The Green Bay Packers completed their sixth practice of training camp and their first in full pads.
Here are the key notes and takeaways from this Packers’ practice session.
– There are a lot of roster battles taking place, most notably at edge rusher, safety, cornerback, and receiver. Matt LaFleur told reporters that would be “sort out” during the preseason.
– Sammy Watkins’ workload will continue to increase each day. “It does us no good” if he has a setback, LaFleur says via Bill Huber.
– Greg Matzek asked LaFleur if last season’s Week 1 blowout would change how the Packers operate in the preseason with playing time: “Potentially,” LaFleur said. “You’ve got to learn from every situation you’ve been in. At least it stimulates conversation.”
– LaFleur said Christian Watson is “getting better,” but there is still no timeline for his return.
– LaFleur on Amari Rodgers via Wes Hodkiewicz: “I think Amari had a really good day yesterday. Not only what he’s shown on We-defense but offense, as well. The effort he showed yesterday was pretty gritty.”
– Via Bill Huber, there will “potentially” be live tackling during the Family Night practice.
– Former Badger wide receiver continues to impress in practice, as Andy Herman would tweet out.
Takeaway: Making the roster is likely not a possibility given the makeup of the receiver room, but he is very much in play for a practice squad spot.
– A different OL configuration today, as Andy Herman would note, with Nijman at left tackle, followed by Runyan, Myers, Newman, and Tom.
Takeaway: Tom may not have the prototypical offensive tackle size, but he makes up for it with his athleticism and technique. It’s been a strong start to camp for the rookie. As far as the OL as a whole goes, once Bakhtiari and Jenkins are heathy, the only position likely up for grabs is at right tackle.
– Aaron Nagler would note that there have been a few plays with Jones and Dillon on the field together.
Takeaway: The Packers utilized two running back sets only 2% of the time in 2021, according to Sharp Football. I certainly expect much more of this in 2022—at the end of the day, get the ball in the hands of your playmakers.
– Jordan Love had what Andy Herman would call his best throw of camp.
Takeaway: From the offseason programs through training camp, the common theme when discussing Love has been his increased confidence, and that is showing up on the practice field in his play. As LaFleur wanted him to do, he is letting it rip.
– De’Vondre Campbell made an impressive pass breakup while in zone coverage on a pass to Romeo Doubs.
Takeaway: Having both Campbell and Walker in the middle of this defense will really help take this unit to the next level. With their abilities to play the pass, Green Bay can stay in their base defense more often, making it difficult for offenses to know what is coming. Last year, with Barnes and Black often lined up next to Campbell, opponents had an idea of whether Green Bay was playing the run or the pass.
– Via Andy Herman: Kingsley Enagbare was next to Tipa Galeai on the second team defense today.
Takeaway: Previously, that spot next to Galeai has belonged to La’Darius Hamilton. After Smith and Gary, there are a few rotational roles up for grabs. Whichever players fill those roles, the Packers will need more impact plays from their depth contributors than what they got a season ago.
– As Rob Demovsky would point out, Jaire Alexander didn’t participate in 11 on 11 (not injury related), so it was Rasul Douglas out wide with Eric Stokes and Shemar Jean-Charles in the slot.
Takeaway: While Alexander, Douglas, and Stokes will dominate the playing time, but either Jean-Charles or Keisean Nixon could carve out some playing time in the slot, where both have experience.
– Wes Hoskiewicz called Dallin Leavitt a “pit bull” on special teams.
Takeaway: Leavitt comes to the Packers with over 800 career special teams snaps, including leading the Raiders in special teams tackles in 2021. He has also spent his entire career playing under Rich Bisaccia. Leavitt is a front runner for one of the available roster spots at safety.
– Amari Rodgers had a muffed punt today—something that was very much an issue last season, along with being indecisive. We also saw Rodgers as a gunner, which Hodkiewicz pointed out, something that I didn’t expect to see.
– Hodkiewicz would point out that the special teams have a different feel. If there is one thing we knew about Bisaccia, it’s that he was going to bring accountability to that room.
– Takeaway: Earlier this offseason I mentioned that turning around this special teams unit would take an organizational shift in how it’s viewed. We’ve seen several free agents additions who can help on teams, along with several potential contributors from the draft class, and more of an emphasis in practice—in addition to Bisaccia’s presence.
– As the Packers try to round out their safety depth chart, Vernon Scott was the sixth DB in their dime look.
Takeaway: As I wrote recently, it would appear that the Packers are going to have some difficult decisions to make at the safety position. Leavitt has special teams experience; Davis may have been the front-runner coming out of minicamp, while Scott has been on the roster the last two seasons. Carpenter and Gaines also could be core special teams players as well.
– With the third running back spot up for grabs until Kylin Hill returns, UDFA Tyler Goodson has looked the part, showcasing some excellent burst with the ball in his hands. He also has experience as a pass catcher from his time at Iowa.
– Hodkeiwicz would mention that second-year linebacker Isaiah McDuffie is playing much faster this year.
Takeaway: Many NFL players make their biggest jumps from Year 1 to Year 2. While there won’t be much playing time on defense, McDuffie finished top-10 on the team last season in special teams snaps per PFF. He is someone who could flourish under Bisaccia.
– Jarran Reed has been frequenting the backfield, according to Matt Schneidman.
Takeaway: Reed has finished with 30+ pressures in three of his past four seasons while ranking 26th in PFF’s run-stop rate metric.