Observations and takeaways from Packers first minicamp practice

By: Paul Bretl 6/11/24

The Green Bay Packers held the first of their two minicamp practices on Tuesday. Here are my key observations and takeaways from what I saw on the practice field. 

Minicamp is mandatory but Xavier McKinney, Jaire Alexander, and Keisean Nixon were excused by Matt LaFleur. All three players have previously exceeded their threshold for offseason participation to qualify for their workout bonuses. Throughout offseason programs, LaFleur has raved about all three players.

Where was Jordan Morgan today? The Packers continued to rotated Morgan heavily as they search for where he fits best along the offensive line. Today, Morgan played both tackle spots as well as at right guard with the starters. 

We saw a few different offensive line combinations blocking for Jordan Love. Initially, it was Andre Dillard at left tackle, followed by Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Sean Rhyan, and Morgan. Another combination we saw included Walker at left tackle, Morgan at right guard and Dillard at right tackle. The third configuration was Walker, Jenkins, Myers, Rhyan, and Morgan.

It felt like the Packers were taking a long look at Dillard. We saw him playing both tackle positions and on the field with both the starters and the backups.

Marshawn Llloyd really showcased his ability to change directions. He was very elusive with defenders nearby. With that said, AJ Dillon was still taking snaps ahead of him. Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said that he wants to get Lloyd involved this season, but how or if Dillon factors in remains to be seen. 

We are going to see a lot more blitzing this season under Jeff Hafley. On Tuesday’s practice, we saw Edgerrin Cooper, Ty’Ron Hopper, and Eric Wilson all being asked to blitz fairly regularly. Cooper’s explosiveness is on full display on these plays, as well as on toss plays with his ability to move sideline-to-sideline and shoot the gaps.

Overall it was a really good day from the Packers’ defensive front. Colby Wooden and Kenneth Odumegwu were two of the standouts, as were Preston Smith and Rashan Gary. The defensive front also had two tipped passes as well.

Position notes on defense: As has been the case, Quay Walker was again the middle linebacker with Isaiah McDuffie to his left and Eric Wilson to his right. In nickel, it was McDuffie and Walker with Cooper eventually worked in. Cooper also took Wilson’s spot in base during the second time through the rotation. Without McKinney, Javon Bullard and Anthony Johnson started at safety with Evan Williams quickly being worked in. Johnson has been consistently taking the initial starting reps next to McKinney throughout OTAs. Corey Ballentine was also taking slot snaps with Nixon not practicing. 

I was again impressed with Michael Pratt’s command and quick decision-making. During a red zone drill inside the 10 yard line, he had two quick and well placed completions that led to a score. Matt LaFleur has liked what he’s seen from Pratt but also noted the growth and understanding of the offense that still has to take place. 

There is a noticeable difference when Love and the starting offense are on the field versus the second and third team offenses. For the most part, the second and third team defenses are winning their reps, but Love is very much in control right now and you can see the comfort in which he’s playing with by how he’s navigating the pocket and knowing where the opportunities are to take advantage of. Now, this doesn’t mean that the starting defense isn’t getting some wins, they did today during the two-minute drill. But Love and his receivers look quite good.

Zayne Anderson was the player of the day, coming away with three interceptions, all of which were off of Sean Clifford. I will call two of those interceptions being in the right place at the right time with one going off the receiver’s hands and another coming at the end of the two-minute drill with Sean Clifford heaving the ball towards the middle of the field as time expired.