It happens every August, and Packers training camp is no exception. A couple of splash plays in a team period, and all of the sudden the hype starts to build. There is no season of optimism greater than training camp for any fan base. Everyone wants to believe their team is going to better than the year before. And everyone will spend their afternoons refreshing Twitter for the latest updates from practice. What they are looking for is the next big thing – the player that is going to leap into a vacant role. Now these can be anywhere on the scale from unknown players vying for a roster spot (a la Jeff Janis), or young players ascending to stardom (Rashan Gary). Here are three potential training camp darlings for the Packers this year:
After a disappointing rookie campaign, it seems many fans were quick to write off Rodgers. Most of that seemingly stems from his struggles as a returner. He only played in 103 offensive snaps, will only 8 targets. And with the Packers drafting three rookie receivers, he has become the forgotten man in the room. But there is still a lot of optimism for Rodgers in year two. Guys like JaMarr Chase and Justin Jefferson seem to have spoiled the expectations for rookie WRs. But it a position that typically takes time transitioning to the NFL level. Rodgers has slimmed down this offseason to improve his explosiveness. And he offers a skillset after the catch that no one else on the Packers roster has.
After basically red-shirting his rookie year in 2021, Jean-Charles has an opportunity this season. Despite the Packers having possibly the best trio of CB in the NFL, the depth behind those three is alarming. With the departure of Chandon Sullivan, the Packers have a void in the slot. Sullivan played over 1550 snaps there (>70% of snaps) over the past two seasons. And even though Green Bay will likely rotate some of their top three into the slot, that is where Jean-Charles can specialize. He possesses good man coverage skills despite being somewhat undersized. And the Packers took a big jump with the amount of man coverage they played a season ago. He will have plenty of opportunity to showcase these skills against the young WR this summer.
Consider Carpenter the defensive version of the aforementioned Janis. Both 7th round picks, and both possess immense physical traits that can allow them to stand out, especially in training camp. Carpenter has a similar path to the field in 2022 as Janis did. Janis embraced a role as a core special teamer, and became an elite punt gunner. Carpenter can step in day 1 and contribute, and try to revive the Packers dreadful special teams. He also can prove himself defensively, as they also have question marks behind starters Amos and Savage. Carpenter with his size can fill the dime linebacker role that Henry Black and Kevin King both played a season ago.——————
Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.