Green Bay Packers: 3 Takeaways from Day 1 of Camp

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 30: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball during the first half of a game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 30, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 30: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball during the first half of a game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 30, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The first day of Green Bay Packers’ Training Camp is in the books and here are my three takeaways from what I saw while I was there.

Green Bay Packers fans, WE DID IT! We have real Packers football to discuss from now and hopefully until February, but let’s start with one thing at a time.

Thursday marked the first day of Training Camp and I was able to attend it live and from what I saw, I have three takeaways from the first day.

Now keep in mind that when the Packers are running positional drills it is difficult to key in on every group, let alone most players and when they were running the 11-on-11 drills, my vantage point was about 50 yards 60 yards away.

So there likely were some things that I missed but the three areas below are what stood out to me the most. Let’s begin!

Jamaal Williams looks quick

A lot of talk has been made this offseason about Aaron Jones in this Matt LaFleur offense – and rightfully so, he fits it very well – but we shouldn’t be sleeping on Jamaal Williams either.

Over his short NFL career, Williams has been the Green Bay Packers bruising back, expected to get three or four yards and move the chains in short-yardage situations. Last year he would average 3.8 yards per carry and score three touchdowns on the ground.

Now as we look ahead to 2019, Williams slimmed down over the offseason to around 220 pounds and from what I saw has gained some quickness and explosiveness. He was decisive in his cuts and burst through the hole in a way that I can’t remember seeing from Williams in the past.

With the Tennessee Titans in 2018, under LaFleur we saw Derrick Henry – who has a bigger build like Williams – take some time to adapt to the system, but over the last four weeks, his production exploded. And it would appear that Williams could be on his way to shortening that learning curve.

This change will also help Williams in the passing game which we should see the running backs partake in much more this season. In his two-year career, Williams has shown he can be a reliable pass-catcher and quite effective in the screen game. Now a bit slimmer, it could lead to more big plays for the offense.

Mason Crosby isn’t a lock to make the final roster

This observation has more to do with what just recently happened with Mike Daniels than what I saw on the field today as Sam Ficken was the only one that I saw kicking. But the release of Daniels sends a chilling reminder that hardly anyone is really safe in the NFL.

Crosby is coming off a down season where he would make just 81.1 percent of his field goal attempts and he would miss some crucial kicks.

Against Minnesota, he would miss a game-winner at the end of regulation. Then in Detroit, he would go 1/5 and when Arizona was in town, Crosby would miss the game-tying attempt.

As a result, the Green Bay Packers brought in Ficken this offseason to compete for the job, even though he is just 3/6 in his entire career.

However, if Ficken can outperform Crosby or even make the competition close, Green Bay could once again see an opportunity to cut a veteran and save some money for the 2020 offseason.

This year Crosby accounts for $4.85 million against the cap but if the Packers were to cut him, there would be a dead cap hit of just $1.25 million. Thus saving them an additional $3.6 million that could go towards re-signing plays such as Kenny Clark, Blake Martinez, Kyler Fackrell, or Geronimo Allison.

We have to see how Camp plays out, but by no means do I think Crosby is a lock. He will have to clearly earn the job.

The defense looked very impressive

It didn’t matter who was the quarterback today – and that includes Aaron Rodgers – but the Green Bay Packers’ defense didn’t allow much to come easy for the offense.

They were creating pressure, not allowing guys to get open, and contesting the throws that were made. This resulted in a number of difficult passes that ended up as incompletions or throwing to the running back in the flat as a last resort.

For much of the Rodgers’ era in Green Bay, it has been the defense that has oftentimes held this team back. But after two offseasons of focus with a lot of money and draft capital spent on that side of the ball, it is time for the defense to perform.

Next. 3 bold predictions for Training Camp. dark

Now granted, it was one day and the offense is learning a new system but based on what I saw today, that unit looks like they could be the real deal and they were extremely fun to watch.