform, here's a few things to keep an eye on to perhaps increase your interest in the opening exhibition:
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Aaron Rodgers isn't expected to play and expected No. 2 quarterback Brett Hundley (center) could also be out, thanks to an ankle injury. This will give Joe Callahan (left) and Marquise Williams (right) time to create some buzz. Both are rookies; Callhan from Wesley College (which is in Dover, Del., in case you were curious) and Williams played at North Carolina. The Packers did carry three QBs on their roster last year, so the preseason could be very important for this pair.
Green Bay's first-round pick is expected to see plenty of action this season, and with Mike Pennell suspended the first four games he'll likely start to open the year. Yes, this is only an exhibition and who knows how long the Browns starting offensive line will play -- or if they'll play -- but this is the first true pro action for the defensive tackle and it will be interesting to see how he fares.
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The Packers have a lot of wide receivers on the roster with the top few spots filled. Jeff Janis (pictured) has been a fan favorite for years, but hasn't put it together on the field. He needs to start stepping up. Beyond Janis, can Jared Abbrederis build off a strong training camp and how good -- and fast -- is fifth-round pick Trevor Davis? And, yes, there will be undrafted free agents to keep an eye on, such as Geronimo Allison and Ed Williams.
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Datone Jones' new position
After playing defensive end in his first three years in the league, the former first-round pick has been moved to outside linebacker and is listed among the third-stringers on Green Bay's first depth chart. Jones won't unseat starters Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, but can he force his way into decent playing time over current second-stringers Nick Perry (another former first-rounder) and Jayronne Elliot, not to mention rookie Kyler Fackrell?
Linebacker Sam Barrington, tight end Jared Cook (pictured) and wide receiver Ty Montgomery were all activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list so they could practice leading up to this game, presumably meaning they will get playing time. Barrington hasn't played since last year's season opener, when he was lost for the year due to an ankle injury. Cook is aiming to be the big-play tight end Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have been searching for, while Montgomery, a third-round pick in 2015, is part of that crowded wide receiver mix.
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Former Wisconsin Badgers
For those who are fans of Wisconsin's Division 1 college football team, the Browns boast three former Badgers. Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas either won't play or see limited time. But the Browns also selected linebacker Joe Schobert (pictured) in the fourth round of this year's NFL Draft and he should see significant action in his first pro experience. Cleveland also recently signed defensive lineman Nick Hayden, who is trying to earn a starting gig. All three players are Wisconsin natives, as well.
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