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10/22/2017

Q&A: Who’s The Biggest Surprise?


Packers Notes contributor Robert Tanner has been at three practices so far this summer and he was gracious enough to answer some of your burning questions.

Who’s been the biggest disappointment and the biggest surprise so far? – Rachel

It’s still very early, but Damarious Randall has been the biggest disappointment. The No. 1 pick from two years ago was demoted to the nickel in the offseason and now he’s not even part of that package. He needs to be a lot more consistent. His skill set is better than any other cornerback on the roster, but there just seems to be something missing. As for the biggest surprise, let’s go with running back Jamaal Williams. He looks much better than a typical fourth-round draft pick, and more importantly, he doesn’t look like a rookie. The former BYU star is poised beyond his years.

Another surprise has been second-year wide receiver Max McCaffrey. I thought he was just a camp body with a famous last name 10 days ago, but he’s more than that. And while I still don’t think he’ll be part of the 53, it’s no longer as unlikely as it once seemed. As for another disappointment, and this is a mild one, let’s go with Kenny Clark. He’s been solid, but he’s not standing out the way you’d expect a No. 1 pick to stand out.

How many UDFAs will make the 53? Ted kept 6 last year, but there doesn’t seem to be much buzz this camp. – Ronnie

I remember being impressed with a bunch of UDFAs early in camp a year ago. Lucas Patrick, Geronimo Allison, Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans, Brian Price and Josh Hawkins all flashed a number of times. I don’t think any of this summer’s UDFAs have been as impressive as those players, although a few – guard Geoff Gray, outside linebacker Johnathan Calvin and cornerback Linzy Pipkins – have done some positive things. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d be surprised if more than two or three stick on the 53 this season. 

After hearing [cornerbacks coach] Joe Whitt say Quinten Rollins is practicing better than anyone, I’m wondering if that is a testament to how much Rollins has improved or how bad everyone else is. – Justin

There’s no question Rollins has been the most impressive cornerback through the first week of training camp, and I think it’s all due to his health. Remember, he was good last summer, but then a groin injury kind of wrecked his season. He doesn’t have great speed, so he’s going to struggle to keep up with quality receivers at less than 100 percent. Fortunately, he’s feeling good now. The Packers need for that to continue.

Josh Sitton was a surprise cut last year. Any early guesses at who might be a surprise cut this year? -Bruce

It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if I knew the answer to that question, would it? But seriously, let’s go with wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey. It’s not that the fifth-round pick has done anything wrong, but the position is very crowded and Trevor Davis, Malachi Dupre and even McCaffrey have been better early in training camp. A lot can and will change between now and early September, but that’s my “surprise” cut as of today.


I was disappointed in Jason Spriggs last season. Is there any reason to believe he’ll be better in year 2? – CJ

It’s really hard to get a feel for young offensive linemen in practice, so I’ll reserve judgment until at least the first preseason game. Spriggs does look bigger, but I can’t say I’ve seen a huge difference in his performance. I will say this – he sure looks the part. He has all the tools – long arms, quick feet, agility, etc. The Packers need him to be ready because I don’t see another legitimate backup left tackle on the roster.

Have a question for someone who’s at training camp and actually knows what he’s talking about (two things that don’t have to be mutually exclusive)? Send Robert an e-mail and he’ll give you an answer in the next Q&A.

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About Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for close to 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2006. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.