One thing was clear to Jonathan Garvin as soon as he stepped on the practice field in Green Bay for the first time: he had no time to waste. The Packers had a much more limited training camp this year than ever before, and as a seventh-round pick, he knew he couldn’t waste a moment.
“You have to learn as quick as you can,” he told reporters via web conference on Monday. And that’s what he set out to do, soaking up all the knowledge he could from all three of the Smiths he worked with on a daily basis; he studies under fellow linebackers Za’Darius and Preston on the field and under linebackers coach Mike in the classroom, saying it feels like the embodiment of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.”
“That’s what it feels like being in the outside linebacker group. Everybody’s helping you in every part of the game.”
Now that training camp is formally over, Garvin says he’s learned more than just scheme or technique: he’s learned how to be a pro. Specifically, he says he’s learned what it takes to compete at the NFL level: no half measures.
“You can’t half do a move. You have to do it correctly. If you don’t do it correctly, it’s not gonna work, going up against these elite guys up here in the NFL.”
Garvin thrived on his elite length and athleticism at Miami, collecting 12.5 sacks over his three years with the Hurricanes. A 2020 seventh-round pick, he says he’s adding to his list of pass rushing moves courtesy of instruction from the Smiths, who have all encouraged him to think beyond just making moves to get to the quarterback.
“It’s different moves, moves I haven’t even thought about,” he said. “But it’s not even about having a super large inventory of moves, it’s about reacting to certain blocks.”
Even with a relatively unpopulated depth chart ahead of him, Garvin isn’t counting on his pass rushing bona fides to get him on the Packers’ 53 man roster. He’s working whatever angles he can to make it on the field, including contributing on special teams. And if special teams turn out to be his ticket to the roster, he says he won’t mind waiting a while to get involved on defense.
“I’m going to do my best regardless of how I make the team. That’s up for them to decide.”