By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on August 5, 2014
The Green Bay Packers are in full swing in training camp with several competitions underway. This week, Green Bay will be preparing for their first preseason game, which should give fans an early indication of what is happening in camp. Until then, here’s a look at 10 takeaways from training camp so far.
B.J. Raji is determined to prove that he is worth far more than a one-year deal. After two slow seasons, Raji is demonstrating early on in training camp that he can still be a force to be reckoned with. He’s dominating one-on-one pass-rushing drills and he’s crushing it when it comes to stopping the run. Overall, he’s been disruptive to the offense, which is a great sign of things to come.
JC Tretter is the clear favorite to win the starting job this season. In fact, most people didn’t believe anyone would really contest him for the role. However, rookie Corey Linsley looks to have something to say about that. Linsley has dominated pass-rushers, as he has emerged victorious six out of the seven times in camp. Only Bryan Bulaga and T.J. Lang have done better. Tretter is still expected to start, but it’s something worth watching.
Most fans assume that Morgan Burnett and rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be the starting safeties this season. However, that could be far from reality. Burnett can’t stay healthy, which has opened the door for Sean Richardson, who happens to be rocking it in camp. Meanwhile, Micah Hyde has been very impressive at safety, which puts Clinton-Dix’s starting chances at risk.
Rookie wide receiver Jared Abbrederis suffered a torn ACL in practice and he will not be able to play in 2014. The injury is incredibly disappointing because he was expected to play a big role on special teams and in the return game. He also has potential to be a big-time weapon for Aaron Rodgers, which his progress will now be delayed due to the injury.
Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are the clear No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers on the depth chart. From there, it is expected to be Jarrett Boykin at No. 3 and Davante Adams at No. 4. However, Boykin has really struggled in camp while Adams has excelled. If Boykin can’t hold onto the football going forward, don’t be surprised if Adams claims the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.
The addition of Julius Peppers was huge in improving the athleticism of the defense. However, that isn’t the only reason why the defensive front could be the most gifted in recent memory. Peppers’ athleticism allows other defensive players to step up in certain areas. Pressure will be taken off Clay Matthews, while the down linemen can take off after the quarterback. In general, the defense has looked faster and better in practice.
The average fan may not have a clue who Justin Perillo is, but the tight end has had a huge impact in camp thus far. The undrafted free agent is making a strong case for a final roster spot, although there is a long ways to go before that happens. Regardless, Perillo has caught everything thrown his way and he has been tremendous as a blocker, which is what the Packers like to see from their tight ends.
As much as fans want to see rookie Colt Lyerla succeed in camp, the tight end hasn’t helped himself out very much. He has several dropped passes and a recent knee injury could put him out of action for a couple weeks. For a rookie undrafted free agent, two weeks in the preseason could be the difference between making the team and getting cut. I had him making the 53-man roster prior to his injury, but it now seems like a longshot.
DuJuan Harris is back after missing the entire 2013 season with injury. Even though he won’t have the starting running back job this season, he will still have an opportunity to have an impact as the kick returner. In fact, Harris is the current favorite to return kicks once the regular season gets underway.
It may have nothing to do with the 2014 Packers team, but there’s no denying that the announcement regarding Brett Favre’s induction into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2015 is very big news to come out of training camp. Welcoming Favre back to the Green Bay family will be a special moment, one that is very much deserved.
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