By Chris Peterson @cpetersonHDN on June 1, 2014
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is a big believer in the offseason program and with the Packers' reliance on younger players; it's an important part of their development. Here are five things that we can take away from Green Bay's early OTAs.
The fact that Rodgers got into yoga this offseason may not seem like big news, but the fact that he lost 11 pounds and worked to increase his flexibility is important. At 30 years old, Rodgers needs to take care of his body and he feels that his increased flexibility will help him avoid sacks and injuries. Last season was also Rodgers' first as a starter without a rushing touchdown, so anything he can do to stay nimble is a plus.
The Packers are loaded at wide receiver, particularly with three rookie wide receivers joining the roster. That means players like Abbrederis need to do something else to ensure a roster spot and it looks like returns may be his ticket. Green Bay needs help with kick and punt returns and after proving he can be a successful returner in college, Abbrederis has impressed in OTAs as both a receiver and return man.
Many Packer fans have lamented that the team did not select an inside linebacker in the 2014 NFL Draft. Yes, the Packers still have 2013 starters A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones in the fold, but fans shouldn't sleep on Lattimore, who returned to the team after signing his restricted tender this offseason. Lattimore impressed in OTAs and appears faster than a year ago, showing the coaches he is a legit candidate to start this season.
After talk of switching Hyde to safety all offseason, the Packers have finally begun the transition during OTAs as most of his snaps have come at safety. The coaching staff is saying it's a trial run, but McCarthy has said all offseason he believes Hyde can be a three-down player. Even with first-rounder Ha Ha Clinton-Dix the likely Week 1 starter, NFL teams need three good safeties and if Hyde impresses, he will be given a chance to start.
The biggest take away from Packers' OTAs is the reaction of the players and coaches to free agent signee Julius Peppers. At 34 years old, some have said that the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Peppers had lost a step, but according to fellow players and coaches, he looks as athletic as ever. It's early, but the fact that Peppers has won over his teammates is a good sign. With Peppers and a healthy Clay Matthews, the Packers' defense could be dominant.
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