Early Packers Training Camp Awards Feature Surprises

The 2015 version of the Green Bay Packers has been previewed and some early awards are ready to be dispensed.  And there are a few surprises.

The 2015 version of the Green Bay Packers has been previewed and some early awards are ready to be dispensed.

Most Outstanding Rookie Award:  Hands down this has been third-round selection WR Ty Montgomery.  All he has done is catch virtually everything thrown his way (only one drop to date), juke out defensive backs trying to cover him and show an amazing burst of speed with the ball in his hands.  And oh yes, he appears to be a lock to win the kickoff return job where his early work has wowed coaches and team mates alike.  Sam Shields has favorably compared his physical characteristics to Percy Harvin. 

Most Surprising Rookie Award:  This one comes out of left field, but rookie free agent TE Mitchell Henry has looked like the real deal.  The Packers ponied up a $5,000 signing bonus to secure the services of the former Western Kentucky star.  The 6-3 ½, 252-pound Henry has been adept at blocking, worked well out of the fullback position (a must) and shown pretty good hands in the process.  Henry also has a knack for getting open and has been the subject of positive rhetoric from one Aaron Rodgers.  With Andrew Quarless facing a possible league suspension stemming from his firearms misadventures in Miami, it would be nice to have a dependable backup to Richard Rodgers.  Towering DB LaDarius Gunter, a rookie free agent from Miami, has been showcasing his skills and making a name for himself and is also a candidate for this award.  I had picked Gunter to make the team weeks ago, so to me he is not as much a surprise.  RB Alonzo Harris would rank a solid three.

Second Year Player Making the Big Jump Award:  This is Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s favorite Award – or least most mentioned.  They are last year’s rookies who jump out and show that they ‘get it’ and are ready to become a dependable part in the Packers victory machine for years to come.  This is actually a tough call as there are many deserving candidates.  The afore-mentioned Richard Rodgers has looked impressive.  Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has picked up where he left off last year, which is to say he has been solid.  Devante Adams has looked good if not great, but is not the recipient of this award.  That honor goes to the man-in-the-middle of the Packers offensive line Corey Linsley.  The Packers strong-as-an-ox center has been in a training camp battle-royal with big NT B.J. Raji – winning his fair share of them.  His calls have been sharp and the game appears to have slowed for him. Pro Football Focus rated Linsley the fifth best center in all of football last year, so this is not really a surprise.   A long and successful career awaits this former Ohio State Buckeye.

Most Surprising Veteran Award:  With a healthy stable at the wide receiver position the battle appeared to be between Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis for the 5th or perhaps 6th position.  But with Abbrederis out with a concussion it has been third year man Myles White who has excelled.  Showing great speed, sure hands, a knack for getting open and a propensity to do something with the ball when he gets it, White is definitely in the mix to make the team and contribute on special teams.  First runner up would be BJ Raji who has lost some weight (a svelte 327) and looks strong and quick.  Raji should re-claim the starting nose tackle position and projects as a force once again on the inside.  Second runner up might be ILB Nate Palmer who has earned reps inside when Clay Matthews switches to the outside.  Palmer is currently wearing a cast on his injured hand but continues to make plays alongside fellow ILB Sam Barrington.

Most Disappointing Veteran Award:  You hoped that it wouldn’t carry over into year two, but it has.  Another hands-down award winner is defensive lineman Khyri Thornton.  The second year former Southern Miss product spent all of last season on IR.  There was hope that the light would finally go on for a player who looked unmotivated, undisciplined and mistake-prone last year.  It hasn’t happened.  From jumping off sides (much to the chagrin of his coaches) to losing most of the one-on-one battles, Thornton might be the worst player on the field at any position.  Unless a miracle happens, and happens quickly, Thornton will not make the team and go down as one of Ted Thompson’s worst draft picks ever.

Time is Running Out Award:   There is a saying in the pro football:  ‘You can’t make the club by sitting in the tub’ - referring to injured players who cannot practice.  There are a few candidates here.  Mike Neal has yet to practice by entering camp on the PUP designation, but the Packers know what they have in Neal.  Rookie RB John Crockett was poised to compete for the third running back job but has yet to take the field. With Rajion Neal looking strong it will be difficult for Crockett to impress unless he practices soon.  Our award winner, and he doesn’t want this award, is Jared Abbrederis who is sitting out a second week after suffering a concussion on the first day of training camp.  Abbrederis appears to have already ‘lost’ the battle for primary punt return duties to dependable Micah Hyde and now may have little chance to impress for the final wide receiver job.

