Seven Packers Who Will Be Hurt the Most if Training Camp is Cut Short

Here is a look at the Packers players who will be hurt the most if training camp is delayed, cut short or otherwise limited by the ongoing pandemic. While all players will be affected if the schedule is altered or condensed, these players have additional reasons for wanting a full and normal training camp this summer:

The NFL released its schedule a week ago and hopes to start the season on time in September. To do that, the league will have to open training camps in late July, however, and that remains an uncertainty because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

It remains possible that training camps will be starting late, or that some of the camp will be conducted virtually and without actual contact between players. While we hope this will not be the case, it does remain a distinct possibility.

Here is a look at the Packers players who will be hurt the most if training camp is delayed, cut short or otherwise limited by the ongoing pandemic. While all players will be affected if the schedule is altered or condensed, these players have additional reasons for wanting a full and normal training camp this summer:

1. QB Jordan Love

All rookies can easily be added to this list, but Love is the only draft pick on it for several reasons. First, training camp and the preseason figure to be the time he gets the most reps in practice and in games. Aaron Rodgers will get most of the work once the season starts.

Quarterback is one of the positions that requires the most knowledge of the playbook. If Love is denied these reps, his development will be delayed and much of the work he would receive as a rookie will not take place.

If training camp is compromised, Love would also lose the chance to watch how Rodgers handles training camp and learn from watching the veteran’s example.

The Packers are also more likely to carry three quarterbacks on the active roster if Love is unable to get a full training camp in.

2. WR Equanimeous St. Brown

EQ is coming off an injury that cost him all the 2019 season. Certainly, he will need to get back into football shape and to regain his timing with Rodgers and the team’s other quarterbacks. He also is less familiar with Matt LaFleur’s offense since he didn’t play last season.

This is a pivotal year for St. Brown and reducing the time he has in training camp could make it tougher for him to return from his injury.

3. WR Reggie Begelton

Begelton is trying to make the transition from the CFL to the NFL. That means a shorter field, 11 players on each team instead of 12 and that he cannot go in motion before the ball is snapped.

All these rule changes plus the higher caliber play in the NFL means that Begelton will need reps in training camp to adjust to the changes and to make a strong impression on the Green Bay coaching staff. He also needs time to get his timing down and gain the confidence of Rodgers.

4. Curtis Bolton

Bolton made a good first impression in training camp last year before an injury ended his season before the season got under way. He has still not taken a snap in an NFL regular season game.

Bolton will compete for a job at inside linebacker alongside Christian Kirksey. But he will need more time to get back into football shape and to show he can earn playing time in competition with several other players including Oren Burks and draft pick Kamal Martin.

5. TE James Looney

Looney is making the transition from playing the defensive line to tight end. He spent last season on the practice squad and is looking to make an impression on the coaching staff during training camp. Looney will need all the reps he can get at the suddenly crowded tight end position.

The fact that the Packers are expected to use more multiple tight end formations will work in Looney’s favor. However, the crowded depth chart will work against him and he will need reps in training camp to show the coaches he can play well enough at his new position to contribute to the team.

6. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Coach LaFleur has already mentioned MVS during the offseason and how the Packers are looking for him to make a jump in his third season in the league. Injuries slowed him down after a respectable start to the season so he was almost a non-factor by the time the playoffs started.

Valdes-Scantling has outstanding deep speed but needs to work on running precision pass routes and to gain the confidence of his quarterback. That will require reps during camp and in the preseason. If camps are reduced or compromised, that will clearly hamper MVS in his quest to take his game to the next level.

7. OT Rick Wagner

 Wagner and Kirksey were the two most prominent free agent signings by the Packers in March and both will need reps to acclimate to their new teams and the systems their new position coaches are implementing.

More than any other group, offensive linemen need to work in concert with the other members of their unit. Wagner will need time and reps to get to know his fellow offensive linemen, especially right guard Billy Turner who he is most likely to play alongside.

Linemen need to know when to switch players to pick up stunts and how to read off each other in both pass protection and run blocking.

If training camp is cut short, Wagner will have a tougher time getting used to the Packers offense and his new teammates as well.

