Observations and takeaways from Packers final minicamp practice

By: Paul Bretl 6/12/24

The Green Bay Packers wrapped up offseason programs on Wednesday with their final minicamp practice. The next time the Packers take the practice field will be on July 22nd when training camp begins.

As always, here are my observations and takeaways from what I saw on the practice field:

Joining Xavier McKinney, Jaire Alexander, and Keisean Nixon as absent from practice was Josh Jacobs. Just like the three defensive backs, Jacobs’ absence was excused by Matt LaFleur after he was present for all of OTAs.

Who was starting on the offensive line? Today’s initial offensive line configuration consisted of Rasheed Walker at left tackle, followed by Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Sean Rhyan, and Andre Dillard. A few plays later, we saw Jordan Morgan take over at right guard for Rhyan. The second unit was made up of Caleb Jones and left tackle, with Royce Newman, Jacob Monk, Rhyan, and Morgan following him. 

An important thing to remember this time of the year when talking about the offensive line is that the pads aren’t on. Matt LaFleur would say after practice that they won’t truly know who their best five linemen will be until training camp unfolds and they see how each player performs in pads. LaFleur added that at that time, Morgan will be asked to focus in on one or two positions rather than four. Now, having said that, it was a rough showing for Andre Dillard today. 

What about the linebackers? The linebacker configuration remained the same. In base, it was Quay Walker in the middle, with Isaiah McDuffie to his left and Eric Wilson to his right. In nickel, it was Walker lining up next to McDuffie initially and then Edgerrin Cooper. At safety, Javon Bullard and Evan Williams took the starting reps. Previously, we’ve seen Anthony Johnson in that mix. The versatility of those two is extremely fun to watch–they are being lined up all over the field. 

It was a really impressive day for Brenton Cox. In my opinion he has separated himself in the early going from Keshawn Banks and Arron Mosby for that fifth defensive end role. There were two pass rush reps today where his physicality was on display as he popped the tackle in the chest driving them backwards. 

Jordan Love and the starting wide receivers are playing extremely well. I mentioned this in yesterday’s takeaways, but you can see the comfort Love has as he navigates the pocket and finds the soft spots in the defense. The starting offense moved the ball quite well today. 

Overall, it was another sound day for all three kickers. By my count, each of them would go 6-for-7 on the day. Practice once again ended with the team huddled around each kicker, yelling and throw water as they attempted a field goal. Jack Podlesny would miss from 51 yards while Greg Joseph and Anders Carlson would make. Then all three made from 54 yards. LaFleur said it is still “to be determined” if the Packers will carry three kickers into training camp. Also of note, the difference in power between Carlson and the other two is quite noticeable. 

Two minute drill: The scenario was the offense starting at their own 25 yard line, down two points with 1:18 left on the clock and two timeouts. Love finished the drive 3-of-6 but had a few length completions in the 15 to 20-yard range that helped move the ball into field goal range, which was made by all three kickers. The other two offenses led by Sean Clifford and Michael Pratt would stall out before getting to midfield. The pass rush on both the second and third defenses were causing some havoc.

During the special teams drills, we saw the kick return team working on returning squibbed kicks, something we may see a lot of with the new kickoff rules. There was also a majority of the team taking part in special teams drills today, which tells us that there may be a number of roles up for grabs on a unit that finished 29th last season in Rick Gosselin’s annual rankings. 

I’ll again mention Deslin Alexandre’s name as an under the radar player to watch heading into training camp. In a loaded defensive end room, making the final roster will be extremely tough, but he again flashed today, specifically when using his speed to get after the quarterback.