2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Packers backup QB, Chiefs receiver bear watching

By GENARO C. ARMAS - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-27 13:36

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Don't expect to see starting quarterbacks Alex Smith or Aaron Rodgers take snaps. Do expect to see running backs Jamaal Charles and Eddie Lacy wearing baseball caps on the sideline.

With roster decisions looming, the preseason game between Kansas City and Green Bay on Thursday night at Lambeau Field belongs to the backups, rookies and undrafted free agents. It's time for the longshots and hopefuls to make a good impression if they want to stick around.

That means the game is a test for the Chiefs' No. 3 running back job between Cyrus Gray and Joe McKnight, or perhaps it will settle the Packers backup quarterback battle between Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien.

''It's like any position. Matt and Scott aren't just competing against each other,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. ''You have to keep your best players. They're really competing against the other positions.''

Rosters must be trimmed to the 53-man limit by Saturday afternoon.

''This last game is important. That young men know that,'' Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said. ''This will be interesting stuff.''

Chiefs coach Andy Reid at one point apparently considered the Packers game an opportunity to give his reshuffled offensive line a little work. That doesn't appear to be the case anymore, especially with left tackle Eric Fisher coming down with the flu this week.

So Thursday night will be the perfect chance for Reid to check out the backups from which he needs to draw to build needed depth.

''Yeah, well, there have been some good, there have been some bad,'' Reid said about the offensive line's ability to get push up front this preseason.

He is also looking for solid backups in the secondary, and a healthy body to become the top target at receiver.

Dwayne Bowe, who has a groin injury, is suspended for the opener after getting arrested last November. Junior Hemingway has an injured hip, so former practice squad player Frankie Hammond may use Thursday's game as a chance to prove he can be a go-to guy.

Same goes in the backfield, where Gray and McKnight are looking to secure the third running back spot behind Charles and Knile Davis.

''I think they need the reps,'' Charles said about the backups. ''They need that experience. I think once they get that experience of being in the game and being part of a preseason playing against a first-team defense then they'll get comfortable.''

Though they likely won't be facing the Packers defensive starters much, if at all.

One exception might be at defensive tackle, where B.J. Raji went down with a season-ending biceps injury in last week's win over the Raiders. Perhaps second-year player Josh Boyd gets a chance to boost his confidence in the middle. Undrafted free agent Mike Pennel has impressed in the preseason and could use Thursday to boost his case to part of the tackle rotation.

Another undrafted rookie, outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott figures to get his most playing time yet this preseason. He has made a strong case with four sacks in the last two preseason games - including three in four fourth-quarter plays two weeks ago against St. Louis.

''And now it was rare, in the St. Louis game, what he did there. But he did, he followed up and got another sack this last week, so it will be interesting to watch to see how he does Thursday night,'' defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. ''Let's see if he can follow it up with more production.''

The most intriguing competition of the night is for the Packers quarterback job. Flynn and Tolzien will likely split playing time by quarter.

In the end, McCarthy could keep both guys anyway. Flynn proved to be a worthy backup when he returned to Green Bay at midseason last year after Rodgers was sidelined with a collarbone injury.

Tolzien has shown enough potential that he could be signed by another club if he gets put on the practice squad.

''We're going to make sure everybody has an opportunity against Kansas City to show what they've got,'' he said.

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AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City contributed to this story.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

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Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

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Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

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Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

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Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

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