The San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers on Friday in each team’s third preseason contest. Niner Noise joined fellow FanSided site, Lombardi Ave., to discuss both teams ahead of this exhibition bout.
The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers are two of the more storied NFL teams in existence, and the rivalry between these two franchises stretches back multiple decades.
The third week of preseason football may not be the best indicator of this rivalry. But both teams will be looking to hit their stride when the game kicks off on Friday, August 26 at 10 p.m. ET at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
So Niner Noise sat down with Josh McPeak, who is one of the staff writers over at FanSided’s Lombardi Ave., to discuss the Packers and this upcoming preseason contest.
FanSided’s NFL sites frequently reach out to each other in advance of games in which the two teams will be featured. Yes, it’s just the preseason. Yet the context offers an opportunity to not only preview the game, but also to see how the rest of the league might be viewing the red and gold.
We discussed all things 49ers and Packers. We also touched on standout Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
What are the expectations for this game?
Read on and find out.
Lombardi Ave.’s Take on the 49ers Offseason
NN: 2015 was a joke of a year for the 49ers. It seems as if the franchise realized its mistakes and elected to build this team from the ground up. As an outsider, what’s your take on the Niners’ offseason actions, the hiring of head coach Chip Kelly and what the 49ers are doing altogether?
"LA: I think the 49ers made moves to level out the recent slide since Jim Harbaugh departed. When first hearing of the Chip Kelly hiring, I thought it might be one of the best coaches to possibly save the career of Colin Kaepernick. It will be interesting to see what Kelly can do.Unfortunately, for the 49ers fan base, you may not see it this year. Chip Kelly will likely need 3-4 seasons to assemble his roster. He may not get that luxury in today’s fire-and-hire system."
Aaron Rodgers’ 2005 Draft Snub
NN: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently revealed why he thought the 49ers passed on him back in 2005 and went with QB Alex Smith instead. With hindsight being 20-20, do you think Rodgers would have ever enjoyed the career he’s had if the Niners had taken him No. 1 overall?
"LA: If we are talking about the same story, it was made from a guy who wore a suit on the sidelines.Mike Nolan made the call after he witnessed Alex Smith open the car door for his mom. I believe he said Rodgers was cocky and arrogant. Really, you can’t disagree with him. I’m a huge Rodgers fan and think he is the best quarterback in the league.With that said, he would have failed if put into the same situation as Alex Smith. Enough emphasis could never be placed on the four seasons he spent backing up Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. Some of the blame could be placed on Alex Smith, but six offensive coordinators in your first six seasons is a recipe for failure no matter how much talent one possesses."
What are the Packers Weaknesses in 2016?
NN: The Packers probably won’t have too many offensive worries if everyone stays healthy. And the defensive side of the ball looks fairly solid too. But if you were an opposing head coach, how would you go about targeting Green Bay and what weaknesses would you look to exploit?
"LA: Early in the season you will see teams attack the middle of the defense. The Packers are very young at inside linebacker as well as the defensive tackle position.First-round pick Kenny Clark will be relied heavily upon to stop the run filling the void of surprise retiree B.J. Raji. Second-year linebacker Jake Ryan and rookie Blake Martinez will see an abundant amount of time on the inside. Every attempt to allow Clay Matthews to return outside, bolstering the pass rush, will be made.It will be up to a young supporting cast to allow that move to transpire."
Colin Kaepernick and Week 3 of the Preseason
NN: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (arm) hasn’t played all preseason, but this weekend’s contest could be the first action against another defense he’s seen under Kelly. While Kap’s last efforts against Green Bay didn’t go so well, does the quarterback’s previous success versus the Packers give him any sort of an edge to reinsert himself into the Niners’ quarterbacking competition?
"LA: It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was worried Kaepernick and company was going to own the Packers for years to come. The biceps haven’t been flexed a lot of late. As I stated earlier, if Kaepernick is capable of turning things around, the 49ers have the one coach that can run an offense to his strengths.Kaepernick is still very dangerous on his feet and a quarterback with his athletic style should be well suited for an up tempo offense.The arm fatigue concerns and supporting cast would have me worried. With the likes of [Blaine] Gabbert, [Christian] Ponder and [Jeff] Driskel, he should easily be able to capture the starting role with marginal amount of improved play."
NN: Weeks 2 and 3 of the preseason tend to emulate regular-season games more than any other exhibitions. Considering this, what are you looking at from a Packers perspective and what are you expecting from San Francisco?
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And are there any 49ers you feel might wind up raising some eyebrows against Green Bay?
"LA: As for the Packers it has to be the wide receiver battle. It is very very deep, and Week 3 of the preseason is the big one for these guys. Some good receivers will fail to make this roster. I’m also interested to see if Rodgers and Jordy Nelson will get a chance to knock some rust off before Jacksonville.If Kaepernick does in fact play, I feel like Kelly will want to take his sports car for a test drive and see what it will do before making a big decision.Even though it’s the preseason, a guy to keep an eye on is Vance McDonald. I know he has been around for a few seasons, but there is something that strikes me of being a breakout player this season and possibly a fantasy tight end to take in the later rounds."
Niner Noise would like to thank our friends over at Lombardi Ave. and, especially, McPeak. Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter — @VALambeauLeaper — and check out Lombardi Ave.’s Twitter account too — @lombardiave.