Green Bay Packers fans can get their first peek at the 2016-17 Green Bay Packers with the start of organized team activities (OTA’s) today.
The last month has been all about weight lifting, conditioning, diet and meetings. Today, players and coaches will practice on Ray Nitschke Field (weather permitting), starting with an 11:30 a.m. practice.
The Packers will be without four rookies, who were drafted from schools that used the quarter system. That means they can’t join their team until their schools graduate.
In the old days, whatever offseason workouts that took place, they did so with little fanfare. Today is different. Fans will fill the stands and be lined up along the fences, watching their favorite players and scouting out the team’s future.
Certainly, most eyes will be on running back Eddie Lacy, after an offseason of P90X. After last season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Lacy was out of shape and needed to drop some pounds. Internet photo’s suggest Lacy took McCarthy seriously, but we’ll get our first look in person when Lacy hits the practice field today.
OTA’s will also give us our first look at potential plans for Clay Matthews this coming season. McCarthy indicated that Matthews would move back from the inside to the outside, where he started his career.
Packers fans will also get their first look at newly acquired tight end Jared Cook. The Packers lacked speed at that position last season and Cook should provide plenty of it this coming season.
The Packers are giving last year’s sixth round draft pick, fullback Aaron Ripkowski a chance to win the starters job and are doing so by keeping veteran John Kuhn on the sidelines. If Ripkowski shows he can handle the job, then Kuhn will have to look elsewhere or retire. But if Ripkowski doesn’t earn his keep, the Packers will have Kuhn’s number on speed dial.
There’s also the punting position to keep an eye on. Tim Masthay held off a challenge from Alabama’s Cody Mandell last season. The Packers have added former Minnesota Gopher and Green Bay native Peter Mortell to the mix this year, to give Masthay a run for his money. Masthay set a franchise record for net punting last season but was also inconsistent and struggled with hang time.
Those are just some of the storylines for this team as they continue through the offseason program and eventually into training camp in late July. The critique starts today.