Green Bay Packers: Training Camp Studs & Duds

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 20: Rashan Gary #52 of the Green Bay Packers participates in a drill during Green Bay Packers Training Camp at Lambeau Field on August 20, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 20: Rashan Gary #52 of the Green Bay Packers participates in a drill during Green Bay Packers Training Camp at Lambeau Field on August 20, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JANUARY 12: Rashan Gary #52 of the Green Bay Packers lines up for a play in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Divisional Round Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 12, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Green Bay Packers Studs

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

We all remember how Valdes-Scantling’s 2019 season ended, and as the Packers one true deep threat with his 4.37 speed, despite being written off by some, he is going to be a key member of this offense.

Up to this point in his short career, Valdes-Scantling has been a one-trick pony with the deep ball, and he’s continued to make those plays in camp. But what’s really noteworthy is that Valdes-Scantling has excelled on the intermediate routes, something that would really give this Packers’ offense a boost.

Andy Herman of Packer Report recently summed up what he’s seen from the third-year receiver:

"“But so far this training camp MVS has been a picture of consistency, and has caught just about everything thrown his way. During Sunday’s scrimmage, he caught three separate passes from Rodgers, all resulting in first downs. On one specific play, he beat King inside, King held him, and he still was able to snag the catch and move the chains. It’s those types of plays that can make Valdes-Scantling a true overall receiver, and not just a speed threat that teams need to pay attention to from time-to-time. And so far, Valdes-Scantling’s routes have been better, his hands have been stronger, and he’s significantly limited the mistakes and errors.”"

Rashan Gary

There may not be a player out there who has put together a more impressive camp than Rashan Gary. He’s thinned out while adding muscle and getting faster, and his hand-usage, along with his overall technique, appears to be much improved. I don’t know that there was a practice that went by where he wasn’t mentioned making a play.

Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated highlights one of Gary’s best days, which just so happens, came on one of the Packers most intense practices of the summer:

"“Last year’s first-round pick absolutely dominated a starters-vs.-starters red-zone drill. In a span of five plays, Gary impacted four of them. On the first, he beat tight end Jace Sternberger to “tackle” running back Aaron Jones. On the second, he beat All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and forced an incomplete pass by Aaron Rodgers. On the third, he again got pressure, which forced an off-balance throw that was broken up by Josh Jackson. On the fourth, he was all over a toss to Jamaal Williams.”"

Kamal Martin

Unfortunately, Kamal Martin is going to miss 6-8 weeks with an injury, but prior to the surgery, he was easily Green Bay’s best performing rookie and appeared to have locked down that ILB2 role next to Christian Kirksey. We knew Martin had an ability to work in space from his time at Minnesota, but he also displayed a physicality this summer against the run, and he was an effective blitzer as well.

Lane Taylor

Coming into camp, Matt LaFleur made it clear that the right side of the offensive line was a wide-open competition. And of the three players competing, Lane Taylor, Rick Wagner, and Billy Turner, Taylor has been the best by far. In fact, he’s been one of the best offensive linemen on the entire team this summer.

At one point, Taylor was the only offensive lineman who was undefeated, a perfect 8-0, in the one-on-one pass-rush/pass-block drills, and this includes wins against Kenny Clark. Andy Herman recently mentioned that it’s difficult to argue that Taylor isn’t “one of the Packers best five offensive linemen.”

The Edge Rusher Position

I decided to lump this entire unit together, in addition to mentioning Rashan Gary on his own. We know how good The Smiths are, and as I’ve said, Gary has been excellent as well. But this is an extremely talented unit for the Green Bay Packers, and they are going to have some difficult decisions to make on cut day.

Mike Pettine brought up Jonathan Garvin’s name when discussing players who need to step up alongside The Smiths, and Preston Smith echoed similar sentiments when talking about Tim Williams. Meanwhile, Randy Ramsey and Tipa Galeai have put together very solid performances of their own. Difficult decisions will have to be made, but this is a great problem to have.

Darrius Shepherd

As the battle for that final receiver spot unfolds, Darrius Shepherd has once again made another strong push at the final 53-man roster. Just as he did in 2019, he’s catching everything in sight and has caught the attention of LaFleur:

"“Shep’s done an outstanding job,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “I think he’s again showed up, consistently separating and has caught the ball pretty well for the most part.”"

Aaron Rodgers

The start to camp was a bit slow for Aaron Rodgers, but in a Zoom call with reporters, he mentioned that he had gone back and watched some old tape of himself from the 2010 season – you know when the Packers won the Super Bowl – and made some adjustments. Now, what those adjustments were, I don’t think anyone knows. But it’s certainly paid off.

In Green Bay’s latest scrimmage, Rodgers would unofficially go 25-31 against the Packers’ No. 1 defense, and several of the beat writers have used the term “dialed in” when describing his play.