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Green and Bold: Keeping Training Camp in Perspective

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Green and Bold: Keeping Training Camp in Perspective

Football has been but a distant memory for the past six months, so it's only natural that when training camps roll around, people get extremely excited about any positive developments from players new and old.

That enthusiasm, however, can color the way we view what we see in training camp practices, which, it's crucial to remember, are only one piece of a very large puzzle. 

Past storylines that have emerged from Green Bay Packers training camp and the preseason haven't always bore fruit in the regular season.

For instance, in 2014, outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott had himself a fantastic first training camp that continued into the preseason, when he led the NFL in sacks, with five. It was an unexpected surprise coming from the undrafted free agent out of Toledo, and it helped him earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

But in the regular season, Elliott had 13 total tackles with no sacks, no passes defensed, no interceptions, and no forced fumbles. In fact, in his three seasons with the Packers, Elliott has posted just four sacks. 

Now, of course, preseason sacks are easier to come by when they're against players who may not even make the roster. Elliott did have a sack against Kansas City Chiefs starting right tackle Donald Stephenson that first preseason.

But it's no secret that sacks are harder to rack up in the regular season against the NFL's best.

The Packers have an opening for someone to step up and contribute at outside linebacker, and Elliott, who was re-signed to a one-year deal this offseason, could still deliver on that early hype.

But that's what it turned out to be; hype. 

Hype is a word that also comes to mind when people think about wide receiver Jeff Janis' first training camp. A seventh-round draft pick, Janis turned heads with two touchdown receptions in his first preseason, including a 34-yard grab against St. Louis. 

We were all excited...myself included:

Janis only saw time in three games his rookie season, managing just two receptions for 16 yards. Perhaps that's why the legend of Janis continued to grow; the Packers held him back and we all extrapolated what his true ability might be if they'd only unleash him. 

Now he's staring down the prospect of not surviving final cuts with a middling training camp performance. 

This season, the hype train is leaving the station for rookie safety Josh Jones, who has been impressing both with and without pads on. Wherever the ball has gone over the last week, Jones has not been far behind. 

Jones has also been bringing his physical play style to both the linebacker and safety positions, giving fans confidence that this year's iteration of the Packers defense will be tougher, faster, better.

Much of the buzz surrounding by Jones has been built by fans and the Packers media, but some of it is coming from teammates, too. Defensive leader Mike Daniels, for instance, is driving the hype:

Training camp is fun. Optimism for the coming season is essential. 

But it's also important to remember that practices between teammates are not always the best indicator of play on the field come the regular season. Hopefully Jones does go out there and kill it this season; heaven knows the Packers need him to. 

However, Jones is a rookie, and it's important to gauge expectations for his first year in the league as such. Training camp is a welcomed return to padded practices, but it's not the be-all, end-all of a player's narrative. 

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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.

Nick Perry's picture

I remember that game against the Rams. The player Elliott gathered all those sacks was probably cut the next day and hasn't been back since, I mean that LT was REALLY bad. Remember Vic So'oto? He was another player who looked like the next great find, at least for a real hot minute.

Michelle is right, we have to put all this in perspective. What a player does in practice can mean very little, what he did in shorts even less. Sure it starts to give the coaches an idea but at the end of the day in practice. Obviously it means a little more in the exhibition season but it's still not against Grade A talent in many cases and it's normally done against a very vanilla scheme. I get caught up in the hype because I'm STARVED for ANY semblance of a better defense in GB. That's why I'm called a "Fan".

RCPackerFan's picture

The difference with Elliott compared to some other players that flashed a lot is that he has shown the pass rush ability against starters. Elliott really hasn't had a ton of opportunities however because he has been stuck behind Mathews, Peppers, Perry, Jones. All high round picks and high dollar players. When he has played against the starters he has performed well.

I have been a fan of Elliott since his rookie year. I think this will be the year we see what he flashed to us his rookie year.

I agree that you have to temper expectations and also keep in mind the players that these guys are going against might not be in the league in a couple of months. That being said, if the player is going to be good, they need to dominate those players. And those are the players of your future. It doesn't mean they will step out on the field tomorrow and be great. But they can be developed into key players.

This is where it starts for a lot of players.

RCPackerFan's picture

For me training camp and preseason is for the future as much if not more then its for the present. We get our first look at a lot of players for our future.

While some players might play right away some might not play much for the first however many games. Some might be factors late in the year an some might not really contribute until their 2nd or 3rd year. But this is where jobs are won and lost.

I agree that you don't want to get overly excited about players, but at the same time, its hard not to get excited about players when you constantly hear great things about.
For example Josh Jones has done something really good every day. What makes it more exciting is that we were hearing really good things about him throughout OTA's. And what he has been doing in camp thus far is exactly what he showed he could do in college.

We can't expect Jones to be a pro bowl player. But if he can come in and become a really good player that really makes our defense that much better. Also it gives Capers more flexibility in the way he can run his defense.

I'm excited for what Jones can bring to our defense.

Spock's picture

RC, Agree completely. I have a feeling the Jones 'hype' is going to pan out. By the way, Mike Spofford, Packers.com writer answered a reader's question today with this:
"Practice participation equals ineligibility for PUP, period. A player on PUP who is not activated during the preseason stays on PUP at roster cut down time, which shelves him for a minimum of six weeks and then allows a multi-week window for him to start practicing, all without counting against the 53-man roster or being placed on injured reserve. So yes, the PUP rules are such that players who have practiced can’t be shielded from exposure to waivers or IR, though teams can now bring up to two players back from IR during the regular season."

