The Packers held their fourth practice of training camp earlier today. Here are the five most newsworthy items from July 30:
1) As far as first weeks of training camp go, this has definitely been Jordan Love’s best since joining the Packers in 2020. The former No. 1 pick from Utah State is making quicker decisions and delivering the ball with slightly more velocity and accuracy. He also seems more comfortable as a leader. And while that’s all good, Love still doesn’t look special – even in an environment conducive to a quarterback excelling. By this point in his career, Aaron Rodgers had proven to GM Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy that he was ready to be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL. It’s difficult to imagine their successors, Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur, feeling the same way about Love – at least not yet.
2) Tipa Galeai finished off an impressive opening week with another strong practice on Saturday. The undersized third-year pro, whom I really liked coming out of Utah State, looks a little bigger than he did last summer. He was surprisingly effective against the run in 2021 but didn’t offer much as a pass rusher. With the added size and hopefully some added moves, he could wind up being the first outside linebacker off the bench. Elsewhere at the position, rookie fifth-round pick Kingsley Enagbare is off to a so-so start. And while there are definitely things to like about the former South Carolina star, it would be a mild surprise if he’s among the top-4 players on the depth chart when we get to September.
3) Second-year corner Shemar Jean-Charles might’ve had his best practice as a Packer on Saturday. While that’s not saying much considering how unimpressive he was last summer, perhaps his near pick in the end zone will be the catalyst to get him playing more like the guy who shut down all comers at Appalachian State. The defense could really use an improved Jean-Charles, who’s one of the few players on the roster with the skill set to work from the slot. But the 24-year-old will have to tackle a lot better if he’s to earn the trust of the defensive coaches. He really struggled to get receivers to the ground as a rookie, and we won’t know if he’s gotten any better until the pads go on early next week.
4) In another example of why it’s silly to put too much stock in what happens early in camp, Kamal Martin was much more impressive the last week of July in 2020 than Quay Walker has been during the same period of time two years later. It’s safe to assume this year’s No. 1 pick will have a much better NFL career. Martin played only 10 games for the Packers before being cut prior to the start of the 2021 season. He’s currently fighting for a roster spot in Carolina. As for Walker, his physical skills are apparent. He looks bigger than his listed weight of 241 pounds and moves like a safety. But it’s important to remember that he started only 17 games in college. It’ll be interesting to watch him once the pads go on. How will he react to having O-linemen in his face after being kept clean behind Georgia’s star-studded front four?
5) While some of the young wide receivers (Romeo Doubs and Juwann Winfree) have stepped up early in camp, the work of the tight ends has been as underwhelming as expected. You could argue that none of the players (Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Tyler “Mr. May” Davis, Dominique Dafney, Alize Mack, and Sal Cannella) would make the final roster for at least half the teams in the league. Ironically, perhaps the most “impressive” of the group has been Mack, and there’s a good chance he won’t be on the 53 a month from now. The return of rehabbing starter Robert Tonyan – whenever that occurs – will obviously help, but in the meantime, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Gutekunst to be on the lookout for help. These guys are making me miss the days of Ed “The Toolbox” West, a decrepit Dan Ross, and Mark Lewis.
Big thanks to Packers Notes contributor Michael Posh for being my eyes at practice. I’m hoping to get to Green Bay in August.