Training camp is almost over and the rumors and analysis of the hot new players continue to swirl. The team needs to see some improvement from their defense and their running game. There have only been a few practices this year, so there is plenty of time for new players to prove themselves and others to drop. There are high hopes for this season and the team will need to get some solid production out of their newly acquired players. Here are 5 Green Bay Packers to watch during training camp.
The defensive backs for the Green Bay Packers ranked next to last this past season. Therefore, it is no surprise that this group must improve drastically to give the team a fighting chance at a deep playoff run. Quinten Rollins took plenty of hits last year as half of the team’s cornerback trouble. They gave up the second-most passing yards out of the entire league. He was returned to training camp a new man and receiving the praise of both the D-coordinator and position coach. It is going to take some serious hard work for this group to turn around what they put on the field last year. Rollins has come back to camp with a fire that everyone is noticing. His transitions are much cleaner and have added some speed out of his breaks. Able to play both outside and inside provides the team with some flexibility, but coaches see a ‘star’ in him and like his physical style of play at the line. Quinten Rollins is definitely someone to keep an eye on as the season begins.
Part of the problem with the Pack’s passing defense is a lack of sufficient pressure from their line. The best way to improve a team’s pass defense is to get some big, fast, and strong bodies to pressure the quarterback. Having players in the backfield forces the quarterback to rush through reads and make poor decisions. Dean Lowry (DE) had a quiet rookie year and is looking to make a real impact in his sophomore season. He has returned to camp bigger, faster and stronger. Head coach Mike McCarthy has noted the difference and hopes that he can continue that growth into several hurries and sacks this season.
The team was very high on their second round pick, out of NC State. It seems that they have good reason to be as well. Josh Jones is not disappointing when the pads are put on in practice. The team desperately needs a dynamic playmaker at this position. Jones has been flying all over the field. He is getting some looks as a hybrid inside linebacker because he has great size and instincts. This kid is the real deal.
Running Backs (Ty Montgomery)
The running back is a position to watch during camp. The Pack desperately needs a player to step up and be “THE GUY.” Ty did a serviceable job last year as a hybrid WR/RB but has come to camp with more weight and better vision. He is rarely, if ever, stopped at the line of scrimmage and clearly (originally a WR) has great hands. Jamaal Williams is a favorite draft ‘steal.’ He has continued to impress but still sits in the no. 2 RB spot currently. If he can show better ability to catch the ball and pass protect (which Montgomery is struggling with), then he could be the no. 1 back.
Spriggs was a second round pick last year and slated to make a big jump into a starting role for the Packers. He must find some rhythm and confidence to bolster this o-line group. His performance against the Eagles was not a pretty one. Rookie, first round pick, Derrick Barnett was able to put a lot of pressure on Spriggs’ quarterback. He must bounce back for the next game and camp is the place to make that happen.