Good To Have Aaron Where He Belongs
With the first two training camp practices complete, two things are apparent already with the Packers WR position.
Aaron Rodgers makes every receiver look better. There is no comparison between how Rodgers can seemingly put the ball on the money almost every time and the significant drop-off in talent displayed by the other two quarterbacks in camp, Jordan Love and Kurt Benkert. Not even close.
As Packer fans, we should all be thankful our MVP, future Hall-of-Famer, is back for his 17th season. With Rodgers under center, we should have a Super Bowl contending football team in Green Bay.
Veteran WR Experience
The next thing that jumps out is we have quite a bit of talent at Wide Reciever, with an extraordinary amount of combined NFL experience. Again, it is early, but I think it is safe to assume the following pass-catchers will be part of the opening-day roster:
Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Alan Lazard, Randall Cobb, Devin Funchess, and rookie Amari Rodgers will surely all be part of this team’s final 53 man roster.
Under this assumption, there is a combined 30 years of NFL experience, with an average of 5 years per man. Veterans who have played at the game’s highest level and for a long time.
It is these players who will be the core of the WR room this season. I cannot imagine it another way.
So far, and it has only been two days, Valdes-Scantling and Lazard have been quiet, but with each now having been here a while (4 and 3 years respectively), both continue to progress to the point I think they will each solidify spots on the team.
Cobb and Funchess are name veterans who both have been there and know what it takes to win. Cobb was a favorite target of Aaron Rodgers before, and there is no reason to believe he will not be again.
The chemistry between QB and WR is crucial, enough for the Packers to appease Rodgers by bringing Cobb back to Green Bay. Funchess is a playmaker that has already impressed in just these first two days. I do not see anyone pushing them out of jobs.
Then you have Davante Adams, who wants to get paid like the number one receiver in the league. Seeing him catch a 50-yard bomb from Rodgers with two first-team defenders hanging on him kind of says it all. I say pay the man.
A Good Rookie Slot Receiver
The final piece of this WR puzzle may be the rookie Amari Rodgers. Perhaps MVS and Lazard being quiet thus far is because of all the noise the speedy Amari Rodgers is making. If he is not the fastest man on the team, he is close, and he catches everything thrown his way.
These six players give the Packers one of the most talented and experienced wide-receiver groups in the league. But, of course, having the best passer in the league does not hurt either.
As for the other wide-receivers in camp, they all so far have shown something, some good, some not-so-much.
Way too early to say, but two players, Juwann Winfree and Bailey Gaither, have already made notable plays. If I were to make a prediction, I could see these two as possible practice-squad players worth developing if they continue to shine.
On the flip side, Equanimeous St. Brown made a big play in the first practice scoring a touchdown over Jaire Alexander, which was impressive. However, he displayed his familiar penchant to drop more passes on his second day than he caught.
FIRST DAYS TRAINING CAMP NOTES
Aaron Rodgers is a real team leader. I watched as he would talk to quarterbacks Jordan Love and Kurt Benkert explaining or instructing them on movements and footwork on several occasions.
I also observed him doing the same thing with rookie wide-receivers Amari Rodgers and Juwann Winfree after running various pass routes. As a result, he makes those around him play better.
Amari Rodgers is going to be a big-time asset somewhere on this team. He has been getting a lot of action. His speed allows him to get open quickly, and then when thrown to, catches the ball. Two of the day’s best plays were Rodgers running a Jet-Sweep for a big gain and him catching a short bubble-pass on the left side and out-running defenders, also for significant extra yardage.
Rodgers also was the sole punt returner taking reps on the first day, so it appears as Randall Cobb did in his early years, Amari may be the new punt returner.
Jordan Love is a long way from becoming a starting-caliber quarterback. On Thursday, news reports were touting the play of linebacker Ty Summers for his interception. The reality was the pass from Love was atrocious.
Love is not at all a drop-back passer. Instead, his footwork seems erratic, and he appears frantic at times, making questionable throws that do not go unnoticed. Head coach LaFleur was vocally expressing his displeasure after Love short-armed an easy 5-yard pass that fell woefully incomplete.
On the bright side, he seems to be good at throwing on the run and looks effective when he takes off running. In time he may be a good quarterback, be he has some ways to go.
My advice to him would be to stick to Aaron Rodgers as closely as possible and learn everything he can.
Josh Meyers is a massive man. At 6 foot 5 inches and weighing 310 pounds, he is one of the largest men playing the center position. Even Aaron Rodgers commented that he is the largest center he has ever played with. I am not sure if his size has anything to do with it, or it is him being new or being a rookie, but it is obvious the exchanges between center and quarterback need plenty more practice. Not exactly smooth exchanges.
Eric Stokes, the rookie cornerback from Georgia, also looked impressive getting significant practice time with the first-team defense and flying all around the field. He looks like a playmaker.