They Are Who We Thought They Were Award:  There are five recipients of this award – David Bakhtiari, TJ Lang, Corey Linsley, Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga.  As good as advertised or maybe better.  True Sitton has sat out some (McCarthy:  ‘Being smart with him”) but the group is as talented and solid as it gets.  Enough said.

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Comments (39)

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Chad Toporski's picture

August 07, 2015 at 07:23 am

Good list! I hope you'll do another one at the end of training camp. I'm interested to see if any of these change across the next few weeks.

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croatpackfan's picture

August 07, 2015 at 07:55 am

Well said!

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WKUPackFan's picture

August 07, 2015 at 09:06 am

Chad, great to see you commenting! Are you going to be writing any articles soon? Always loved your work.

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RCPackerFan's picture

August 07, 2015 at 07:48 am

This is great. I love the list. I agree with all of them.

I can't wait to see how these guys play in preseason games.

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Bearmeat's picture

August 07, 2015 at 08:11 am

Much to the chagrin of Vikings and Bear trolls, GB is loaded from top to bottom. There are only a couple of spots on the field where the starter isn't a red chip player or better. (WILB when CM3 moves outside, 5 Tech DT, DE) And the best part is that last year's rookie class is looking like one of TT's best hauls yet!

The one-man band this team is most definitely not. I think this is going to be a special year.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

August 07, 2015 at 12:26 pm

"I think this is going to be a special year."

I have a feeling this is going to be a Super year! See what I did there?

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Since'61's picture

August 07, 2015 at 08:31 am

Jeff - thank you for the great report. I'm happy to hear that Mitchell Henry is making a move at TE. We need a player to step up in that position group. Any update on his blocking skills? Good news about Nate Palmer as well since we know that the ILB position group needs to improve significantly. Most important that the OL is picking up where they left off, they are the key to making the offense go and keeping Rodgers on the field. Not surprised to hear about Thornton, it's probably time for the Packers to move on. I hope that Crockett and Abbrederis get back soon. I would hate to see either of them end up with another team before the Packers get a good look at what they can do. Stay healthy and Go Pack! Thanks, Since '61

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WKUPackFan's picture

August 07, 2015 at 08:34 am

Mitchell Henry from, wait for it....Western Kentucky University! The WKU of WKUPackFan. Could join Jack Doyle of the Colts as WKU tight ends in the NFL.

Keep an eye on Western's QB Brandon Doughty this season. Last year Doughty led the FBS in passing yards (4830) and TDs (49). Go Hilltoppers!

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ray nichkee's picture

August 07, 2015 at 10:34 am

Not a word about datone jones and nick perry. Could no news be good news? You expect decent production out of first rounders but at this point i would hope they could be aj hawk type players and at least stay on the field and dont let your name get called out unless you did something good.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 07, 2015 at 10:40 am

Monty - check. Two drops, one in pads, one in shells; absolutely great burst - makes me believe that 4.38 forty story was right.
Alonzo Harris: Nice looking runner: has whiffed on blocks.
M. Henry - read a couple of good tweets - nice to know;
Linsley - check. Read about his epic battles with Raji, who might have qualified for the comeback player award though that award might have to go to Mulumba. BTW, Lane Taylor is having a nice camp.
White - check. Some of us posted on White in the threads.
Thumbs down: Thornton - check. Want to be careful here but maybe Datone - rest it is hard to say. Ups and downs, and silence about a bunch of guys. Mandell has to learn how to hold for Crosby.
Time is running out: Crockett and Abby have plenty of time still, IMO, but I'd agree with the author that they have to get on the field pretty soon. Installs will be done Saturday or so. I'd have put Rotherham on this list since he is an OG and Lane Taylor is having a good camp, but he just returned. Coxson and Kowalski probably should be on this list.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 07, 2015 at 02:45 pm

Update: Crockett passed his physical and returned to practice today.

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Since'61's picture

August 07, 2015 at 07:00 pm

Reynoldo - thanks for the update on Crockett. That's good news. Since '61

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Bear's picture

August 07, 2015 at 11:13 am

Most disappointing veteran award I feel Hubbard is in close competition with Thornton.

