On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers donned shorts and helmets for their second Organized Team Activities practice and their first practice in public in 2019. While there are few, if any, conclusions that should be drawn based on the success of any player or unit in drills, what will be notable are the alignments and repetitions given to certain players.
Specifically, the lineup that receives the very first rep on both sides of the football is worth examining, as it gives an indication as to how the coaching staff sees the starting lineup shaking out. Here are some of the takeaways from today’s practice.
First up are the players absent or not practicing. Three players were not in attendance on Tuesday: safety Josh Jones (whose absence and displeasure was reported Tuesday morning) along with tight end Marcedes Lewis and rookie edge rusher Greg Roberts. There is no explanation known as yet regarding the latter two players’ absence.
There were also three players who were not participating in practice, but who were in attendance, two of whom are starters. Wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive tackle Mike Daniels joined running back Tra Carson in the non-practicing group.
Perhaps the biggest question mark on the entire offense this season will be the right guard position. With Billy Turner coming over from Denver in free agency and Elgton Jenkins arriving via a second-round draft pick, the Packers have options at that spot. However, it was Turner who took the first rep in that position, lining up between Corey Linsley and Bryan Bulaga.
Meanwhile, with Adams out it is instructive to see which of the team’s young receivers would get the first run with the starters. It should surprise nobody that Geronimo Allison was one of the two wideouts on the field with the team in 21 personnel (two running backs and one tight end). However, Marquez Valdes-Scantling was the other, signifying that he still holds a lead over Jake Kumerow and fellow second-year pros Equanimeous St. Brown and J’Mon Moore for the third spot at the time being.
A complete reload at the safety position and comments from general manager Brian Gutekunst on the subject have suggested that Tramon Williams will be headed back to cornerback from safety this season. However, that transition appears to be complete, rather than just a move back to a more versatile slot corner alignment. Indeed, Williams joined Jaire Alexander as the two starters on the boundary as the Packers’ defense opened up in a base 3-4 alignment. Joining them were the two new safety additions, Adrian Amos and rookie Darnell Savage, Jr.
One particular reason for some optimism on Tuesday was the fact that oft-injured cornerback Kevin King was participating fully in practice. For now, it appears that the team is preparing for him to be their third corner behind Williams and Alexander, but a full offseason workload can only help him as he tries to maintain good health throughout the 2019 season.
On the front seven, there were two interesting items to note. First is the fact that with Daniels sitting out, the Packers elected to move Kenny Clark off the nose to the 3-technique position, with Montravius Adams in the middle and Dean Lowry at his traditional 5-tech spot. Clark has primarily played nose when the Packers stick to a three-man line, so this was a bit of a surprise. Still, the team is likely to line up most frequently with two linemen (in nickel or dime), so this may not be as significant a development as it appears at first.
The other notable item up front is that the team lined up with the Smiths as the starters on opposite edges. Za’Darius Smith lined up on the left side opposite Bryan Bulaga on the first play with Preston Smith on the right side.
The Packers have a day off from practice on Wednesday but will return to the Don Hutson Center for a closed practice on Thursday, May 23rd. Their next open practice will take place on Wednesday, May 29th.