Wanted to put down some thoughts about what I’ve seen through the first four days of Packers training camp and then remembered that I help run a blog about the team where I can post them for others to read.
So here you go.
Let’s start with the fact that a lot of what was talked about surrounding this team all offseason has started to play out pretty much as expected. Allan Lazard is getting a lot of targets. The secondary is sticky as hell. There’s a good, healthy mix of talent, both known and unknown, among the wide receiver group. The offensive line has plenty of question marks when it comes to who’s going to play where and we’re starting to get some answers. (Seeing Bakhtiari out with the rehab group for the first time was a great development.)
Most of this is going as expected.
What HAS surprised me is the physicality of the secondary along with just how “ready” for the moment Romeo Doubs appears to be.
With the secondary, it’s obviously early and they’re not even allowed to really even thud on receivers yet, but they have been an attacking bunch when it comes to the football, and if a wide receiver is in the way, so be it. On one play in particular a few days ago, Darnell Savage broke on a quick slant from Aaron Rodgers to Doubs and absolutely rocked the rookie. It was a good, clean play. Nothing malicious about it, Savage has every right to the football. But it drew audible gasps in that it was so sudden and ended up being so violent, especially for a non-padded practice in shorts, that it was impossible not to worry a bit for the rookie. (Doubs would later call it an early “welcome to the NFL” moment.)
There have been a handful of other instances like this throughout the start of camp where defensive backs “know their rights” so to speak. They have as much of a right to the ball as the receiver, they’re going to go get it and if you get in the way, you’re going to pay the price. That’s the kind of mentality I want from my defense.
As for Doubs, you’ve all seen the Tweets, headlines, and interview clips. The kid has hit the ground running. I can’t tell you anything other than everything you’ve read and heard is legit. Doubs seems absolutely ready for the moment. He’s gotten a good amount of run with the first team these first few days of camp and has not looked out of place for a moment. Oh sure, there’s the odd time when Aaron Rodgers may have to give him an adjustment coming out of the huddle on where to lineup, but that’s no different than we’ve seen with countless receivers who’ve come through Green Bay over the last decade. And he’s been consistent, regardless of whether its Rodgers or Jordan Love throwing him the ball. That bodes well for the young man.
Yes, its early, and the league is littered with guys who looked great in shorts in the summer and then disappeared when the pads came on. My guess is, that won’t be an issue for Doubs.
Overall, if you’re a Packers fan, camp has started pretty much how you’d want it to. The offense still looks like the Packers offense, just with some different names on some of the jerseys. The defense is itching to hit people and is staking their territory out and refusing to back down from a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Hell, we even saw a number of solid punts the other day. (Its going to take me a bit to talk too much about special teams. As Legolas said, “I have not the heart to tell you. For me the grief is still too near..”)
Now, what is basically an extension of the offseason is over. The shoulder pads go on Monday morning. Full pads appear on Tuesday. We’ll start to see some actual football.
But so far, so good.