One of the more hilarious things about sports is early-season projections.
Remember when Tuffy Rhodes hit three homers on Opening Day in 1994 for the Cubs? He was projected to belt 486 round-trippers, a number that had to make Barry Bonds jealous. He would up smacking a grand total of eight homers that year en route to 13 for his major-league career (although he is now a home run king in Japan).
You can apply the same theory to preseason football. A few years ago, the Raiders went 5-0 in exhibitions, only to revert to the ugliness that the Silver and Black have become.
That is why you should take what the Packers did in their first two exhibitions with a grain of salt. The first-stringers didn't play much, but when they did, they looked pretty sharp. But the caveat is they were playing the Browns and Bills, not exactly teams penciled in to be Super Bowl contenders this year.
So when the Packers hit the road to face the defending NFC champion Cardinals in their third preseason game, you will get a more true picture of where they stand.
First, they are playing away from the friendly confines of Lambeau Field. Second, the surprising Cardinals obviously are a contender to make a run at another Super Bowl trip. Third, the starters will see extensive playing time after what amounted to cameos in the first two games.
So now we will see if Aaron Rodgers still has command of the offense, whether Ryan Grant can be an effective runner, whether Jermichael Finley continues to emerge at tight end and if the new 3-4 defense will confuse foes and produce more turnovers.
It is just the preseason, but forget the first two games. Pay attention to this one, but remember they are still practice games.
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Written by Steve Drumwright