Football is back and so are the Green Bay Packers! The bike kids were back in business on Thursday as the Packers rode in to Clark Hinkle Field for the first day of training camp.
A new head coach took the practice field for the first time, but that was not all that was new. With an adventurous past couple of days along the defensive line, fans were able to see the unit up close and personal in the team’s efforts to replace Mike Daniels. An immediate fill-in emerged quickly during the day and made up one of a few quick-hitters from day one.
Josh Jones reports to camp
One of the storylines in the aftermath of the NFL Draft was Jones’ future with the franchise. With the Packers’ signing of Adrian Amos and first-round selection of Darnell Savage, it was reported that Jones had requested a trade with his playing time (and a starting job) fairly uncertain.
But the third-year pro reported to training camp after skipping OTAs and, as ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noted, was featured at safety with the second-team defense and at inside linebacker with the number one nickel unit. If the Packers do in fact keep Jones on the roster this season, his expected role will likely be what fans saw on day one. While Jones has been inconsistent since joining the Packers, the added competition could be a blessing in disguise for the former second-round pick whose speed and skill set always made him a potentially valuable asset at the linebacker position. In addition, Jones could fill an important depth role at a safety position without much experience.
While late-camp trades can always occur, it looks like Jones has a spot on this team for now.
Montravius Adams gets first-team reps
In the base 3-4 defense, Green Bay’s 2017 third-rounder Adams received first-team reps next to Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark. Daniels’ departure presents a serious opportunity for Adams to break out in year three and earn a spot on the first team ahead of returners Tyler Lancaster and Fadol Brown and rookie Kingsley Keke.
After releasing Daniels, Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst said that the team felt “pretty good about the depth [they] have in [their] defensive line room.” Adams always had a high ceiling coming out of Auburn, but many wondered if he would be able to reach it. Thursday represented the first step in that process and a chance to shine once again in training camp like he did his rookie season before injury.
Hold the drama, Mason Crosby (probably) will be the Packers’ kicker again
There is little doubt that Crosby and Packer fans alike were disappointed in the veteran kicker’s ups and downs during the 2018 season, including a disastrous outing in Detroit. That feeling led a few to believe Crosby’s job could be in jeopardy heading into this season with Green Bay signing journeyman kicker Sam Ficken, a player with former ties to Head Coach Matt LaFleur.
But on the first day of camp, with Crosby sitting out due to a calf injury, Ficken helped reassure fans that there will most likely not be a new placekicker on the 53-man roster. Ficken missed two field goals from 39 and 43 yards out, finishing four-for-six on the day. While there is time for Ficken to recover, his first day was not an overwhelming success.
With Crosby in a contract season, there may be a new kicker in Green Bay soon. But chances are it will not be this year.