Three Takeaways From This Week's OTAs
It’s very difficult and potentially even dangerous to try to draw any substantive conclusions from OTAs. The players aren’t in pads, the first pages of the playbook are barely installed, and it’s May for crying out loud.
But reading between the lines, you can see some storylines beginning to emerge. Here are three takeaways from the first week of organized team activities.
1 - Inside linebackers are an endangered species
The Packers have more than a dozen linebackers in camp, and (charitably) four could be considered “pure” inside linebackers. Take out large safety Joe Thomas and converted collegiate outside linebacker Jake Ryan and suddenly you’re down to a measly two players.
Considering the Packers clearly have plans for Morgan Burnett and Josh Jones at inside linebacker, it’s fair to wonder if there will be any true inside linebackers left on the roster in two or three years. If you can make do without, why bother in the first place?
2 - The Packers believe in their young pass rushers
We’ve been banging the drum on the Packers’ pass rushing problem for some time, but allow me to give it a few more good whacks.
Outside of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, the rest of the Packers’ pass rushing group has a combined six career sacks. That’s only three more than Morgan Burnett had by himself last year.
But the Packers aren’t deterred by the lack of proven productivity. They’re riding into camp with Elliott, Fackrell, a fourth round pick, and a host of undrafted free agents to make up their backup pass rushing group.
You can disagree with the strategy, but you can’t disagree with the conclusion: the Packers believe in what they have.
3 - Ty Montgomery is a sound bite machine
Reporters can more or less pre-write their OTA stories, because everyone says the same things every year. This year, Ty Montgomery is saving everyone tons of time by just knocking all of the platitudes out by himself. Added muscle for this season? Yep, Ty did that. Is this a great opportunity? Ty thinks so. Are people doubting him? Ty knows it, and he’s telling them they should stop.
Editor's note: an earlier version of this article said the Packers' pass rushers other than Nick Perry and Clay Matthews have four career sacks between them. In reality, they have six sacks between them. The article has been updated.