Hey folks, Ryan Wood here. Welcome to our first live chat of OTAs. Let's get to your questions.
Yeah, he seemed especially engaging (and excited) after being drafted last month. It'll be interesting to see what he can do when the pads come on, but he showed his raw speed during Tuesday's open session. I think he could end up being a good one, but it's very early.
There are going to be plenty of interesting position battles this offseason, likely going through most of camp. Running back is one. Receiver, corner and depth along the O line will all be interesting to track. As for Ty Montgomery, he's the starting running back. I wouldn't say he has the position locked up entirely because it's May, but it would be a pretty big upset if he wasn't the starting running back come September. One thing he said Tuesday that was especially interesting was that he can lift like a running back in the weight room now. In the past, he's had to scale back in the weight room to keep his weight down at an acceptable level for the WR position. He's lifting more weight, and he's going to be much stronger this fall. Should help him handle a bigger workload.
I think Geoff Gray is among the group of young, raw O lineman the Packers are giving a hard look this offseason. You could add 6th rounder Kofi Amichia, Lucas Patrick and Adam Pankey to the list. Since Ted Thompson was hired as GM, an undrafted rookie has made the 53 every year. OL seems like one of the better possibilities for that to happen this season. A lot of young, developmental players the Packers are hoping to turn into depth.
I think it's unfair to say Jeff Janis hasn't developed, at least in terms of a player who gives value to a 53-man roster. At this point in his career, Janis probably is what he's going to be. No, he isn't a top receiver, but he's one of the Packers best special teamers, and that's important for a fringe WR on the 53. With that said, Janis is someone who brings clear value to the roster. It's too early to write him off, even at a ridiculously crowded WR position.
Levy has an extensive injury history. My guess is that has something to do with it.
The Packers hardly suffered from Josh Sitton's release. Lane Taylor proved more than capable, and there's an expectation he'll be even better this season. As for Hayward, it would be the definition of "hindsight is 20-20" to wonder why the Packers let him go. No one was demanding they keep him a year ago. The secondary wasn't bad last season because Hayward was in San Diego. It was bad because they lost Sam Shields in their opener. Hawyard, better in the slot, wouldn't have made up for that.
I don't know where you're getting the "knucklehead" from . As for injury prone, his surgery for Jones fracture is something to be concerned about. It's the second time he's had a Jones fracture, also missing two games at Wisconsin with it, and that injury has a high chance of reoccurrence. It's also a more difficult injury to fully heal. The expectation is Vince Biegel will be back for the start of training camp, or close to it. And if the Jones fracture doesn't return, it won't be a problem. But it's definitely worrisome.
They certainly hope Perry and Matthew can play all 16 games. They're paid like players expected to be available all 16 games. With that said, it's probably too much to ask if you look at their history. I think they're more comfortable with the depth at OLB than fans and media. They expect Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott to be productive in a lot more snaps this offseason. Both have flashed pass-rush ability in the past, but they've been buried at what has been a deep position. That position is deep no more, so they'll get their chance.
At this point, I think the issues with Josh Sitton have been pretty well reported. It got to the point where he was so disgruntled with his contract situation it became a distraction. On the field, they didn't suffer from releasing Sitton. He's a better player than Lane Taylor, but Taylor was certainly good enough and didn't cost the Packers any games. It wasn't about money; it was about addition by subtraction.
I don't know about 20 carries, but I don't think 15 is too much of a stretch. I think the Packers' confidence in Montgomery was seen when they waited until the fourth round to draft a running back. They feel good about where he is and what he can do this fall. The Day 3 running backs provide much-needed depth to what was a vacant depth chart.
I'd rather see the pass interference penalty adopt the college rule of being 15 yards instead of a spot foul.
See below as far as his carry workload, but you make a good point about pass pro. I think pass pro is the part of Montgomery's game that stands to improve the most this offseason ... by far. It's usually one of the last things for a running back to become comfortable with, especially for a player moving to the position from receiver. Ben Sirmans said the only time for RBs to really improve in pass pro is training camp, because that's when they do live pass-blocking reps. Montgmoery struggled in pass pro last season, but he said that part of the game has already slowed down a lot for him, in terms of picking up blitzes. He's also benefited from sharing the room with Aaron Ripkowski, who's very good in pass pro.
The Packers aren't switching to a 4-3, and they're not really a 3-4 either. They're a base nickel: 2-4-5. Their biggest issue at ILB has been lack of speed in pass coverage. Josh Jones should help with that this season, and Morgan Burnett could play more sub ILB as well.
Impossible to tell with OLBs when they aren't wearing pads. It'll be interesting to see how he does in one-on-one drills in camp, and the preseason will be important for him. I think the Packers expect him to make a jump as a defensive player. The chance to contribute in a meaningful role on defense helped entice him to sign with the Packers over other places this spring. He's shown a lot of potential, but he's unproven. Which is why this is a big offseason for him.
Damarious Randall was a college safety, so he's used to playing in the middle of the field. As for the physicality part, keep in mind that when you saw him struggling (and then some) to tackle last season, he was coming off groin surgery. I don't know how healthy he felt, but it certainly seemed to be something that was still in his mind. Randall has to play way better than last year, but there's a chance he could. Too early to write him off.
If he stays healthy and has that production? Then I think it's a problem. But Clay Matthews wasn't close to healthy last season. He dealt with a hamstring injury several weeks, and as soon as that healed he busted his shoulder up. So we're talking about two different scenarios here. If healthy, Clay Matthews should be a double-digit sacks guy.
They're not unimportant, or else they wouldn't be held. But Kevin King has the Packers playbook, he'll be working out, and he'll be back for minicamp. Training camp is the most important time of year. So I don't think it will prevent him from being an immediate starter, if that's what you're wondering.
The two best for the Packers' benefit would be Kyler Fackrell and Jayrone Elliott. If I had to guess the two biggest jumps this offseason, I'd start with Kenny Clark. The second is tougher to tell. Certainly Fackrell and Elliott are prime candidates, and you can't discount Randall bouncing back similar to how Davante Adams bounced back from his sophomore slump. The Packers would gladly take jumps from those players.
The Packers feel Jahri Evans should be a good fit at starting RG so long as he stays healthy. His 2016 film was much better than 2015, primarily because of nagging injuries in 2015. With that said, there's a reason the Packers structured the $2.25 million contract to pay only $200,000 guaranteed. They're protected if at 34 years old he isn't the player they thought they were getting. Bottom line is, if it isn't Jahri Evans starting at RG, I have no idea who else it will be. More than anything, lack of alternative options is why I'd be shocked if he wasn't the starter.
Don Barclay is going to get every opportunity to be backup center and guard. Question is, can he earn that spot with so many developmental players on the roster. I don't know yet. It'll be interesting to track, probably deep into camp.
When I talked to Corey Linsley on Tuesday, he seemed actually relieved with his injury situation. The surgery he had this offseason on his right ankle stemmed from the high-ankle sprain he had in late 2015. Linsley said his ankle hasn't felt right since then, and it affected his hamstring last year. He also said the doctors told him it was a tricky injury to get a handle of because of the ligaments issues, but they've got it figured out now. So Linsley expects the surgery took care of it fully, be good to go in the final year of his rookie contract.
Short of an unforeseen injury, yes.