Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Questions to be Answered During Green Bay Packers Training Camp

Below are several serious questions to be answered during Green Bay Packers training camp in order to find out how good this team really is.

The Green Bay Packers head to Ray Nitschke Field to open training camp on July 27th. Football is officially back and the regular season is right around the corner. After finishing last year one game shy of the Super Bowl, Green Bay eyes making the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season. As position battles get underway and players learn the system, team weaknesses also uncover themselves. Heading into 2017, decisions must still be made to finalize the 53-man roster. Below are several serious questions to be answered during Green Bay Packers training camp in order to find out how good this team really is.

Questions to be Answered During Green Bay Packers Training Camp

The Big Three

Who Will Be the Starting Cornerback Tandem?

After Green Bay’s abysmal cornerback play in 2016, the looming question surrounding the defensive side of the ball is which players will step up at boundary corner. After bringing in Davon House and Kevin King to compete with incumbents LaDarius Gunter, Damarious Randall, and Quinten Rollins, Green Bay’s secondary should look much different than last year’s unit.

Each player brings particular skills that should help them all see the field in particular packages. House brings a veteran presence that knows the defense. King provides a rare height-speed combination that should make him one of the most athletic players on Green Bay’s defense. Gunter has the worth ethic and grit needed to compensate for his lack of physical prowess, while Randall and Rollins should focus more on read and react zone coverage from the slot this season. Gunter and Randall finished last season as the team’s starting duo. After getting torched by Julio Jones and the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, there will almost certainly be a new shuffling of the secondary next season.

With Randall already making the transition inside to more of a slot role, Gunter, House, and King should be competing for the week one starting spots. It will be interesting to watch how coach Mike McCarthy brings along King in his rookie season. His raw athletic ability and ball skills may be too much to keep off the field, especially with pivotal matchups against the Seahawks and Falcons to kick off the year. If King struggles in camp or has a learning curve with Dom Capers‘s defense, Gunter and House could provide a physical tandem with multiple years of experience in the system. With returning safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett joining rookie Josh Jones, the Packers have plenty of bodies tasked with turning the secondary around.

How Will Depth at Pass-Rusher Shake Out?

General manager Ted Thompson made a very important move to begin this off-season when he re-signed outside linebacker Nick Perry to a five-year, $60 million contract. Perry had the best season of his career in 2016, leading the Packers with 11 sacks. Although Thompson retained Perry, Green Bay lost two of its most important rotational pass-rushers in Julius Peppers and former first-round pick Datone Jones. With little proven talent at outside linebacker apart from Perry and the oft-injured Clay Matthews, several young players will be playing pivotal snaps in the pass-rush rotation.

Green Bay did re-sign Jayrone Elliott to a one-year contract and returns second-year player Kyler Fackrell to compete with this year’s fourth-round pick Vince Biegel for playing time behind Perry and Matthews. Elliott has shown flashes with the Packers in limited action after going undrafted in 2014. Fackrell played well early in 2016 but dealt with nagging injuries that sidelined him the majority of the season. Biegel has a diverse skill set, not particularly dominant in any one phase of the game but plays relentlessly and has few glaring weaknesses.

Perhaps the biggest question mark for the entire unit is which players will stay healthy. Biegel is already banged up to begin camp. Perry has yet to complete a healthy 16-game season. Matthews seems to be hampered by hamstring and shoulder injuries each year. Elliott and Fackrell have already had difficulty staying healthy in a limited capacity. At least one of the younger linebackers will start a game in place of Perry or Matthews at some point in the season, while the others will receive significant rotational snaps throughout the year. It will be up to defensive coordinator Dom Capers to improve upon a very sporadic and inconsistent pass-rush from 2016.

 What Will Be This Year’s Resounding Message?

The Packers have been one of the NFL’s most decorated franchises over the past decade in large part due to continuity in the front office. McCarthy and Thompson have been with the organization since 2006 but have taken heat in recent years for several stale playoff performances. After last year’s rally from a 4-6 start, will the team be able to ignore the abysmal NFC Championship performance and continue the hot streak they ended the regular season on?

Green Bay can’t rely on another Rodgers quote gone viral before they begin asserting their dominance. This team needs a unified goal from day one. The roster has a good mix of young and veteran players. The Packers need hungrier individuals capable of dominating their match-ups on any given play. Green Bay has reached the NFC title game in two of the past three seasons, yet fallen just short of making the Big Game each time. The development of second and third year players is truly detrimental to where this team stands in January. Thompson spent this off-season acquiring speed on defense and physicality on offense. McCarthy needs to install a message of resiliency and grit to make this athletic and gifted team believe they can be the best in the league.

What Else to Watch For

How Will Brett Hundley Perform?

After ankle injuries in training camp last year subdued his second pre-season, all eyes will be on Brett Hundley to prove that Green Bay is in capable hands if Rodgers ever misses time. Hundley has looked decent in limited snaps, but he will need to take another step forward in coach McCarthy’s quarterback school to prove he can be a starter in this league.

Is Ty Montgomery Ready?

Ty Montgomery is poised to become a lead back in one of the NFL’s most productive offenses. With Rodgers at the helm, the Packers will always be a pass-first team, but Montgomery is being asked to handle a much larger workload than his previous two seasons in the league. Rookie running backs Jamal Williams, Aaron Jones, and Devante Mays must prove their worth in Green Bay’s offense, while Montgomery must be ready to assert himself as the team’s most dynamic option.

Will the Offensive Line Digress?

No position group got hit harder by free agency than the offensive line where interior players T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter left for top tier pay. Thompson patched the loss of Lang with veteran guard Jahri Evans. Evans enters his 11th season in the league and hopes to be a stable stopgap for Green Bay as they groom younger linemen. After having one of the best blocking units in the league last season, especially against the pass, training camp will prove whether the reshuffling of bodies gels well.

How Will Tight Ends Change Offense?

The free agent additions of Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks should alter the look of Green Bay’s offense. With incumbent Richard Rodgers still having a place on the team, McCarthy must figure out how to roll out more two and three tight end looks. More redirection and play action could greatly benefit Rodgers’s ability to extend the play. Two big-bodied pass-catching tight ends may be exactly what this offense needs to reach its full potential.


More Posts

Send Us A Message