The Green Bay Packers officially opened the 2017 season this morning. Over the course of the next 35 days, the team will practice 20 times and play four preseason games. Here’s a list of the 10 things I most want to see during training camp:
1) No injuries
2) No injuries
3) No injuries
4) No injuries
5) No injuries
6) No injuries
7) No injuries
8) No injuries
9) No injuries
10) No injuries
Is that clear enough? Who cares how good the rookies look during training camp if a key veteran goes down with a serious injury? I bet very few people remember how well cornerback Quinten Rollins played against the Steelers in the second preseason game in the summer of 2015. What everyone remembers from that day is the torn ACL suffered by Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
And while it would be nice to see second-round picks Kevin King and Josh Jones and veteran Davon House do well in August, how much would that really mean come September? A year ago, Damarious Randall looked very good in week 2 of the fake season and then played about as poorly as a corner could play in week 2 of the real season. On the other hand, guard Lane Taylor enjoyed a solid fall after a shaky summer.
You certainly don’t need me to tell you how very different September football is from August football. Playing against a vanilla scheme being carried out by players who’ll soon be making tackles in Canada and installing drywall in Jersey can allow a slowish running back from Graceland College named Whisper to resemble Adrian Peterson and an undersized Division III quarterback named Joe to morph into Drew Brees.
Look, there’s no question the Packers would benefit from youngsters like King, Jones and Kyler Fackrell playing well, but that won’t make or break the season. What could make or break the season is a serious injury to a key starter. We all remember how the offense never recovered from losing Nelson. So as long as the Packers leave camp with the same preferred starters that began camp, this summer will have been a success.
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