The Green Bay Packers closed out the preseason with a 33-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
With a healthy number of veterans staying home, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, left tackle David Bakhtiari and wide receiver Davonte Adams, the night served as one last opportunity for players on the roster bubble to make an impression.
Here are some of the guys that stood out.
QB DeShone Kizer
Save for an overthrow that resulted in an interception, Kizer was solid in his first action since the club traded his main competition for the backup job, Brett Hundley, to the Seattle Seahawks. He went 5 of 7 for 57 yards on his two drives and his night came to a close when he found a wide-open Geronimo Allison for a 31-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 to give Green Bay the lead.
Kizer certainly has the physical traits to be a very good quarterback in the NFL, but he’s not there right now. He wasn’t better than Hundley in the preseason and he certainly can’t be seen as an upgrade. All of that suggests that if Rodgers were to miss an extended amount of time like he did a year ago, the Packers are setting themselves up to suffer the same playoff-less fate.
RB Aaron Jones
Green Bay is going to get a very nice addition in Week 3. That’s when Jones is eligible to return after being suspended for the first two games. The second-year back got 12 touches on Thursday night that he turned into 55 yards and a touchdown. The numbers don’t do justice to the intensity and conviction he ran with, routinely bouncing off defenders and finding a way to pick up yards even when the holes weren’t there.
Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery will hold things down in the backfield until Jones returns on Sept. 23 against Washington. Once back, the Packers will need to get him involved as soon as possible, as it appears he’s got the highest upside of anyone in their backfield.
TE Robert Tonyan
For the first time in a while, the Packers tight end room is packed. With Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks, Green Bay has three proven veterans. But it’s hard to overlook what Tonyan has done in training camp and in the preseason. On Thursday, he caught all four balls thrown his way for 31 yards and scored his second touchdown of the preseason.
His chance at a roster spot seems largely dependent on how general manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Mike McCarthy view Kendricks. Signed in free agency in March of 2017, the former Wisconsin standout had 18 catches for 203 and a touchdown last season. But he didn’t have a great camp, struggling to catch the ball consistently. It’s possible he could be expendable if the Packers don’t think they could sneak Tonyan on the practice squad.