As the final morning practice wraps up this Tuesday, August 1st fans all over the country are wondering what this Green Bay Packers team will be. For the last several seasons the playoffs have always been expected with Aaron Rodgers at the helm of the offense. The question will become, what will the defense be like? The once powerful and sturdy defense has continued to dwindle for the last few seasons as vets lose a step and become less effective. Clay Matthew’s positional shift has to place talent in a needed position and keep a defensive leader on the field. The secondary needs to take the next step if the team expects to take that step towards the Lombardi. The Packers are going to need someone to take it up a notch in camp and show some real promise. A solid defensive contributor or a workhorse back is necessary.
Past Years: Players Who Have Emerged
In the last few years, there were a number of players who would emerge as champions of camp. That does not mean they are Pro Bowl caliber players, or even that they will start, but they are exciting to watch and even more exciting to imagine out on game day. Last year it was Geronimo Allison that shined in camp and went on to make some considerable contributions to the team. He looks to be given a larger role in the Pack’s offense this year as well. In the year before, it was Jeff Janis that broke out during camp. Janis had a monster game in Arizona playoff game, but his ceiling has been reached and probably will not be back in Green Bay after this last year on his contract.
Flash Shines Bright
More often than not, it is a flashing player that will shine in training camp. Skill positions are the players that normally shine because their play is easily recognizable and often times electric. Lineman on both sides of the ball can show promise, but with limited contact, it can be harder to recognize their work. If history decides to repeat itself for another year of training camp, the player who will emerge as the one to watch will be former LSU wideout, Malachi Dupre. The 6’4’’ receiver should show the Packers he was worth a late round pick. The receiver has the size, talent, and more skill than his college resume would show (a lack of consistent quarterback play and having Leonard Fournette as your running back will drive down your stats). All signs point to the possibility that Dupre will have a great camp when you combine his potential with the arm talent of Aaron Rodgers.
Potential Camp Break-outs
The Packers need rookie running backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones to have a great camp. Ty Montgomery will be back as the lead back, but as a converted wideout, he could have some trouble with players more comfortable with the role. Jamaal Williams looks to be the bruiser that the Pack desire, but could be much more. He seems to have the speed and power to be a solid contributor and if he can show some elusiveness, he could earn a heavier workload. Aaron Jones is speedy and shifty and racks up a lot of yards, which could show up in camp.
The Packers really need to have some more skill come out of their cornerbacks during camp. Kevin King (first selection in this year’s draft by the Pack) has shown real promise as a starter, but rookie corners often need at least a season experience to make a difference. Devon House is looking to have a bounce back year and show he can start in this league. If either of these DB’s shows any flash of skill, it will go a long way.