The Green Bay Packers started training camp on Wednesday, so the team is now actively preparing for the 2023 season. This is a younger roster full of talented but inexperienced players at key positions like wide receiver, tight end, defensive line and, of course, quarterback. Here is a look at five key takeaways from the first two days of Packers training camp:
Packers Training Camp Takeaway 5: Jonathan Garvin Is Practicing with the Defensive Linemen
The Packers are deep at edge and lack depth along the defensive line. Barring injury, Jonathan Garvin would be a long shot to make the roster at edge. There are several players ahead of him on the depth chart there including Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Justin Hollins, Kingsley Enagbare and 2023 first-round pick Lukas Van Ness.
Garvin is just 6’4” and 257, which would make him light for a defensive lineman, but if he can provide pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the interior line, he could find a role on the roster and improve an area of the team that needs an upgrade.
Garvin’s lack of size would limit him to obvious passing situations, but it could keep him on the roster if he can make the adjustment.
Takeaway 4: OL Sean Rhyan Showing Improvement
Few rookies had a more disappointing season than offensive lineman Sean Rhyan, the team’s 2022 third-round pick. The former UCLA star struggled to learn the offense and appeared in only one play all season before being suspended by the league for violating its PED policy.
But Rhyan has looked better thus far in training camp. He’s taking reps with the second team at guard and some backup reps at center as well.
Head coach Matt LaFleur thinks Rhyan looks different. “I think he’s in much better shape than he was a year ago. I think that’s pretty evident,” LaFleur told reporters after Thursday’s practice. “Hopefully, he can build on that and continue to learn and grow within our offense. It’s going to come down to his ability to go out there and compete and do it on a consistent basis.”
When asked about Rhyan’s rough rookie season, he added, “Hopefully, he learned from that experience. You don’t always learn from your successes. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to fall on your face a little bit. It’s about how you respond to that. But I do think he has responded the right way. I’m excited about just his approach that he’s taken. He’s locked in in the meetings. Ultimately, he’s got to go do it out on the field.”
Takeaway 3: The Battle for Starter at Edge Rusher
Rashan Gary remains on the PUP list as he continues to rehab his injured knee. That leaves a starting spot open opposite Preston Smith at edge rusher at least until Gary is ready to return.
On the first day of practice, veteran Justin Hollins took first team reps opposite Preston Smith, on day two, it was second-year man Kingsley Enagbare. Rookie first-round pick Lukas Van Ness was taking reps with the third team.
It appears that Hollins and Enagbare are in a fight for the starting spot opposite Smith. This will be a battle to watch going forward.
Packers Training Camp Takeaway 2: The Battle for the Starting Right Tackle Spot Continues
Second-year man Zach Tom has been practicing with the first-string offense at right tackle in each of the first two days of training camp. He is battling with Yosh Nijman for the starting right tackle job.
As of now, Tom appears to be ahead although there is a caveat. On day one, starting left tackle David Bakhtiari practiced with the first-string offense. But on Thursday, Bakhtiari sat out practice to limit the activity on his knee, so Nijman moved to left tackle with the starting offense.
Expect the battle for the starting right tackle job to continue during the preseason.
Key Takeaway Number One: Jordan Love Has Had Good and Bad Moments
Starting quarterback Jordan Love has had both good and bad moments over the first two days of practice. There were strong wind gusts on Wednesday which hampered the deep throws of all the quarterbacks.
Love went 7-for-15 on day one of camp and followed that up with a 5-for-13 performance with two touchdowns and one interception on day two.
“It was bang-bang,” Watson said. “An eighth-of-a-second earlier or an eighth-of-a-second later, it probably would’ve been different. It was a perfect ball, perfect placement by J-Love and the timing was just perfect. He got a hand on it, but it was just the right time where I got a good grip of it.”
The media and fans will micro-analyze every pass Love throws this spring. This will be a learning season for the former Utah State star and seeing him make progress and show leadership are the biggest things the team wants to see.
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