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Broncos vs. Packers preview: Five Green Bay players to watch not named Aaron Rodgers

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This week we're doing a series of Q&A posts with AcmePackingCompany.com, covering lots of ground on our opponents for week 8. This post highlights some players on Green Bay's team worth watching that may not have heard much about.

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1) Tell us about two under-the-radar players on offense that we should keep an eye on.


Tight end Richard Rodgers is in his second year after being selected in the third round of the 2014 draft. He's not exceptionally fast, but he has excellent hands and Aaron Rodgers has been using him as a bit of a security blanket on third downs and in the red zone. He's quietly averaging five targets per game this season, and can definitely be a solid weapon in the middle of the field.

As for the second name, he's hardly under the radar for Packers fans, but I have to mention fellow second-year player Jeff Janis. He has been hyped so much by our fans lately that we created a t-shirt about it, but two weeks ago against San Diego he finally showed in a regular season game why some people are so excited about him with two catches for 79 yards. He's big (6'3", 219), fast (4.42 40, 6.64 cone drill at the Combine) and strong (20 bench press reps). The issue for him has been learning an NFL route tree and learning to get separation from defensive backs. It's possible the Packers could have some plays installed to get him the ball in space - if they do, look out.

2) Tell us about two under-the-radar players on defense that we should keep an eye on.

It's probably not a coincidence that I'm mentioning a lot of second-year players today. Jayrone Elliott came to Green Bay last year as an undrafted free agent from Toledo, and he instantly became a fixture on special teams. This year, he has been seeing more snaps on defense, and he was responsible for two huge turnovers against the Seahawks in week two that sealed the game for the Packers. Look for him to get some pass-rushing snaps from both sides this week, especially if former first-round pick Nick Perry is still banged up.

The other player worth mentioning is inside linebacker Joe Thomas. Like Elliott, he was undrafted a year ago, but spent the 2014 season on the practice squad. Now that he's back, he has been substituting in for starter Nate Palmer at inside linebacker in the dime package because of his coverage abilities while Clay Matthews shifts outside to rush the passer.

3) What rookie is standing out for your team this year?

The Packers have three rookies making major contributions in 2015.

Though second-round pick Quinten Rollins has two interceptions (including one pick-six) and third-rounder Ty Montgomery has scored a few receiving touchdowns and had some excellent returns, first-round corner Damarious Randall is still the most impressive rookie on the team so far. He alertly broke up Philip Rivers' pass on fourth down two weeks ago to clinch a Packers win over the Chargers and has allowed just 42% of passes into his coverage to be caught. He doesn't have flashy numbers aside from his seven passes defended, but those will come in time. The transition from playing free safety at Arizona State clearly has not been a problem for him, as he has become a very solid option for the Packers as their third cornerback.