The Green Bay Packers are holding mandatory OTAs this week and two of the practices are open to the public. This is the final part of the team’s offseason workouts before the start of training camp and the only one of the activities that require mandatory attendance by the players.
Here are five things to look for this week at mandatory OTAs:
- Aaron Rodgers Is Here
Aaron Rodgers has reported to mandatory OTAs just as he said he would. While it was a disappointment that the Packers starting quarterback didn’t show up for any of the previous workouts, at least he’s here this week.
While OTAs are conducted without pads and contact, this will give Rodgers a chance to work with his new receivers, something he certainly will need to do between now and the start of the regular season in September.
Rodgers will also have a chance to set the tone for the team at OTAs as far as communicating his expectations and the attitude and work ethic he expects from his teammates.
Hopefully, the controversy surrounding Rodgers’ absence from the earlier OTAs will no longer be an issue after this week.
- Who Gets Reps at Star?
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry has indicated that four players may all get reps at the star defensive back position who mostly covers slot receivers. Those four are Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes and Darnell Savage.
The two things to watch for this week is how many reps each of these players get and how comfortable they seem to be when playing the position. Obviously, practices without pads and contact are a long way from determining how things play in the regular season but it’s a starty.
Look for the Packers to ultimately work multiple players in at the star once the season starts in another effort to keep opposing offenses off balance. This is just the first step in the process that will determine who gets the bulk of the work at the star position.
- How Does Jordan Love Look
Even with Rodgers present, former first-round pick Jordan Love will still get plenty of reps at mandatory OTAs. Since Rodgers will take most of the snaps during the season if he’s healthy, OTAs, training camp and the preseason are important opportunities for Love to show what he can do.
The early indications from the first two weeks of OTAs is that Love seems more confident than he was last season. That is a good sign.
Other things to look for include Love’s leadership and how he interacts with his teammates, his ability to read plays and how he is progressing with his footwork and mechanics.
This is Love’s third NFL season. It’s time for him to start showing progress. Rodgers mentioned the thought of retirement is getting closer so the Packers need to know if Love can become the heir apparent when that time comes or if they need to look elsewhere for their next quarterback.
- Injured Players Progress
Like all NFL teams, the Packers have injured players working their way back from injuries. They are off working on the side while the rest of their teammates practice.
The Packers have already indicated that it is their plan to have left tackle David Bakhtiari stay on the sidelines during drills until training camp. Other players who are rehabbing include offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, running back Kylin Hill and tight end Robert Tonyan.
While none of these players are expected to participate in actual walkthroughs with their teammate, seeing them do exercises and drills to speed up their rehab will give us some idea as to their progress as they continue to prepare for the coming season. Eventually, we’ll get a better idea of when these players will be ready to return but that likely won’t be until at least after training camp gets underway.
- Draft Picks
A lot of attention will be focused on the Packers 2022 draft class. How are Devonte Wyatt and Quay Walker doing at picking up the defensive scheme? Where are they lining up and how are they responding to the coaching they’ll be getting?
Wide receiver Christian Watson will be getting attention and fans and coaches alike want to see how he runs his routes and whether he continues to struggle with dropped passes. How will Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure fare? What kind of interactions will they have with their quarterbacks?
The Packers drafted three offensive linemen this year. All three are versatile so where will the coaching staff have them lining up? At tackle, where players like Sean Rhyan, Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker played in college, or at guard?
Is Tariq Carpenter going to see time with the safeties or the inside linebackers? Or will he practice with both groups?
There are 11 draft picks who will be on the field and there will be a focus on all of them this week at OTAs.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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