 

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (56)

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canadapacker's picture

May 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm

It is about time that the players union gets together with the individual teams and allow teams to move to safer sites so that every team has an equal opportunity to continue with their pre-season preparations in a safe and productive manner. For example teams such as the Jets, Giants, Lions etc have major COVID outbreaks in their cities. Perhaps they can move to safer areas of the country such as some cities in other states with less of a problem. Perhaps they could agree with some colleges and universities in these low number locations to utilize their facilities as maybe college football might be delayed as the colleges themselves might not be operating classes. Just a thought - Player safety must be paramount and part of that is not only the disease itself but also ensuring that the players are up to speed and in proper playing conditioning as that does not only occur with personal workouts.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for the comment canadapacker. I'm sure the league and the NFLPA will get together and chart a plan for opening training camps once it's safe to do so and there are adequate tests available to maintain safety. This is a difficult time but the league will do all it can to hold their season on time and keep their players and employees safe. I hope there's football in the summer and fall on time.

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flackcatcher's picture

May 14, 2020 at 01:57 pm

Timing is becoming a real issue here. There is a window that is being pushed downward every day. This is a real problem for both NFL and MLB. While the NBA owners would like to restart their season, the direct experience of a super spreader has put a pall on restarting the rest of season. We know how this plays out. Young men in a contained space, with no vaccine. Enough said. The number of hoops the leagues need to jump through, even with the lead time the NFL currently enjoys, maybe too much at the moment. (Nuts...)

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 02:03 pm

Time is an issue and there is so much we don't know long-term about this virus. I hope we can safely restart sports ASAP but the worst case scenario is restarting too soon and players or officials get sick and we have to shut it all down again. Fingers crossed and we shall see how this plays out. Thanks for the comment, flackcatcher.

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justjan's picture

May 14, 2020 at 03:46 pm

Gil, I don't know who down voted you but whoever they are, they are a moron.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:36 pm

Thanks for your support, justjan. I appreciate it.

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packerbackerjim's picture

May 14, 2020 at 04:12 pm

I don’t know about major outbreaks, but as an out of state observer, I thought GB had its own hotspot at a meat packing facility. In a city the size of GB, there aren’t too many degrees of separation.

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dobber's picture

May 14, 2020 at 04:54 pm

In the end, the entourage of an NFL team and the supplies needed to keep them functional make it nearly impossible to protect them for any length of time. 90 players in camp, coaches, equipment managers, film guys, trainers. That's just on the field on any given day. Now add what it takes to feed and house these guys: if you move to a new location EVERYONE Is now living in a dorm or hotel rather than having many vets living at home with their families. How do you get them fed without introducing a large number of food service people, buffets, etc. You can never keep the media and fans completely away and it will be hard to keep all the entire entourage sequestered. It's a hot mess.

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canadapacker's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:22 pm

I think that there are enough tests by late June to have minicamps. There will be definitely be enough tests by the time of the tryout camp and preseason (to conduct testing of all of the participants) . There are protocols that could be put into place during the feeding and housing of these players with some planning. But in order to plan they need to pick a low COVID part of the country. Even if that requires moving in trailers - but my previous suggestion of utilizing a university/college site with their dorms and cafeterias would work - with modifications - ie single rooms and maintaining self distancing and extra cleaning. Scheduling the showering etc. But by selecting an appropriate low COVID site - and ensuring that nobody is positive by both early testing and perhaps ensuring that all staff and players self isolate 14 days prior to camp should ensure that the risk is minimized.

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CoachDino's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:37 pm

Debate Suggestion - Do what teams have done for years. Go to a camp that is secluded from the public and lay down rules of outside interaction. What was the Bear Bryant movie where he wore out those kids at his camp? It was before he coached at Alabama.

Take a look at the Military for examples, How have they handled it? Ways to mitigate the risk. Has it worked? Are the methods duplicatable outside the Military?
I'm not here to debate the risks of the CoronaVirus but I do believe the group of Athletes and coaches are a pretty safe group when it comes to the Virus. Test In Test Out. I see the game crowds being the issue of most concern. There is no solution there that comes to mind. Is it just a moment in time when we accept the risk? There is a risk that is here to stay, it's not going away. Sucks. I hope we can all stay safe and get back to normal.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:49 pm

It's a tough situation to figure out. Hopefully there will be enough tests by the summer that they can do enough testing to keep the players safe. they would likely have to stay isolated and travel complicates that. There are certainly issues to be worked out but hopefully things will be as close to normal as possible for the season. Thanks for the comment, CoachDino.

