The Green Bay Packers have started training camp. There have been some small storylines thus far, but fans need to be cautiously optimistic this early.
The Green Bay Packers kicked off training camp last week. After roughly a month of little to no activity, fans and analysts alike have been grabbing for every available nugget of information. However, with so little knowledge, this can lead to some reports being blown out of proportion. This can be when discussing good and bad things. A player can make one flash play and be dubbed the next big thing, or a veteran could get burned and get called washed up.
When looking at these small sample sizes, it’s important to focus on the big picture and the long term.
For example, Aaron Rodgers, arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, has struggled with turnovers in camp thus far. He’s been picked off multiple times, including three times during Monday’s two-hour session. An overreaction, that will definitely happen, is that he doesn’t have the same talent anymore and the collarbone injury from last season has wrecked him for good.
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The same thing happens every year in training camp, especially with Rodgers. He is mildly turnover prone, but he becomes the elite turnover-free version when the season starts. The defense has changed from the one Rodgers has been reading for years. While he doesn’t intentionally turn it over, he may be more risk-happy to build confidence in the young defense. So, as Rodgers once said, fans need to R-E-L-A-X.
The Packers are integrating a new system on offense and defense. Lumps are going to happen during the integration process. However, that doesn’t mean that players won’t exceed expectations. For example, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been lighting up the practice field so far. This isn’t to say that he won’t maintain that level of play in the regular season, but it doesn’t guarantee that he is the next coming of Randy Moss.
Fans and analysts alike want their team to be great 24/7, 365 days a year. The Packers are a great team with a bright future ahead of them. Training camp is going to be where a lot of major position battles are decided, such as the third wide receiver spot and starting strong safety position. Players like Valdes-Scantling and Kevin King are making a lot of plays to make a name for themselves. Others, like Joshua Jackson, are struggling out of the gates thus far.
However, despite these struggles, fans need to give the team time to develop and come together. Rodgers will tighten it up when the season comes around, and he will orchestrate the offense to another top-5 to 10 finish in the rankings. Mike Pettine’s defense will be better than the recent years of Dom Capers. This Packers’ team is going to be a title contender this season with Rodgers at the helm and an improved defense on the other side.
Training camp is a time for players to knock off the rust after a long offseason. It’s a time for young players to get up to NFL speed. New systems are put into place, especially with full overhauls like the Packers are going through this offseason. Things, both good and bad, will happen in training camp. The important part for all of it is to take it all with a grain of salt. These small sample sizes will give us something, but it won’t be everything. So, don’t overreact, and enjoy what we have.