Packers Training Camp is one of my favorite times of the year. I love to see Rookies, Younger Guys, and Veterans alike battle it out for positions that are up for grabs. These battles are the signal that the season is coming soon! In honor of training camp starting soon, Let’s take a look at Five-Position Battles Going Into Training Camp.
1. Right Guard:
Billy Turner: He struggled early last season. But to his credit, he started to figure it out as the season progressed in both run blocking and pass protection.
Lane Taylor: Just to the left of him, you saw Elgton Jenkins play at a level where Taylor (the favorite to start at left guard going into 2019) did not win back his starting job due to the spectacular play of the rookie Jenkins. Lane Taylor suffered an injury last year in camp, which sidelined him, and he had a difficult time finding the field again after returning from his injury. Early this off-season, there were rumors of the packers possibly moving on from Taylor.
After restructuring his contract, which is very incentive-based in regards to playing time, he remains on the team. Taylor shows versatility on the offensive line; he has played all five positions during his career. Makes it almost a lock that he will be on the roster. If you are on the team, you might as well make a case to be a starter.
Either way this position battle plays out, if any injury or COVID related things were to happen I think the packers have great options at guard.
2. Third cornerback / Slot Corner:
Josh Jackson: Let me start with who I want to see win this position. Jackson was our second-round pick in 2018 and showed so much promise coming out of Iowa. Through injuries and him not getting a lot of playing time when healthy he has not seen the field much early in his career.
Chandon Sullivan: He played a decent amount of snaps last season (305) as well as played some on special teams. He played well, most of last season, and even had an interception in Week 5 at Dallas. He is becoming a favorite in Green bay to win that position, and I don’t blame people for thinking that. You have to think about the number of snaps he played and what he put on tape. He has a great chance to get even more playing time going into 2020.
Ka’dar Hollman: More of my dark horse candidate. He was a training camp hero from a year ago. But he was inactive on most game days during the season. Look for him to be in the dime packages on defense and get more snaps on special teams early in the season. If he can excel at that look for him to get more meaningful snaps as the season goes on.
3. Wide Receiver:
The Packers the past few seasons have had six or seven wideouts on the roster at all times. However, if the talk of Green Bay changing who they are, to more condensed formations and running the ball, it would be hard for me to think of a reason to keep seven wide receivers if that’s where this team is going. So with that said, let’s get into who could take a leap and get on the field in 2020. It’s the names of Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, or Equanimeous St. Brown. I believe all of them will see the field at some point, and many will get a decent bit of playing time if they win the trust of Aaron Rodgers.
Allen Lazard: He was a huge impact player for the Packers last season. He came out of nowhere in Week 6 to have a breakout game against the Lions on Monday Night Football, and from that point to the end of the season, he looked like the number two receiver and had great production. I think it’s his job to lose this summer. I think he has an edge over the rest of the group that they have.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: He is my pick to have a great 2020. His deep threat ability and great skill with the ball in his hands is what I think this packers offense needs to excel in 2020.
Equanimeous St. Brown: After having a good rookie season in 2018, he had an ankle injury in Week 3 of last year’s preseason that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. A roster spot is not guaranteed for EQ. Especially if the guys who played last season can get an edge over him. With knowledge of the playbook and how the offense works he has some catching up to do.
Wide Receiver will once again be a thing to watch in Packer Training Camp.
4. Interior Defensive Lineman:
Who will line up next to Kenny Clark? When the defense struggled last year, a lot of it was due to the inability to stop the run. Look no further than both games against San Francisco. Who can help in run defense that is currently on the roster?
Kingsly Keke: A 5th round pick from a year ago, he flashed early and often last preseason. However, once the season started, it took him until later in the year to see the field and get playing time. I expect him to get more playing time this upcoming season, and take on the role as the guy who lines up next to Kenny.
Dean Lowry: Lowry is a guy who the packers signed to an extension, at the same time as they were about to release Mike Daniels. It was not a bad idea when Dean was coming off an outstanding 2018 campaign. I think the front office saw a guy who could become a good player. But in 2019, that was not the case. He was not the guy that we saw in 2018. If Lowry can get back to the way he played I think he will contribute to Mike Pettine’s scheme.
Treyvon Hester: A guy to keep an eye on in camp. Hester I think will see the field in obvious running situations. This position is one they need to see improvement in this year to make this defense from average to elite.
5. Backup QB:
Last but most certainly not least, there has been a lot of conversation about a certain guy in this group and his addition to the team in April.
Jordan Love: All Packers fans know this name now. The Packers traded up and drafted him with their first pick. In an offseason that saw no OTAs or on fieldwork for rookies or veterans, this might make the backup quarterback battle interesting. No preseason means no live snaps for the young Jordan Love.
Tim Boyle: Boyle benefits from having no preseason. Boyle has the experience and one season of understanding the offense. Love does not have that benefit and most likely won’t take a practice snap until nearly September this year. I think that Green Bay keeps three guys at this position and Rodgers will have a full room this year. Not much of a battle will happen in my opinion, but that’s a result of a lost offseason.
Football season is coming soon, and these early battles should keep us busy until September!
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