I know training camp is officially underway here in Green Bay, but in reality, training camp on the field for the team doesn’t begin until Thursday morning when they put the pads on for the first time.
When a football team is practicing in helmets, jerseys and shorts, all you can get a feel for is who can catch the ball, who can cover, and who is throwing it well.
But football is a contact sport, and until they begin contact in pads, you can’t tell much about the team.
From what I have seen, dating back to the OTA's and mini Camp, rookie wide receiver Trevor Davis has great hands!
The Cal product has made several tough catches in traffic and a few spectacular one-handed grabs — Wednesday being the latest. This kid literally catches everything! His sure-handedness is a welcome sight for a receiver group that had problems with dropped passes last season.
Jared Abbrederis might be the best route runner this side of Jordy Nelson in the Green Bay receiving corps and the quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) trusts him implicitly!
Running back is a hard position to get a feel for in the shorts and shirts practices, but Eddie Lacy not only looks a little lighter, he appears to be quicker than last year.
Again, we reserve judgment on backs, linemen and linebackers until they put the pads on.
The coverage in the secondary defensively was much improved Wednesday over Tuesday.
I talked with safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Wednesday about the defense getting burned a little by the offense on opening day yesterday and he mentioned, “Ya know why? Because ESPN was here yesterday and the MVP quarterback wanted to make sure he looked the part.”
Wednesday, the defense had its way.
The Packers could have a top five defensive secondary this season if everyone stays healthy.
In Joe Witt and Darren Perry they have two of the best coaches I have been around!
The safeties are interchangeable inside and there is great depth on the outside. We talked Tuesday about the concerns defensively for the Packers on the interior of the defensive front seven, but there is little concern that this secondary will continue to blossom.
I also like the depth the Packers have at outside linebacker, now with Clay Matthews back to his old position and Datone Jones making a full time conversion to the Elephant pass rush position on the other side.
I understand that is hard to observe and understand the intangible aspect of a team at work. But just standing on the sidelines you can see a joy in the competitive spirit of these athletes working with and against each other.
From my conversation with rookie inside linebacker Blake Martinez Tuesday:
He is a coach’s son, is very bright (yes athletes have to qualify to get in and go to class at Stanford), articulate and has an understanding of the “why” and not just the “what” of football.
Most players study the playbook and know what to do on the field only a few ever get to the level of knowing “why they do what they do” on a certain play against a certain type of offense or defense.
Those who understand “why” have a chance to be great. Mark my words someday, maybe very soon, Blake Martinez will be running this Green Bay defense on the field.
But for right now, we just hope he can stay with a running back or tight end in coverage.
Another early practice Thursday at 8:15 a.m., but like I said, it will be a “real” training camp practice because they’ll be in full football gear.