If this is true there must have been a change to the IR rules! I feel better about my memory now, LOL.

RCPackerFan's picture

I really like what i have seen and heard from Jones. I agree that we have to temper expectations a bit until we see him in games, but the signs are looking great.

Thats really interesting. I never saw anything about that. Thanks for sharing it.

So I went and searched the IR rules.
This is what I found on wikipedia!

"Starting in 2012, the NFL and the NFLPA reached an agreement allowing one player placed on injured reserve to be brought back to the active roster. Provided that the player was on the final 53-man preseason roster (A rule exempted for the 2012 season), and that the injury is deemed to keep this player unable to practice or play football for an estimated six weeks, the player may be allowed to practice after Week 6, and be activated to play after Week 8. As of 2017, teams may now return two players from injured reserve after Week 8."

Thank you for finding that and sharing it!

On a side note. I tried copying the webpage and pasting it here, however it wouldn't allow me to submit it as a comment.

Handsback's picture

Seeing an UDFA or late round player flash brings Fans hope. The hype surrounds their potential. Either way.....we want to hear about it and make our own judgements that are of course clouded by desire for the Packers to win the SB every year.
So far...I like what I have heard about most of the Packer's rookies and 2nd year guys.

Since '61's picture

Hype is the correct word for what we hear about players at this time of the season. It is good to hear that Jones is doing well. But I'm wondering about the players that we hear nothing about. How are Clark and Lowry doing? They are expected to make their leaps and bounds this season. Have we seen any evidence of it yet in the preseason? What about our ILBs, Martinez, Ryan and Thomas? Is any leaping going on with them? How about Lane Taylor, Murphy, Lucas Patrick on the OL? Is there any leaping there? Has anyone seen Allison? Is Nick Perry still healthy? Without any hype should we assume that no news is good news or should we assume that no news is no news and therefore no leaping or hype to go with it? I realize that we're still early in camp but we seem to be building expectations (hype) primarily around one player, maybe 2 with Monty. Has no one else earned any hype yet? Do we have a Long Snapper yet? Thanks, Since '61

Spock's picture

'61, Well, as far as Lane Taylor goes, there's been a lot of talk on how he's hard to beat in the one-on-one drills and the ones between him and Mike Daniels are becoming a fan favorite to watch.

Also, just watched "3 things" on Packers.com and they were talking about how great a camp Dean Lowrey is having and my 'sleeper' Joe Kerridge.

Since '61's picture

Spock - thanks for the update. Good to hear that Lowry and Kerridge are doing well. I would like to see Kerridge make it as well. Hopefully at least the PS for him. I thought the 1 on 1 battles were between Bakh and Daniels. But if Taylor is doing well that's good to know and fine with me. Regrettably, I don't have time to get to some of the other Packer sites like I did in the past. Fortunately retirement is on the near horizon. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

Since, I am not sure that Joe Kerridge has PS eligibility. He was almost whole season on active roster. I know that rules were changed, but not sure how...

Savage57's picture

Thanks, Michelle.

All the "I really like so and so, he'll be a big plus to the roster/team/position group" comments get to the point you want to barf or punch someone.

A guy makes a couple of 4th quarter plays against another ringmeat camp body and the chirping starts.

Thanks again for the perspective.

RCPackerFan's picture

"All the "I really like so and so, he'll be a big plus to the roster/team/position group" comments get to the point you want to barf or punch someone."

So in other words you don't want to see any excitement over players?

Mojo's picture

No, he just likes to barf and punch. That's why he's the Savage.

The TKstinator's picture

LOL

Savage57's picture

You two should get a room, and between mouthfuls, talk about who's going to be this year's breakout player.

croatpackfan's picture

Well, while I agree completely with the claim that TC wonder may be regular game bust, I'd rather have a lot of TC wonders than TC busts.

From many TC wonders team can get some regular season contributors. From lot of TC busts, team has nothing...

The TKstinator's picture

Once again, good news>bad news.

Mojo's picture

Much of the hype stems from headlines such as these:

"Packers 2017: Most Dangerous Offense in the Rodgers’ Era?"

or

"Nelson: Young Packers Receivers Doing An "Incredible Job""

or quotes from various reporters:

"Malachi Dupre with another great fingertip catch on the fly. 7th round rookie continues to show well #Packers"

"Geoff Gray is quietly having another good day. Kid has been impressive."

"D. Adams is flat nasty off the LOS. House did well to stay on his hip, but Adams made a better catch. Fun battle to watch. #packers"

"One thing that stands out 1-on-1 is how good #Packers LT David Bakhtiari is pushing speed rush wide. Quickness, athleticism makes look easy."

"Callahan rolls right in Pass Under Pressure and throws a dart to Colby Pearson on the run. Callahan having a solid camp."

"Joe Kerridge makes a pretty one-handed grab on a pass deep down the sideline from Brett Hundley during a RB vs LB passing drill #Packers"

The quotes were compiled and the headlines were created from just one site - CHTV. And only from the last few days. This is just one site, there are several others with similar glowing reports.

It's no wonder we fans are filled with irrational exuberance.

The TKstinator's picture

Irrational exuberance>irrational flatulence

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