Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks to pass during organized team activities at Ray Nitschke Field. Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

A railbird's perspective from Green Bay Packers OTA

The start of Green Bay Packers OTAs seemed very upbeat this year. Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The start of Green Bay Packers OTA practice seemed quite upbeat and light hearted this week. The overall impression that I got from the team  was that everyone was genuinely having a good time.

Here are a few observations on my part.

I know it’s only May and by no means am I saying this is a sure thing but having attended the Packers first public practice Wednesday I couldn’t help but notice Mike Neal taking reps at outside linebacker.  At this point, I can all but assure readers this is merely an experimental move but it does at least have me thinking, what if?

First things first: Neal is still a monster of a man. To be effective at outside backer in a 3-4 I’m certian he would have to shed some weight and become quicker off the edge. After watching a few snaps, you can tell playing without a hand in the ground is somewhat foreign to him at this point. Once again probably more of an experiment but an intriguing “what if” if nothing else.

I liked what i saw from David Bakhtiari. Rookies are really easy to find especially this early in the season. They seem to always line up slightly off or aren’t quite where they need to be but while he was becoming acquainted as practice proceeded, Bakhtiari showed he could at least hang in there with the rest. His agility was impressive during lateral movement drills and his first step was very quick. He does look somewhat “dwarfed” by the likes of T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton and Marshall Newhouse lined up beside him, but don’t forget he’s still a young kid and will certainly add more size and strength the next few years. Derek Sherrod was at least on the field, but still not taking part in drills.

Then there was the special teams session that still featured Randall Cobb returning punts. As last season wore on, many fans were starting to realize how important Cobb was to the offense and questioning whether or not it was necessary to have him return punts also. He certainly took a few good licks. Jordy Nelson and Tramon Williams were also returning. It would be nice if punt returners didn’t play such a vital roles on both sides of the ball. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Loyce Means as a returner to help keep more pertinent players healthy.

Finally, autographs from players included A.J. Hawk, Datone Jones, and Desmond Bishop, to name a few. I just want to give these guys a big shout-out and thank you for stopping by to sign a few after practice. By no means do they have to sign a thing, but when they do, it’s something truly special. As fans, sometimes we forget these players are as much of a human being as we are and also have lives off the field very similar to ours – kids to pick up from school, wives to go home to, and are tired after a day at work, they just want to go home and relax the same way we all do.

SO what say you Packers Nation? Any thoughts on these early season observations? Lets hear it!

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Tags: A J Hawk Datone Jones Desmond Bishop Green Bay Packers Josh Sitton Marshall Newhouse

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