By Chris Peterson @thepackersguru on June 5, 2014
OTAs are an important team exercise, particularly because the offseason program has been limited so much by the collective bargaining agreement. Yet OTAs are even more important to the Packers because they rely so heavily on the development of young talent. Here are five things Green Bay must accomplish during their 2014 OTAs.
Regardless of who wins the Packers' starting center job this season, Rodgers will be working with a new center for a fourth consecutive season. J.C. Tretter and rookie fifth-rounder Corey Linsley are both capable of being solid players, but it's critical that they get plenty of reps with Rodgers so he can get as comfortable with them as possible.
The Packers shocked everyone by signing Peppers as a free agent this offseason; now it's time to see what he can do on the field. OTAs are perfect for experimenting with new players, and thanks to Peppers' length and athleticism, the coaching staff has an opportunity to play him at multiple positions. Finding the best ways to utilize his freakish ability is a key to OTAs and a successful turnaround for the defense.
The Packers have started Hyde's transition to safety and need to use OTAs to familiarize him with the position. This is critical because even with the addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix the Packers need a quality third safety, and Hyde is the best option. It will give the Packers the ability to play three safeties in certain nickel and dime situations, which brings more flexibility to the defense. Hyde would also add depth then at corner and safety.
If the Packers are going to be a championship caliber defense in 2014, they will need a big contribution from Clinton-Dix. The former Alabama star is used to a complex system thanks to playing under Nick Saban, but getting him up to speed on the defense and preparing him to start from day one is essential. The Packers need him to be an impact player from day one and OTAs are a key part of that process.
The biggest objective for OTAs should be getting and keeping players healthy. No one wants a Sean Lee like incident where a key player in lost for the season. The Packers also have key players like Clay Matthews and Bryan Bulaga, who are returning from season-ending injuries and need to get healthy and work their way back onto the field. Regardless of what else is achieved, finishing OTAs with a healthy team is the top priority.
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