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JerseyAl's picture

August 07, 2015 at 01:35 pm

Hubbard - One year on PS does not make him a veteran and he wasn't drafted, so how much of a disappointment can he be?

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Bear's picture

August 07, 2015 at 02:37 pm

Just going by Jeff's article....Hard to consider Thornton a veteran when he was on IR all year. Either way neither one should make the 53.

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Spud Rapids's picture

August 07, 2015 at 02:46 pm

I disagree... he's an undrafted practice squad player from last year... what type of expectations could we possibly have?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 08, 2015 at 10:27 am

I agree, Spud, but Hubbard has garnered some hype in the threads and is a sleeper pick for a number of folks. I like his size, for example, which is comparable to Peppers, but I've paid attention to Aaron's comment about Hubbard's lack of fluidity compared to Peppers, though I certainly have not written Hubbard off.

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Point-Packer's picture

August 07, 2015 at 01:07 pm

I am sick of reading about how Mike Neal is injured. Seriously.

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Mojo's picture

August 07, 2015 at 03:57 pm

Ok, concentrate on Nick Perry's injuries instead.

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Point-Packer's picture

August 07, 2015 at 05:04 pm

Thanks, good suggestion.

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Tundraboy's picture

August 10, 2015 at 04:24 am

Lol!!!!!!

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4thand1's picture

August 07, 2015 at 02:51 pm

I said long ago Monty would be the steal of the draft. In my professional opinion. Looks like (so far) ILBer and CB will be upgraded. I try not to get to excited about TC and pre-season, but dammit CHTV yer gettin me excited for some football.

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The TKstinator's picture

August 07, 2015 at 04:54 pm

"Professional opinion"?

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4thand1's picture

August 07, 2015 at 06:09 pm

lol, just trying my hand at being a cyber bragging dick, like some others do. It won't happen again...............maybe.

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The TKstinator's picture

August 07, 2015 at 11:28 pm

LOL

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NickPerry's picture

August 08, 2015 at 06:20 am

Personally I found it hilarious. I think everybody knew where that came from after a long week of bickering.

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The TKstinator's picture

August 08, 2015 at 06:26 am

Agreed.

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dullgeek's picture

August 07, 2015 at 02:53 pm

This article so makes me jones for football to start!! Week 2 circled. So want to see a complete whoopin'

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The TKstinator's picture

August 07, 2015 at 05:00 pm

As long as it's not a "brad" jones

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phillythedane's picture

August 07, 2015 at 08:40 pm

Uffda...

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NewNikeShoes's picture

August 08, 2015 at 01:25 am

we don't speak its name, lest legions of packers and packers fan be shamed

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dobber's picture

August 07, 2015 at 03:25 pm

Disappointment? Carl Bradford?

Has anyone heard his name at all during camp?

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Mojo's picture

August 07, 2015 at 03:55 pm

Or Backman, or Ringo or Ryan or Pennel or ....

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NewNikeShoes's picture

August 07, 2015 at 04:01 pm

Pennel's injured.
Dunno about the rest.

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The TKstinator's picture

August 07, 2015 at 11:31 pm

I am HOPING that Bradford's HBL style shows up better in games than in practice/drills. But like many have already stated, I'm just really hoping (and expecting) for SOMEBODY to step up and I don't really care who it is.

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4thand1's picture

August 08, 2015 at 07:51 am

We'll know pretty much everything after the 3rd preseason game. Hopefully another Bishop will show up. I think Mulumba will be the one.

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Mojo's picture

August 07, 2015 at 03:52 pm

Ty Montgomery = Percy Harvin like talent without the headaches.

Get it, Percy used to have migranes all the time, and he was a headache to the coaching staff.

Tee hee hee.

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4thand1's picture

August 08, 2015 at 08:10 am

We should be thankful for the Packers front office and coaching staff. Look at the mess in SF, they went from SB contenders to bottom feeders in a year.

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the_clinic's picture

August 10, 2015 at 08:32 am

First depth chart released as part of the "dope sheet" leading up to the 1st preseason game vs Pats.
http://prod.static.packers.clubs.nfl.com//assets/docs/dopesheet/2015/150...
Don't look at page 30 if you have Gunter making your roster.

Points of interest:
Check out LOLB vs ROLB list
#2 at BLB

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