5 Takeaways from Packers OTAs so far
The Green Bay Packers have completed three days of OTAs so far. Based on what we’ve learned during these three days, we can make the following conclusions about the 2015 version of the Packers:
That’s right, nothing. Zip. Zero. Nadda. Anyone who tries to make grand claims after OTAs is just desperate for attention.
But we can still learn a thing or two during OTAs. I like using OTAs to gauge how close players who suffered serious injuries the previous season are to returning. I also like reading between the lines about players who had offseason surgery or are nursing new injuries.
Keeping in mind the fact that we can’t draw any definite conclusions from OTAs, here are five takeaways so far:
Clay Matthews at inside linebacker wasn’t a one-year band-aid
Turns out moving Matthews inside wasn’t just a desperate half-season fix for the run defense. Look for Matthews to continue playing both inside and outside. It also sounds like Matthews has come around to doing more than just lining up outside. I used this description in my Surviving Sunday column, but I’ll use it again here: To me, Matthews is a bigger, whiter, longer-haired Charles Woodson type of player along the front seven. He talented and versatile to roam around and make plays from anywhere.
Casey Hayward doesn’t have the No. 2 cornerback spot locked up
Hawyard still might be the frontrunner on paper. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt also seemed to have Hayward as the frontrunner. But Hayward is injured again and sat out OTAs with a foot issue. He “hopes” to be ready by training camp. Coming from a guy who has already missed most of one season with an injury, hoping to be back by training camp doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
I really, reeeeeeeeeally, REEEEEEEEALLY am excited about the Packers returners
When was the last time the Packers had a true weapon as a kick and punt returner? Randall Cobb has had his moments, but he never caused the other team to poop its pants whenever he trotted downfield to return a kick. Micah Hyde’s been solid, but I don’t think other teams have to change their gameplan to stop him. We don’t know if Ty Montgomery or Damarious Randall will cause other players to soil themselves, either. But at least we have something to be excited about in the return game. No more putting a leftover defensive back, running back or wide receiver back there.
Mike McCarthy still has his beard.
And it’s awesome.
B.J. Raji is back.
The Packers didn’t sign a big nose tackle in free agency or draft one. They did get Raji back from injury. Now it’s time to find out if we’ll be getting the Raji or was an impact player during his second and third season, or a doormat like he was in his fourth year. Having Letroy Guion on board to form a rotation should help.