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Bearmeat's picture

May 14, 2020 at 01:33 pm

I'd say the one that will matter the most would be Degaura. MVS and EQ should be able to handle the NFL mental reps by now, and if they can't, they're not going to be in the NFL past this year (and our offense will suck). Every other draft pick is a pick for 2021 or later.

Man. We really really really need a veteran WR who can open up the field.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 01:39 pm

MVS would be the best candidate to stretch the field. I hope Funchess is a veteran presence who can help the team this season. Thanks for the comment.

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fordguy's picture

May 14, 2020 at 02:00 pm

Even without adding another veteran WR, Funchess is going to need reps and time to understand the offence.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 02:05 pm

Absolutely. All newcomers to the team and the system will need time and without OTAs this spring, it will be tougher for them. Thanks for the comment.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 14, 2020 at 02:26 pm

No, we don’t. We have a great pitch and catch with Adams and we’re going to work that for about 10 targets/ game. We’re going to throw about 7 or 8 passes to the RBs, and the same to the TEs. So that’s going to leave about 8 targets to all our other WRs.......Funchess, Lazard, MSV, ESB. On most plays, they are blocking or running decoy routes.

Open up the field for what? More passing?

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MilwPackFan's picture

May 14, 2020 at 04:47 pm

Leatherhead, I don't know why you can clearly understand this (why our success is not predicated on getting a new superstar receiver) and explain it as simply as you have above in a few sentences, when Bearmeat and others here just can't grasp it. It's really pretty simple. Thank you for breaking it down.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 14, 2020 at 05:01 pm

That’s going to be an unpopular view in PackerNation, but thanks.

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Bearmeat's picture

May 14, 2020 at 08:58 pm

It's not that I "can't" grasp it. It's that I don't agree. Top 10 offenses have at least three threats and a strong QB. We have Davante and Jones and a bunch of ?'s. Further, neither Davante, nor Jones, is going to make a safety bail deep with any regularity. Not having 8 mean near the LOS on a regular basis would be really helpful, no?

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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2020 at 12:02 am

Three top ten offenses failed to make the playoffs.

Lazard, MVS, and Allison combined for 95 receptions and 8 TDs from the #2 position. And if teams want to defend the run with 8 and take their chances with Rodgers...that's fine with me.

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Bearmeat's picture

May 15, 2020 at 09:38 pm

Yeah. That's what people said last year. And you know what? It worked. When this team had to rely on the WRs and ARod, more often than not, the offense sputtered.

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MilwPackFan's picture

May 15, 2020 at 01:19 pm

I just re-read my post I fired off the other day - boy did that sound condescending. I apologize. "Grasp" and 'difference of opinion' are two different things. I simply disagree with you.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 15, 2020 at 02:45 pm

The exultation of scheme over talent requires a lot of projection. Gute really has never had the personnel to run the offense he apparently prefers. There isn't any truly persuasive evidence that LaFleur can run the offense like a Shanahan has been able to. Titans:

2019: 25.1 points/game
2018: 19.4 points/game LaFleur as OC
2017: 20.9 points/game
2016: 23.8 points/game

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flackcatcher's picture

May 15, 2020 at 06:35 pm

That's all very true. But this scheme is very similar to McCarthy's old west coast that Rodgers ran from 2008-2013. And in McCarthy's final year he had returned to the scheme (or as McCarthy put it 'principles') before injuries to his RB and TE force him to go more spread. (sound familiar?) And Gute was the Packers pro player guy, under Ted for all those years. So hiring a OC or HC running a same type or close too system would make sense. I do have an issue with Gute, if he is restricting Lafleur in hiring his guys. LaFleur is either the head coach or he is not. Al Davis pulled this crap trying to direct starter and core player decisions from the front office. It always ended badly for the Raiders. You got to trust the guy you hired to do the job. (might be overthinking here) We'll see...

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Bearmeat's picture

May 16, 2020 at 05:58 am

thanks. No big deal.

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Nate-1980's picture

May 17, 2020 at 05:34 pm

Agree bearmeat, I usually agree with most your posts, you don’t sugarcoat .. I hope that Devin can do that or one of the 2nd-3rd year guys we’ve been waiting for the last couple of years.. But the odds aren’t good, and we could have a very bad offense if they all don’t step up.. I’m quite surprised that they didn’t bring in more udfa receivers in hope that one could be a gem.. If we get down in games by multiple tds, how are going to be able to comeback to win if we’re a run first short yardage team ?

