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What We Learned from the Packers First Rookie Minicamp of 2013

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What We Learned from the Packers First Rookie Minicamp of 2013

The Green Bay Packers wrapped up the first of their rookie minicamps in 2013 on Sunday.

Head coach Mike McCarthy called it "one of...if not the best" rookie camps he's run since taking over in Green Bay in 2006.

While only so much useful information can be absorbed from the three-day process—which, admittedly, is much more of a toes-in-the-water experience than anything else—the first real taste of the new crop of Packers did not pass without a few revelations.

Here's what we learned from the first rookie minicamp of 2013:

Competition breeds improvement at RB: Running back was a position in the spotlight, which is exactly what you'd expect from a minicamp that featured two top picks at a position of weakness from last season. Coach Mike McCarthy called second-round pick Eddie Lacy "smooth" and "well-coached," while fourth-rounder Johnathan Franklin was deemed a "natural" in the return game. Any sort of pecking order is still far from determined. But early on, both backs appear to be embracing the idea of a friendly but professional competition. The Packers hope such a positional battle will internally heighten the play from a position that needs to provide more quality in 2013.

Jones and his playing weight: Following the first professional practice for first-round pick Datone Jones, McCarthy said he was "glad" Jones was in Green Bay. Experience playing in the 3-4 and with the terminology of Dom Capers' defense will put Jones ahead of the rookie curve. But a little tidbit before Jones stepped onto the practice field is also notable: the former UCLA defensive end said he is currently 285 pounds and plans to play at anywhere from 285-290. As of now, it appears the Packers won't be forcing Jones to pack on a pounds to play the five technique.

Angelo Pease opens eyes: A Kansas State product who entered the NFL with just 96 collegiate carries, Pease stood out at a position which already had a majority of eyes on it this past weekend. After each of the practices, McCarthy praised what he saw in the 215-pound running back. "He's here for a reason," McCarthy said of Pease Sunday. A standout weekend in May won't win Pease a roster spot, and Lacy and Franklin need not be worried. But even after three days, Pease appears to be well on his way to earning a potential place on the practice squad come September.

Tryouts with a chance: At least three of the 27 tryout players in attendance this past weekend—and possibly two or three more—have been signed to the Packers' 90-man roster, according to Bill Huber. Arizona State's Brandon Smith, a 6'1" receiver-turned-cornerback, Tyrone Walker, a productive receiver from Green Bay's new pipeline school Illinois State, and Washington fullback Jonathan Amosa, who will join John Kuhn and Ryan Roberson at the position, were each signed Sunday. As you'll recall, receiver Jarrett Boykin went from tryout-to-53-man roster in 2012, so it's not completely out of the question to think one of the three could legitimately compete for a roster spot this summer. The Packers have room to sign three more players, and could do so as early as Monday.

Coleman makes subtle strides: As a seventh-round pick from a FCS school, B.J. Coleman had very little chance to dethrone Graham Harrell as the backup quarterback in Green Bay last season. In Year 2, Coleman is expected to put up a better fight to backup Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy made note of Coleman's subtle jump to start 2013, saying he was "pleased" with his young quarterback's weekend of work. Of course, Coleman has been through the offseason program and should be expected to stand out in a group of first-year players. He'll now need to impress McCarthy when it counts—during OTAs, training camp and the preseason—to make the jump over Harrell. Only once Coleman's mental ability matches his physical traits will Harrell's job truly be in trouble. His quest to No. 2 seems to have gotten off to a good start.

Tretter's future at center: The Packers played the Ivy League standout at both right and left tackle during the weekend, but the possibility of sliding inside and playing guard and center is still in the cards. Tretter stands just 6'3" and likely isn't suited to play on the edges. Early on, he could provide quality depth at either guard spot while the Packers develop him as the future at center. According to Mike Spofford, Tretter spent portions of his pre-draft process learning the basics of playing at the anchor. Like so many of his new teammates before him, Tretter will likely be trained to play at a number of positions along the offensive line.

Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

redlights's picture

Sigh! When do OTA's start?

perrin's picture

May 20th are when the OTA's start

perrin's picture

*is

redlights's picture

If the Pack would draft some character risks, at least we'd have something useful to talk about. NOT!

Bulaga to LT, Shields might sign multi-year, ummm.... Anything else?

