It is the quietest part of the NFL offseason as we all wait for training camp to begin. The good news is that it is just a few weeks away.
For today’s article, instead of focusing on one topic, in particular, I’m basically doing a brain dump, sharing a number of my pre-training camp thoughts.
Let me know if you enjoy this style because If you do, I’ll plan on doing it once more before camp begins, as there are plenty of other thoughts that I have to share.
As is wrote about in more detail recently, I believe Kabion Ento makes the 53-man roster at cornerback. He’s a special teams contributor — which Josh Jackson and Ka’dar Hollman were not — and before placing him on IR in 2020, Green Bay did put him on the initial 53-man roster, which gave him the opportunity to return if healthy. Had they placed him on IR immediately, he wouldn’t have been able to return. This speaks volumes about what they think about him.
Devin Funchess and special teams
Will a lack of special teams contributions keep Devin Funchess off the roster? I certainly think it could. Four receiver spots are guaranteed, Green Bay has five viable options at tight end, plus Aaron Jones — and maybe more AJ Dillon — out of the backfield—they aren’t lacking pass-catchers, by any means.
So does it make sense to keep a 5th receiver on the roster, whose snap count could be limited and likely won’t help much on special teams? We will find out.
Green Bay Packers LBs
I don’t think this unit will be elite by any means, but I am intrigued by them. Both Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin are poised for Year 2 leaps, while De’Vondre Campbell brings durability, experience, and a well-rounded skill-set. Couple that with Joe Barry’s defense which does a good job of keeping the LBs clean, and I see the potential for this group to make a bigger impact in 2021.
I really like Patrick Taylor
At least from what I’ve seen, many assume that Kylin Hill will be RB3—and perhaps he will be. But don’t overlook Patrick Taylor either. He was a productive back at Memphis, a good pass catcher, and a willing blocker—which as we know, is a must in the LaFleur offense. And while he didn’t play in 2020, he has a year of experience in the offense under his belt. Keep your eyes on Taylor.
OL configuration Week 1 without David Bakhtiari
Jenkins – Runyan – Myers – Patrick – Turner
OL configuration Week 1 with David Bakhtiari
Bak – Jenkins – Myers – Patrick – Turner
Star CB by committee
“Committee” might be a strong term because I do believe that at the end of the season, Chandon Sullivan will have taken the most snaps there—it’s not going to be an exact split. But I also expect to see more of Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage there than what we have in years past. I also expect to see Adrian Amos and Will Redmond take some snaps there as well.
The Joe Barry defense
This defense is loaded with talent — don’t let the stats fool you — and hopefully, Joe Barry can help this unit reach its full potential. With that said, while there is overlap between what Barry and Mike Pettine run, it’s still a new defense and is going to take some time to adjust to. So have some patience.
Notable players that I think end up cut
Josh Jackson, Oren Burks, Ka’dar Hollman, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Devin Funchess. Of course, there could be others, but these few stand out above the rest at this time.
Again, patience. And mini-camp is a prime example of why as we saw Love struggle and then light it up the very next day. He’s a young quarterback and is going to struggle at times. But I also believe that he’s going to have plenty of success during the preseason as well. I can’t wait to see him in action.
Still cap space to create
According to Over the Cap, the Packers are $5.08 million under the salary cap. However, that only includes the top-51 contracts on the roster; as we all know, an NFL team has 53 players. Amari Rodgers is still unsigned; that cap figure also doesn’t include the practice squad or any reserve funds for an in-season addition like a Snacks Harrison.
Some under the radar names to watch in camp
Juwann Winfree: He can contribute on special teams and was making play after play during mini-camp.
Vernon Scott: I like Scott to win that third safety role. He’s versatile and can play close to the line of scrimmage, he is a willing tackler, and is familiar with the two-high safety look from his time at TCU.
Kabion Ento and Patrick Taylor: As noted above.
Kurt Benkert: If the Packers choose to roster three quarterbacks again, that third QB will be Benkert, not Blake Bortles.
Ben Braden: OL Coach Adam Stenavich told reporters that he believes Braden will compete for starting time at both guard and tackle.
Playing time breakdown between Preston and Gary
I find this discussion really interesting. Despite Gary being the far more impactful player in 2020, he saw roughly half the snaps that Preston Smith did. Gary has earned significantly more playing time, but how will Barry go about dividing it up? My guess is that we see a lot of Za’Darius, Preston, and Gary on the field together.
Amari Rodgers and Josiah Deguara
Each of these players brings an element to this LaFleur offense that has been missing. Rodgers fills the slot/gadget role that was meant for Tyler Ervin, but he struggled to stay healthy. While as the H-back, Deguara can do a little bit of everything and can be moved around like a chess piece within this offense. It’s going to be incredibly fun to see how these two are utilized this season.
Find a way to extend Adams
Obviously, this is a two-way street as Adams will have to want to re-sign with Green Bay. But if he does, or is at least willing to negotiate, it’s a move that must be done. We already know about his connection with Rodgers on the field, but if Love is under center in 2022, there’s no one better to have your young QB relying on. Make it happen.
Adrian Amos is so underrated
Over 1,123 snaps in 2020, Amos allowed only 7.9 yards per catch when targeted while tallying three interceptions, seven pass breakups, and a passer rating of just 79.0. He also added two sacks and 26 stops.
By PFF’s grading system, he received the second-highest grade among safeties along with the best coverage grade. Amos doesn’t typically make the flashy plays, but he is as steady as it gets at the safety position. More fans and folks around the NFL need to recognize just how good he’s been.
Aaron Rodgers and training camp
He will be there.
Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl.