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

  • frozeninfear

    It is a shame Sherrod got hurt. It seems like recovery has taken forever. It may be time to send him down the road. Will Newhouse be in the mix for the RT job?

  • Dan Dahlke

    Thanks for the observations, Luke. It’s nice to have someone from the site there in person. The Mike Neal switch surprised me, but we’ll have to see if that progresses or not. Also, it’s good to hear how the rookies are looking and fitting in. Keep up the good work. I enjoyed learning this information.

  • JaKa

    Any Comments? Yes sir, I have one. What you saw was the start of the preperation of what will prove to be one of the most talented teams ever put together in Green Bay. Not only is the level of talent up, it’s deep too. Maybe picking up a backup on the line of scrimmage (Offensive) when the free agents start getting out there again, and maybe a spare D-back for security is needed. Other than that counting on Rodgers to play at his level with better protection this year, another year can be counted on where the Pack is THE team to beat again, like a few years back when the W’s started piling up and up, until they hit 11,12 in a row. If they can put 7 or 8 together on a schedule like that, they’re just as good with this years rivalries.

    It’s almost as if they have to play all the playoff teams from last year. Even with that, a 13 game run this season is the least we can look for. This years offense will be unstoppable, even against teams like the NYG, or NE and the sports writers favorite across the country, San Fransico. Atlanta could be a problem, then there’s the VIkings who are putting together some talent that we need to address. The Vikes are geared up with one thing in mind, beating Green Bay, any way they can do it.

    The box of gold at the end of the rainbow is that MN has pretty near the same schedule, with differing weeks for each team, and they are nothing to sneeze about, (not counting what’s his name? Jetson? It began with a “J”, I think. Best of luck to him, but in the end, he won’t turn out to be a big contributor there either. Jennings will find a way to wine to officials and the press. He could wind up being the best Packers weapon on Sundays this year too. Oh, no FUMBLE… Rodgers goes to Jennings at the 35, and he DROPPED IT.

    They (MN) have brought in some good talent though, all things considered. The Pack did much of the same though, and the Pack had the advantage last year, as well as the last two decades almost. Those games are gone and over. The team needs to prepare for this years version. I’m sure they will and am sure coach Capers will have his year again, bringing the defense back up into the top 5 again. A few changes here and there, and it’s the year of going deep, into the big gig. And the Offense? Let ‘er Rip, like a Locamotive…

  • FITZCORE1252

    Great stuff! Any thoughts on Quarless?

  • Luke Hanish

    Both Quarless and Worthy were present but didn’t participate. Was surprised Shields absence bothered McCarthy as much as it did publicly at least. Gotta feel for Quarless and Sherrod injuries. Crucial injuries that early into a career. Thanks for reading guys!

  • FACE

    Loyce Means is a pertinent player. You will see he has that fire and desire in him to be the best. He is a pitbull out there.