Ma Linger's picture

I just hope as always the Mac and Don and I call him, will give credit where credit is due. If you have say a promissing fullback, why is Kuhn the guy and someone else who is better the back up. That don't win games for you. Time we examine what Kuhn brings to the table and think about replacing people with more talent and skills that keeping favorites around Mac.

MarkinMadison's picture

No reason for Pease to only shoot for a practice squad spot. The thinking right now is that Starks and Green are battling it out for one spot. It's too early to say Pease deserves a roster spot, but it's also too early to say he can't get one. Either way, it's the fourth running back spot. If the Packers like his potential, and his special teams play, why not?

Stroh's picture

Starks is definitely on the ropes. I think they give Green another year to see how he recovers from his ACL. Last year it was clearly hampering him and wasn't full strength. I think he's a shoo in for a roster spot this year.

Mike's picture

Agree - Green still has MM's confidence. I think TT moving back up to grab Franklin almost certainly dooms Starks...

Lars's picture

Green doesn't have McCarthy's confidence at all. if he did the packers wouldn't have spent 3 draft picks to draft 2 RB's. Green finished last season on the bench and even if he makes the roster he's no threat to the rookies.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I completely agree with both Mark and Stroh. There is no reason why Pease can't aim for a roster spot. Also I believe that Green has a good chance of making the 53 man.
So here is my question. Would they consider cutting Kuhn, and keep 5 RB's? Lacy, Franklin, Harris, Green, Pease? (If Pease turns out to be a player they can't let go)
They have TE's that can block. And can always put a lineman at fullback for short yardage situations. (they have done that before)
Also with the team signing 2 FB's as undrafted free agents, I wonder if they are looking for a possible replacement for Kuhn.

MarkinMadison's picture

I would agree with Stroh but for the fact that some recent moves (e.g. DJ Smith) suggest that the Packers may have limited patience for players with injury issues. My gut is that everything is up in the air at this point. Pease has a lot more to prove. Green has something to prove too. But all of the dramatic moves this off-season* really tells me that there will be limited credit given to veterans on this team.

*(Woodson cut, not reduced; Hawk cut significantly; Bulaga and Sitton flipping sides; Newhouse figthing for a roster spot; Harris put on notice; Dujuan Harris pushed to #3 on the depth chart by the draft; DL overflowing the depth chart, etc.)

redlights's picture

I agree that Starks need to run like a madman, but I really think Kuhn could be dropped. I know he's their best pass protector, but I also think a running game can/will make a huge difference. Kuhn's cap money could be spent elsewhere if TT sees fit.

PackersRS's picture

Jones' weight will only be a problem if he can't get off double teams. If he has enough strenght to do so (he did it in college but it's a very different level of competition), he shouldn't need to add more weight.

cow42's picture

mccarthy's pease comments = undercover motivation aimed at green and starks.

i would love to see them save some $ and a roster spot by cutting kuhn and going with just 4 rb's. hope on of the other fb's can actually run block... kuhn costs too much. he'll never get cut, though - too big of a special teams contributor.

bill from jersey's picture

cow totally agree... if lacy looked like a stud MM would be quiet as a mouse about it...no big heads here. its all motivation at this point in the game

Lars's picture

I wouldn't be so quick to assume Tretter is a C. He's 6'3.5, which is short for a LT and borderline on the right side. He's very athletic, being a former TE. Lewis may have a legitimate shot behind EDS, who will be the C in 2013, whether fans and or bloggers like it or not. The Packers are still thin at T and I would be surprised if Sherrod is PUP'ed and Newhouse cut.

madmanJack's picture

no way will they pup sherrod....he needs to show something this year or he may be gone.

would like to see Kuhn cut as he is overpaid for what he does. ...i hope one of the rooks can provide the hammer for lacy and franklin in the run game. i really hope that starks can stay healthy and makes it...he is good at yards after contact. green goes right down as soon as hes hit and is not real shifty. 4 running backs...lacy,franklin, harris. and starks. pease to PS if he looks decent through OTA,s.

jim's picture

for the same reasons, i hope starks can stay healthy. when healthy, he is a threat to squeeze a few more yards from each play. having him healthy in a limited support role will spare the rookies from overuse and risking injury. dont write off starks too quickly, but, if he cant stay healthy to a certain degree, then his cap numbers can be used on someone else that can contribute.

Fish/Crane's picture

it was just a few years ago that Pack had three fullbacks on the 53. The times they are a changin

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