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Coldworld's picture

May 14, 2020 at 01:55 pm

If camp is cut short, they should expand the roster and practice squad for a month or two and allow additional practices for anyone not seeing the field on game day.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 02:01 pm

That is a definite possibility of expanded rosters or expanded practice squads if there are issues relating to Covid-19. It will be interesting to see what the owners and players can work out with regard to this. Thanks for the comment.

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gkarl's picture

May 14, 2020 at 02:29 pm

Of the players on your list I'm most worried about the WR's. ESB was injured all year no reps. Begelton is new and MVS was limited last year. A couple of these guys really need to step up for us and they all need more experience in MLF's system.

Wagner will get the reps and he's a vet, not to worried about him. I don't expect the other to see much playing time next year anyway, so its not quite as big a worry.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:37 pm

Yeah, the WRs will need time. Rodgers needs to get comfortable with them. I hope they can find a way to get reps in. We shall see. As with everything right now, it's all one day at a time. Thanks for the comment, gkarl.

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nostradanus's picture

May 14, 2020 at 03:44 pm

Every team is in the same boat, which means teams with bigger draft classes will be at a huge disadvantage if they expect some of these rookies to start (aka the Vikings 13)

Bottom line here, veteran teams with mainly established starters and a few veteran fill ins (aka the Packers 3-4)
will have the early season advantage.

Unfortunately for UDFA and late round draft choices they may be on the outside looking in or stashed on the practice squad. Many of the new guys on the 53 are just going to have the learn on the fly, that is just the hand that’s been dealt.

It’s going to be a strange season full of uncertainties, no fans to start with? Possibly later starting time than September? Social distancing in locker rooms?
Get ready for a weird season Packers faithful.

I’ll be happy if there is a full NFL season and people around the world stop dying of this terrible virus!

Stay safe Packers brethren!

Go Pack!

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:39 pm

I agree, it's going to be a strange season and we don't know how exactly the pandemic will change things for the NFL, the players, the fans etc. I hope the differences are minimal, but I'm not holding my breath. Stay safe and thanks for commenting.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 14, 2020 at 04:49 pm

I’d focus on basics like blocking and executing for our opener.

It looks like Minnesota is going to put a defense on the field that is significantly smaller than our offense...and inexperienced at corner. I’m 100% in favor of running right over these guys and then using Rodgers to Adams. We put 5 OL on the field all ver 300. Then we put a Lewis at 267, and Sternberger at 250 and we’re a lot bigger than the Viking Front seven defenders that will be on the field.

The Vikings only list two defensive players over 300 lbs. Barr is 255, Hunter 250,. Kendricks is around 235. We can hand the ball off to our new guy and let him introduce himself.

More Tiny Viking stories. Their first round CB, Gladney, is over 40 lbs lighter, and over a half foot shorter than Lazard. Or maybe he’ll open his NFL career by failing to cover Adams. Either way, I can’t believe how small these guys are.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:42 pm

I am so looking forward to the season opener. If the Vikings are a small team, I can imagine the Packers running right over them. How would they stop Dillon? Should be interesting. Thanks for commenting, Leatherhead.

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CheesyTex's picture

May 16, 2020 at 12:15 pm

I asked the same question of Colin Cole years ago. You might recall he was an undersized defensive tackle who played at a time when the 'queens O line had a huge size advantage. He gave a simple response: "Leverage and heart".

That said, I'll take size advantage any day as long as you don't sacrifice speed and athleticism.

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dobber's picture

May 14, 2020 at 04:42 pm

Um...Christian Kirksey? It's very possible that he's going to be the defensive QB with a whole bunch of unfamiliar players. Yes, he's played in Pettine's scheme before (several years ago) but was he responsible for getting the defense lined up and making adjustments? I wouldn't be surprised if that role shifts to either Amos or Savage.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 14, 2020 at 04:51 pm

I’m wondering about Amos, too, and as our hybrid guy in the nickel.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:45 pm

Good point, Dobber. We shall see if Kirksey takes over the play calling for Martinez or another player gets it. If training camp is cut short or virtual, I would think Amos would get the call but we'll see. Thanks for commenting.

