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#1 Posted : Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:25:04 PM(UTC)
This weekend the Green Back Packers embarked on their latest training camp in preparation for the upcoming season. Due to CBA rules, the first two practices are glorified OTA practices, and with the pads finally going on tomorrow, real football can begin in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Before that happens, here are some story lines I will be following during the remaining 19 practices of pre-season.

- Talent Overload at WR & TE
Not a surprise to anyone... the Packers are loaded with guys who can catch the ball, and of course having Aaron Rodgers helps significantly. 17 receivers and tight ends are competing for their spot on the 53 man roster. The coaching staff have their hands full giving out enough reps for everyone to show they belong. While shortened practice schedules can make it harder for new guys to stand out, there is certainly plenty of time for guys to take clear steps back. Colt Lyerla is on the fast track to not making it past the first cut as he has proven unreliable during the team's first two practices.

- A Vocal Leader Emerges
Mike Daniels is backing up his off-season talk of his desire to be a vocal leader on the defense. It started with some great interviews during OTAs and now we are seeing it in action. On the team's second practice he taunted the offense about what to expect once the pads come on and then continued to talk to his teammate Raji on the sideline. We don't know what he said, but word from the media was that it didn't look too friendly. Mike Daniels wants accountability and will make noise to see results. It is still too early to tell how it will resonate, but you have to love Mike's emergence as a leader on this team.

- Hayward & Hyde
The back-end of this defense improves greatly when both of these guys are on the field. Hayward and Hyde have both excelled during the first weekend of training camp. They are instinctive football players that our coaching staff plan to put in the best positions to make plays. I am excited to see them on the field together during the pre-season games. Hayward being and staying healthy coupled with Hyde's improvement defending in the open field could make this one of the most talented defensive backfields in the league.

- LB Spots up for Grabs
Clay and Julius appear entrentched as our starting outside linebackers, but training camp is just getting started. We know we will be seeing more packages and less plays so that probably means more linebackers. This changes the dynamics of depth charts by position a little bit. It will come down to who are the best linebackers inside and outside that we have on this team. Who are the most versatile? Lattimore is expected to be available and effective moving around formations and 2nd year player Barrington is expected to make that jump the coaching staff always talk about. How will Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba fair against new competition waiting in the wings. To me, linebacker is the most intriguing position to watch this training camp.

As pre-season rolls along, I will put out more blog posts covering the story lines and competitions that intrigue me the most, and as always, would love to hear your takes. Thanks for reading!
Laser Gunns  
#2 Posted : Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:32:27 PM(UTC)
Excessive sub-packages are going to hurt this team more than help I think.
#3 Posted : Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:37:17 PM(UTC)
You have to adapt to what offenses are doing though. If they are bringing out more guys in routes than you can cover, you may be in some serious trouble.
#4 Posted : Sunday, July 27, 2014 1:46:55 PM(UTC)
Laser Gunns said: Go to Quoted Post
Excessive sub-packages are going to hurt this team more than help I think.

They worked great in the past when they had the players to run them.

Last year they couldn't. So we played a predictable vanilla D. Can't use them if they are not healthy.
#5 Posted : Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:38:23 PM(UTC)
It is a lot easier to pick on the weaknesses before the season starts.

1) D line rotation. I want to see some fire from those guys. I also am a little tired of the scheme that has the D-linemen just tie up space to let the LB's attempt to make a play.

2) ILB's The biggest problem here is speed. The 2nd is shedding blockers. It will help change things up by moving Peppers all around the formation. I anticipate a lot of 4 - 5 yard passes over the middle to the TE, and screens. They get too aggressive with running QB's and allow avenues of escape. There may be more nickel and dime packages than you would normally see, Especially when the Packers are putting up a lot of points.

3) Center The inexperience will have to be overcome in a hurry. The first few games will be rough as the new Center learns how complex the NFL schemes can be. Kuhn in as a blocking back will help when mistakes are made.

4) TE (minor weakness) Relative inexperience with the offense and Rodgers. This is a function of time. If open Rodgers will find them. At least one will prove to be a good blocker.

5) Special Teams an annual problem with young guys learning the job and coverage.

Overall though, things are pretty good. The Packers have a strong team.
They open with a good measuring stick game against the Seahawks.

Let the season marathon begin.
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