The Green Bay Packers will face the San Diego Chargers Thursday night at San Diego in the first preseason game of the year.
Backup quarterback Graham Harrell is expected to get plenty of playing time. The former Texas Tech star has been with the Packers for the past two seasons as the third string quarterback, behind Matt Flynn. Flynn will start with the Seattle Seahawks this year. Harrell hopes to show the coaching staff that he can manage the huddle and air it out.
Meanwhile Coach Mike McCarthy has ruled out at least eight players for opener, including wide receiver Greg Jennings, who is recovering from a concussion. Tight end Ryan Taylor is out with a concussion, wide receiver Tori Gurley is out with a groin injury, running back Du'ane Bennett is nursing a knee injury, offensive lineman Ray Dominguez is out with an ankle injury, fullback Jon Hoese is recovering from a hamstring injury, tight end Eric Lair is out with a knee injury and offensive lineman Mike McCabe is out with a hip injury.
Starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse's status remains unclear. He sustained a concussion in last Friday's Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field.
General manager Ted Thompson acknowledges that the injuries are somewhat concerning, although none of them seem particularly serious.
There will be a first during the preseason opener as well. 42-year-old referee Shannon Eastin will be the first woman to officiate an NFL preseason game. She will serve as the line judge in San Diego Thursday night. According to ESPN, Eastin has 17 years experience as an official.
Also according to ESPN, the NFL Referees Association officials have said that they would question Eastin's credentials because she participated in the World Series of Poker. The NFL, meanwhile, says Eastin passed all of her background checks.
Eastin will be part of a replacement team of referees because the NFL and its permanent officials haven't come to an agreement on their contracts.
The game is slated to kick off at 7:00 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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