Position Battles at Green Bay Packers Training Camp

(Image via packerseverywhere.com)

The NFL 2015 regular season is just over a month away. I can’t wait. This is the moment of summer where I scroll past all of the CNN Breaking News and Seeking Alpha updates on my Twitter feed and focus all of my attention on Bleacher Report and NFL News. This is the moment of summer where there is almost another sport to watch on TV other than baseball. This is the moment of summer where I will soon gladly trade in my shorts for pants because NFL Sundays make me way happier than warm weather. Yes, that sounds depressing, but I am actually SO EXCITED THE NFL IS ALMOST HERE YIPPEE!

One aspect of this transition into the football season that I enjoy following the most is summer camp – especially for my beloved Green Bay Packers. As our fearless leader Zach Rosen pointed out on Wednesday, there are many unknowns about the Pack’s roster currently such as, “Who will replace Tramon Williams?” and “Will Jared Abbrederis make the 53-man roster?” These are both extremely relevant topics that Ted Thompson and company will have to sort out. But hey, I’m here to speculate, right? Below are some of my favorite summer camp battles currently taking place in Green Bay, WI.

Running Back/Full Back

Last season, the Packers had four running backs and full backs in total with Eddie Lacy, James Starks, DuJuan Harris, and John Kuhn.  Lacy – check. James Starks – check (signed a new contract in March). Kuhn – check (signed a new contract in April). Now, this is where it gets interesting for two reasons.

  • Kuhn’s 1-year contract coupled with the fact that the Packers recent draft pick, fullback Aaron Ripkowski out of Oklahoma University, could likely mean that the team is parting with Kuhn after the season is all said and done. I know that it is rather unconventional to have two fullbacks on an active roster. But, I believe that Kuhn, a 3x Pro Bowler, could do a great job grooming this young rookie.
  • In further news, DuJuan Harris has been demoted to the Minnesota Vikings. The after-math of this move means that there is a battle at RB3 between Rajion Neal and John Crockett. Neal had an above-average preseason with Green Bay last year whereas Crockett is, in my opinion, the most highly-regarded undrafted rookie. After a record-breaking career at North Dakota State University, I give the edge to John Crockett and his “chip-on-the-shoulder” persona.
John Crockett (thesportblogger.sportsblog.com)

Tight End

Andrew Quarless’s offseason has been rather unfortunate. He was involved in an incident with a firearm last month. Now, news has surfaced that his newborn daughter passed away during childbirth.  Really sad stuff. But, not as sad as his tattoo game.

Andrew Quarless has a tattoo on both of his arms that reads "GODS GIFT"
Andrew Quarless has a tattoo on both of his arms that reads “GODS GIFT” (reddit.com)

I can’t speak for God, but I, for one, am not so certain that Quarless will be starting Week 1 due to his rollercoaster of an off season. That leaves the starting Tight End position up for grabs for Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo, and Kennard Backman. Coach Mike McCarthy is always talking about his players taking that “step up from last year.” Quite possibly the most underrated player from the 2013 NFL Draft, left tackle David Bakhtiari, put together a fantastic season during his sophomore year by taking this said step. Bakhtiari’s “step up” widely contributed to Aaron Rodgers’ MVP season. Furthermore, this “step up” is a hot conversation in Titletown, USA currently about tight end Richard Rodgers. McCarthy said that, “He’s [Richard Rodgers] taken a step offensively in the passing game and completely understands it.”

Richard Rodgers showed flashes of supreme athleticism last season and I cannot wait to see how he’s developed this off season. This tight end battle is also affected by the running back Battle: since I think the Packers will have 5 RB/FB means that the Packers might only have three tight end spots this season – down from four last year.


Let me start off by thanking Clay Matthews for his athletic prowess and ability to affectively play both the inside and outside linebacker positions. Next, let me mention that last season the Packers had 11 linebackers on its roster. ILB: AJ Hawk, Brad Jones, Sam Barrington, Jamari Lattimore, and Carl Bradford. OLB: Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, Nick Perry, Jayrone Elliott, Andy Mulumba. You can look at this linebacker battle from two perspectives:

  • Clay Matthews starts atILB. With Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Nick Perry locks at theOLB and one of theILB positions, that means there’s a battle for thefinalILBposition between Sam Barrington, Jake Ryan, Carl Bradford, Nate Palmer, and Joe Thomas. I give this edge to theslightly-more-experienced Barrington. Front 7: Mike Daniels,BJRaji, Josh Boyd, Nick Perry, Clay Matthews, Sam Barrington, and Julius Peppers.

    Jake Ryan catches a pass (bleacherreport.com)
    Jake Ryan catches a pass (bleacherreport.com)
  • Clay Matthews starts at OLB. Clay Matthews would replace Nick Perry. This would mean that the starting ILBs would likely be Sam Barrington and Rookie Jake Ryan from the University of Michigan. Mike Spofford of packers.com writes that, “The fans want Jake Ryan to start.” This would make the Front 7 be: Mike Daniels, BJ Raji, Josh Boyd, Clay Matthews, Sam Barrington, Jake Ryan, and Julius Peppers. In my opinion, this is the better move.

On that, the battle between all of the linebackers is wildly entertaining. Once you filter past the notable guys (Matthews, Peppers, Perry, Barrington, Ryan, Neal), there are still many other young talents seizing this opportunity such as Carl Bradford, Nate Palmer, and Adrian Hubbard. This is the area of the Packers that is imperative to their defensive success in the 2015-2016 season given the fact that linemen Datone Jones and Letroy Guion face suspensions. The linebackers will really need to step it up early in the season.

These are my three favorite battles at training camp currently. This goes without saying that Brett Hundley is turning heads as a potential third string quarterback. Also, the packers might be starting the year off with six Wide Receivers – Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, and Ty Montgomery. All in all, here is what I think the 53-man roster will look like on September 13th when they square off against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Scott Tolzien
QB Brett Hundley
RB Eddie Lacy
RB James Starks
RB John Crockett
FB John Kuhn
FB Aaron Ripkowski
WR Jordy Nelson
WR Randall Cobb
WR Davante Adams
WR Jeff Janis
WR Ty Montgomery
WR Jared Abbrederis
TE Richard Rodgers
TE Andrew Quarless
TE Kennard Backman
LT David Baktiari
LG Josh Sitton
CB Corey Linsley
RG TJ Lang
RT Bryan Bulaga
OL JC Tretter
OL Lane Taylor
OL Garth Gerhart
DL Mike Daniels
DL Josh Boyd
DL BJ Raji
Dl Letroy Guion
DL Bruce Gaston
OLB Clay Matthews
ILB Jake Ryan
ILB Sam Barrington
OLB Julius Peppers
LB Jayrone Elliott
OLB Nick Perry
ILB Carl Bradford
OLB Mike Neal
OLB Adrian Hubbard
OLB Andy Mulumba
CB Sam Shields
CB Casey Hayward
CB Damarious Randall
CB Quinten Rollins
CB Demetri Goodson
DB Micah Hyde
SS Morgan Burnett
FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
S Sean Richardson
S Chris Banjo
K Mason Crosby
P Tim Masthay
LS Brett Goode

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