Encouraging signs coming out of Packers training camp

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With cutdown day approaching and Week 1 now under two weeks away, the Green Bay Packers will soon transition into regular-season mode, leaving the foundation-building aspects of training camp behind and beginning prep for the Minnesota Vikings.” data-reactid=”13″>With cutdown day approaching and Week 1 now under two weeks away, the Green Bay Packers will soon transition into regular-season mode, leaving the foundation-building aspects of training camp behind and beginning prep for the Minnesota Vikings.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Training camp is often a time of unbridled optimism, and not all of it turns out to be relevant for the regular season. But remember: Za’Darius Smith was dominant last summer. Elgton Jenkins looked like a starter. Allen Lazard showed real signs of breaking out. The summer isn’t all fool’s good.” data-reactid=”14″>Training camp is often a time of unbridled optimism, and not all of it turns out to be relevant for the regular season. But remember: Za’Darius Smith was dominant last summer. Elgton Jenkins looked like a starter. Allen Lazard showed real signs of breaking out. The summer isn’t all fool’s good.

Here are some encouraging signs coming out of Packers training camp:

Rise of 52

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Rashan Gary would have had a sack” has become a daily thing at Packers camp. He’s winning one-on-ones and creating disruption in 11-on-11 work, but players can’t hit the quarterbacks in red uniforms. That’ll change soon. A massive second-year leap could be possible for Gary, the 12th overall pick last year. Imagine a Packers pass-rush with three really good edge rushers and Kenny Clark blowing things up inside. The rush was elite was last year, but Gary could take it to a new level in 2020. Now, he must translate what he’s accomplished this summer to the regular season. The Packers are planning a big role for Gary, so opportunity shouldn’t be an issue.” data-reactid=”21″>“Rashan Gary would have had a sack” has become a daily thing at Packers camp. He’s winning one-on-ones and creating disruption in 11-on-11 work, but players can’t hit the quarterbacks in red uniforms. That’ll change soon. A massive second-year leap could be possible for Gary, the 12th overall pick last year. Imagine a Packers pass-rush with three really good edge rushers and Kenny Clark blowing things up inside. The rush was elite was last year, but Gary could take it to a new level in 2020. Now, he must translate what he’s accomplished this summer to the regular season. The Packers are planning a big role for Gary, so opportunity shouldn’t be an issue.

Taylor forces his way

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Packers engineered an offseason paycut for Lane Taylor, who missed all but two games with a biceps injury in 2019. Taylor returned to Green Bay this summer with a new salary and new motivation and has all but forced his way into the starting lineup with a standout camp. He’s been unbeatable in one-on-one pass-blocking drills. At this point, it would probably be surprising if he wasn’t starting at right guard in Week 1. The veteran guard could be an upgrade over Billy Turner, who is also competing to start at right tackle.” data-reactid=”23″>The Packers engineered an offseason paycut for Lane Taylor, who missed all but two games with a biceps injury in 2019. Taylor returned to Green Bay this summer with a new salary and new motivation and has all but forced his way into the starting lineup with a standout camp. He’s been unbeatable in one-on-one pass-blocking drills. At this point, it would probably be surprising if he wasn’t starting at right guard in Week 1. The veteran guard could be an upgrade over Billy Turner, who is also competing to start at right tackle.

Jamaal’s role

It gained some popularity to predict the Packers would move on from Williams this summer, especially with second-round pick A.J. Dillon in town. Not so fast. Williams improved as a receiving weapon this offseason, giving his game even more versatility. The Packers trust him to do everything. If he can add some big plays by beating linebackers in man coverage, he’ll become one of the NFL’s more valuable backups. Matt LaFleur wants to get all these running backs on the field. Williams will have a legitimate role, whether he’s running, receiving or blocking.

MVS’s chance

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For two years, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been a speedy deep threat with major consistency issues and a one-dimensional game. The Packers think both issues are clearing up this summer. Valdes-Scantling has put together a terrific camp, and LaFleur specifically mentioned how much better he’s been getting off the line and creating separation on intermediate routes. This is his pathway to becoming a difference-maker. The speed will always be there, but if MVS can win early in routes and make more plays as a possession receiver, his value will skyrocket. Expect him to open as one of the offense’s top three receivers.” data-reactid=”27″>For two years, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been a speedy deep threat with major consistency issues and a one-dimensional game. The Packers think both issues are clearing up this summer. Valdes-Scantling has put together a terrific camp, and LaFleur specifically mentioned how much better he’s been getting off the line and creating separation on intermediate routes. This is his pathway to becoming a difference-maker. The speed will always be there, but if MVS can win early in routes and make more plays as a possession receiver, his value will skyrocket. Expect him to open as one of the offense’s top three receivers.

Solution at ILB?

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Packers have been searching for solutions at inside linebacker for years. In rookie Kamal Martin, they might have the beginnings of an answer. Day after day, he’s avoided mistakes and made notable plays. Martin has a combination of length and athleticism that could pair well with Christian Kirksey, especially if he’s going to play as fast as he has during camp. If there’s a favorite to start next to Kirksey in Week 1, it might be Martin. Solving the hole at inside linebacker with a cheap but experienced veteran and a fifth-round pick would be a huge win for GM Brian Gutekunst.” data-reactid=”29″>The Packers have been searching for solutions at inside linebacker for years. In rookie Kamal Martin, they might have the beginnings of an answer. Day after day, he’s avoided mistakes and made notable plays. Martin has a combination of length and athleticism that could pair well with Christian Kirksey, especially if he’s going to play as fast as he has during camp. If there’s a favorite to start next to Kirksey in Week 1, it might be Martin. Solving the hole at inside linebacker with a cheap but experienced veteran and a fifth-round pick would be a huge win for GM Brian Gutekunst.

Year 2 for 12

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Packers are obviously regression candidates in 2020, but what will be the easiest way for LaFleur’s team to remain a dominant force? Aaron Rodgers coming alive in Year 2 of the offense. There are some signs that everything is starting to click for the two-time MVP. He was razor sharp during Sunday’s scrimmage. According to Bill Huber of SI.com, Rodgers completed 25 of his 28 targeted passes and led a couple of scoring drives against the No. 1 defense. The Packers will win a lot of games is Rodgers is as accurate and decisive as he’s been in the past.” data-reactid=”31″>The Packers are obviously regression candidates in 2020, but what will be the easiest way for LaFleur’s team to remain a dominant force? Aaron Rodgers coming alive in Year 2 of the offense. There are some signs that everything is starting to click for the two-time MVP. He was razor sharp during Sunday’s scrimmage. According to Bill Huber of SI.com, Rodgers completed 25 of his 28 targeted passes and led a couple of scoring drives against the No. 1 defense. The Packers will win a lot of games is Rodgers is as accurate and decisive as he’s been in the past.

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