If the Packers are anything, they’re creatures of habit. From their weekly game prep routines to their tendency to get a single injury en masse during the course of a season, the Packers are never real surprising. And that goes as well for some Packer fans as well. They are more often than not the most respectful and knowledgeable fans I have encountered on a regular basis, but sometimes they fall victim to making hot takes.
These past couple of weeks have led to one major hot take that is as premature as it has been for years: a second year player is struggling in camp and in preseason, so now he’s a bust and should be cut. In 2015 it was Davante Adams. Last year it was Quentin Rollins late in the season. This year it has been offensive tackle Jason Spriggs.
Spriggs is a rare breed in Packer lore, a prospect who Ted Thompson actually traded up early in the draft to get. Seen by many as a first-round prospect in the 2016 Draft, he fell into Round 2 because he needed time to develop more than the other tackle prospects. Raw and athletic, the Indiana product dominated the Combine, leading many people to believe that he could be a cornerstone left tackle in time. But there is a key two words there: in time.
Spriggs showed his athleticism during last year and easily proved that he likely the best athlete in the trenches. But he struggled in limited action both at tackle and as the emergency right guard after TJ Lang got hurt in the middle of last season. It showed more than anything that while he had the potential, he still needed a lot of work and that James Campen had someone who he could really mold.
But here we are in 2017 and Spriggs hasn’t improved nearly as much as expected or hoped. Hand palcement is still an issue, he still isn’t strong enough, and his footwork has been inconsistent. And there are a series of lowlights from the Washington game all over social media, usually followed by comments that he is a bust or that he will never be anything more than “just a guy.”
But that type of video is part of the problem. We tend to look at offensive linemen only when they make a mistake. And while Spriggs has had a really rough couple weeks, he has shown some good tape as well, especially on some combo blocks with his left guard. But much like Davante Adams during his second year, it is way too early to dismiss a talented young player because he is struggling in camp. Spriggs may not pan out, but he also just might become a Pro Bowl-level tackle. He has the talent. Now he just needs the patience from his coaches and the confidence only a great fanbase like Green Bay can give.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.