On the second day of training camp practice, the Green Bay Packers’ two newest players showed up in familiar uniforms. One in his old uniform. One in his teammate’s. Here’s a recap of the day’s notable events, including some young players breaking into both the offensive and defensive depth charts.
Pre-practice presser, general manager Brian Gutekunst
- After Aaron Rodgers’ candid press conference yesterday, we got much more direct answers out of general manager Brian Gutekunst on Thursday.
- On the topic of the Randall Cobb trade: “Honestly, without Aaron, we probably wouldn’t be pursuing [Cobb.] Randall’s still a really good player. Seeing him last night reminded me of how big of an impact he’ll make in our locker room and for our football team. This was a very important thing for Aaron and that’s why we did it.”
- When asked “Brian, was it difficult over the course of the offseason to relinquish some of this personnel decision-making control?” Gutekunst quickly replied, “There’s no relinquishing any personnel decision-making or control. It’s literally just finding a way to incorporate Aaron’s thoughts.” Don’t accuse Gutekunst of losing power. He doesn’t like it. Noted.
- Offensive tackle Dennis Kelly was a sort of off-the-radar veteran signing, a type of move the Packers cannot do much more of considering their cap situation. Along those lines, Gutekunst stated, “We’ll probably address Aaron’s contract at some point, which will create a little bit of salary cap help this year...We couldn’t go through the season until we touch Aaron’s contract.” Based on the pressers over the last two days, we’ve learned that 1) Rodgers’ restructured contract hasn’t been signed or officially agreed to, 2) Rodgers doesn’t control his landing spot in 2022 and 3) he has not gained power in terms of team construction, outside of forcing the Cobb trade and potentially leveraging his cap hits in a way that would make him have to sign off on free agent signings and trades by the sheer amount of cap space that his deal takes up.
- Yesterday, wide receiver Davante Adams said he was only going to sign a contract that would make him the highest-paid receiver in the league. On the topic, Gutekunst said, “With that particular situation, it’s how you interpret what the highest wide receiver in the National Football League is getting paid.” The phrasing of this matters, as Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins signed a two-year extension on top of an already existing contract that is paying him north of $27 million per year, just in terms of the two-year extension, but pays him an average of around $19 million per year over the full five years from the moment he signed on for the tacked-on seasons.
- When asked if Rodgers asked for a trade, Gutekunst stated, “I’m going to keep those conversations in-house.” So...yes?
Pre-practice presser, head coach Matt LaFleur
- Matt LaFleur said clearly that the newly-signed Dennis Kelly was “Primarily a right tackle, but we’ll definitely look at him as a swing tackle. He is a tackle.” Considering Kelly’s recent starting-caliber play with the Titans, don’t be surprised if he takes over at right tackle at some point with Billy Turner either kicking into guard or playing left tackle in absence of David Bakhtiari, a position that Elgton Jenkins is currently subbing in for. A Bakhtiari-Jenkins-Myers-Turner-Kelly line, once their blindside bookend is healthy, might be their best five on paper.
- Tackle Dennis Kelly made an impression on his first day in Green Bay, showing up in David Bakhtiari’s jersey and causing some confusion early on in the day.
- Wide receiver Juwann Winfree, a 2019 Denver Broncos sixth-round pick who played eight offensive snaps for Green Bay in 2020, saw some first-team snaps offensively today and drew some attention. His path to making the roster is difficult, as Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers seem like locks to make the team, but if he can contribute as a punt gunner and on kickoffs it would go a long way.
- By all accounts, rookie defensive lineman T.J. Slaton looked good on Thursday. Only so much evaluation can be done on defensive linemen before the pads come on, but it’s a good sign that the rookie, who will almost certainly be asked to contribute right away in a rotation, is receiving positive attention.
- Defensively, the Packers began to debut their three-safety look under new defensive coordinator Joe Barry. In the three-safety look, Vernon Scott, who was mostly a special teams player in 2020, came off the bench for slot corner Chandon Sullivan while starting safety Adrian Amos was tacked on in the box.
Post-practice presser, wide receiver Randall Cobb
- When asked how he felt about general manager Brian Gutekunst’s comment that he is in Green Bay because quarterback Aaron Rodgers was adamant about him, Randall Cobb replied, “About the same way it made me feel when I signed with Dallas and I was waiting, hoping for another opportunity to come back. That didn’t happen, but, you know, we’re here and I’m back. That’s in the past. It’s about today. It’s about moving forward.
- I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player smile so much in a presser. If I were to guess, Cobb Cobb wasn’t a big fan of the Jack Easterby era in Houston.