Five things to watch tonight vs. Titans

Backup plan at QB and roster battles will be a highlight of the preseason finale

The backup plan is the plan of attack for the Green Bay Packers in tonight's preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau Field.

While the Titans will do like the Packers did last week and play their starters into the third quarter, Green Bay will use its starters for about 10 or 12 plays, then turn the game over to the reserves.

"I had some funny conversations with (Titans defensive tackle Albert) Haynesworth asking when they're coming out the last couple of years," said starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the No. 2 quarterback when the Packers closed the preseason against the Titans the previous three preseasons, "because they play into the third quarter and it's a really tough challenge for the offense. But it's a challenge I think they're ready to meet."

Here's what to watch for tonight.

Rookie quarterbacks

Neither second-round pick Brian Brohm nor seventh-round pick Matt Flynn have seized control of the backup position. If they fail to do so tonight, general manager Ted Thompson might feel inclined to scan the waiver wire to see who is released in Saturday's final cuts.

Brohm and Flynn will split the snaps after Rodgers departs, and Brohm certainly faces the biggest challenge by going up against the Titans' starters for most of his outing.

"It's definitely important to go out there this week and get the team into the end zone. That's the ultimate goal," said Brohm, still confident despite an 0-for-4 performance last week and a 35.8 passer rating this preseason.

Flynn has been gaining ground the last few weeks. He's completed 65.5 percent of his passes in the preseason, though his long completion of 13 yards show he's been content to dink and dunk.

"I'm looking to execute. I'm looking to be comfortable out there," said Flynn, who guided LSU to the national title last year. "Execute the offense, get people in the right position. Have good tempo on the offense. Get in and out of the huddle and getting up to the line of scrimmage. Just playing well, having fun and taking what I've done during camp up to this point and putting it out on the field."

The Green Mile

Just off the main locker room is an auxiliary area where the, ahem, lesser members of the team suit up during training camp. At least one of those players, long snapper J.J. Jansen, seems a cinch to make the final roster.

Also getting dressed in the area known as "The Green Mile" — in reference to the move of the same name about death-row inmates — are tight end Joey Haynos and running back Kregg Lumpkin, who are fighting for roster spots. A few more, such as rookie receiver Brett Swain, likely will be invited to the practice squad.

Grant's debut

Running back Ryan Grant will make his preseason debut tonight. He won't get many opportunities with the No. 1 offense getting limited snaps, but it's an important game for Grant to absorb his first live tackling since last year's NFC title game. The running game is different when Grant's in a groove.

"He's just like everybody else. He needs some reps to get ready for the season," coach Mike McCarthy sais.

Roster battles

Tony Moll, the fill-in starter for rookie Josh Sitton at right guard, needs a strong performance tonight. Assuming center Scott Wells is ready for next week's regular-season opener, fill-in center Jason Spitz will be available to move back to guard. Moll theoretically could go from a starter to out of work in the matter of a few days.

"There's a lot of different equations going into it as far as who's out right now and all the different possible scenarios," said Moll, whose 2007 season was sidetracked by neck stringers. "All I can say is it looks like I'm getting a shot to make something happen. I'll just try to play my best."

Behind Grant and Brandon Jackson, Lumpkin, Noah Herron and Vernand Morency are fighting for one or two spots at halfback. Jarrett Bush probably needs a strong performance; he'll split his snaps between cornerback and safety. Longshot defensive tackles Alfred Malone, Conrad Bolston and Rodney Allen could earn consideration to bump aside Daniel Muir for a roster spot.

Linebackers

Can the Packers keep seven linebackers, given the injury issues along both lines? There's no doubt Abdul Hodge, Desmond Bishop and Tracy White are deserving behind the starters and top backup Brandon Chillar, but they might lose the numbers game. Then again, all three are stalwarts on the special teams. Watch Bishop, who will be getting a lot of snaps at a new position. He was moved to the weakside because both he and Hodge were middle linebackers

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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