“Competitive” was Matt LaFleur’s buzzword of choice after the Packers practiced in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field on Thursday. The Packers’ head coach brought the word up unprompted several times, speaking both about the roster as a whole, the team’s preparation for the Vikings in Week 1, and several position battles.
Foremost on his list was what seems to be an open competition for two spots on the right side of the Packers’ offensive line. It’s probably too early to say who the clubhouse leaders are at guard and tackle, respectively (and media members present wouldn’t be allowed to say anyway), but LaFleur said he’s quite comfortable with the idea of Billy Turner starting at guard or tackle, should it come to that.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Billy,” LaFleur said. “He’s started at tackle before in his career. But like we said before, it’s a competitive situation. We’re just trying to find the best five to go out there and help us execute at a high level.”
The Packers are also closely monitoring their competition at inside linebacker, where Oren Burks, Kamal Martin, and Ty Summers are all vying for a spot opposite Christian Kirksey. Martin and Summers drew special mention today.
“They’re gonna have to be ready to play. We’re going to need both of those guys at that position,” LaFleur said.
Packers at all positions had to contend with something new today: piped-in crowd noise, which will be the standard for all home games where fans aren’t present. LaFleur said the noise at Lambeau was actually somewhat muted compared to what it will be on a typical Sunday.
“From what I understand, that’s kind of the prototype for what they’re putting out there right now,” he said. “I had our guys lower down the decibel levels a little bit because we haven’t done our silent cadence, but when I first got out there it was pretty loud.”
The Packers will practice inside Lambeau several more times before their first regular season game, and LaFleur is counting on his team to avoid whatever distractions come with practicing in an unfamiliar setting.
“Our guys gotta understand and adapt to a new environment, but at the end of the day, it’s still football.”