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Lphill's picture

May 14, 2020 at 05:46 pm

In such a intricate offense do the Packers really need a converted D lineman to learn a new position and the offense?

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Coldworld's picture

May 14, 2020 at 05:57 pm

That’s your big issue? Practice squad holdover attempting a conversion?

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:48 pm

Probably don't need him to, but the coaching staff saw some potential and the player was willing. He's a long shot to make the roster, but we'll see how the position change goes. Thanks for the comment.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2020 at 09:45 am

It’s not intricate. It has the illusion of complexity. And Looney, if he’s in the lineup, is there to block. That’s it.

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CheesyTex's picture

May 16, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Deleted.

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CheesyTex's picture

May 16, 2020 at 12:24 pm

If he can block like hell as an H-back and TE, and catch an occasional flare, he could turn out to be the best choice for that role -- he does have the advantage of experience on his side. Not likely, but he's good enough to earn a spot on an NFL roster...

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BAMABADGER's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:17 pm

The offensive line is hurt the most. They need time/practice to learn how to execute run block techniques like the 49ers. This current o-line is not built on that platform.

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:52 pm

That's why I included Wagner on the list. I agree, they need the most timing and reps. We shall see if they can get them and how it effects the game. Thanks for the comment, Bamabadger.

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BAMABADGER's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:17 pm

The offensive line is hurt the most. They need time/practice to learn how to execute run block techniques like the 49ers. This current o-line is not built on that platform.

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BrandonMcClinchey's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:44 pm

The way I look at it is the WR game is going to hurt the most. Like someone else said MVS and Adams will be just fine but Funches and any WR that are used to taking reps and meshing with the offense aren't going to have a chance to get into a rythem. Especially because we badly need someone else to step up at that position. Some of these teams that are returning guys or have their core set will be much further ahead.

Brandon of Birmingham Gutter Guys
"All your <a href= "http://www.birminghamgutterguys.com/">Gutter Cleaning</a> Needs"

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GilMartin's picture

May 14, 2020 at 07:55 pm

Newcomers will be hurt by the lack of reps if it comes to that and receivers need to get their timing down with Rodgers and to gain his confidence. This will be a strange camp if there are adjustments that have to be made. thanks for the comment, BrandonMcClinchey.

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Stroh's picture

May 14, 2020 at 10:41 pm

I don't think Love will be severely affected. It won't help him obviously, but the way I see it he's learning until year 3 at least. He can pick up the playbook and work the video to get a good idea of reads. He would still have 2 offseasons before he might be counted on. Boyle should still be the primary backup this season.

St Brown, Begelton and Bolton will be hurt no questopm about it. Looney is still on the PS this season so I don't think it'll hurt him too much.

MVS basically played his way off the roster last year. He's more or less on the verge of being on the street and I don't see any redeeming value in him. Either way IMO, he won't be in GB in September.

Wagner doesn't need a ton of reps. With the amount of playing experience he has, a limited preseason and training camp will possibly help him if nothing else.

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AndrewSnow's picture

May 15, 2020 at 05:29 am

Are these Hemplucid CBD reviews useful? I hope that we can trust reviewers. Otherwise, we just can try to know more about all the properties.

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Leland's picture

May 15, 2020 at 08:56 am

The guys that will be hurt most are:
1. The hamstring pulls
2. The slow learners
3. Guys Rodgers doen't feel comfortable with
4. Guys that get into trouble in town
5. Cap casualties
6. Those who cannot adjust to NFL speed of the game
7. Those who cannot handle NFL strength

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nostradanus's picture

May 15, 2020 at 10:42 am

Totally agree with #1!
Soft tissue injuries will run rampant in the NFL this year.
It happens it seems more often now with these shortened & softer trading camps anyway.
It also happens quite a bit when players return from long layoffs due to holdouts etc...

I’ll say it again, be prepared for a strange NFL season.

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GilMartin's picture

May 15, 2020 at 12:28 pm

There will be some more hamstring pulls and other muscle injuries because of the inability to have "normal" offseason drills and a possible delay or modification of training camp. We shall see. Thanks for the comment, Leland.

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ZackENG's picture

May 18, 2020 at 06:35 am

But he is really talented guy!

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 18, 2020 at 08:27 pm

And just a football player!

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