Maybe DeShawn Wynn gets it Purely on first impression, Wynn looked like an uninspired rookie last summer. He was content with gliding through the motions. He often took himself out of practice with a variety of oddball injuries with dehydration as a common crutch. Wynn got his shot to start in September and was effective, averaging at least 4.5 yards per carry in four of the first five games. But his shot at becoming the team's long-term answer was crushed after sustaining a nerve injury at Denver.
Purely on second impression, it appears Wynn has rededicated himself. He literally looks like a new man with a bulked up upper body, and he participated throughout camp. Mike McCarthy was quick to laud both Wynn and Brandon Jackson's commitment in the weight room and off-season program. While Jackson is the favorite to win the No. 2 job, a healthy Wynn (that stays on the field this time) could push him.
As McCarthy said last season after Wynn's season-ending injury, "He can be as good as he wants to be."
The Packers are prepared to give Wynn another chance at delivering on his potential.
James Jones is still No. 3 ...
Green Bay hopes it was the rookie wall, and not a seasonal pattern.
Whatever the case, Jones was a different receiver in December than he was in September last year.
Maybe Jones is the stereotypical warm-weather receiver, but at least he appears to be full of confidence after a miserable finish to last season. Never shy about expressing his disdain for cold weather, the former San Diego State wideout disappeared in crunch time last season. Jones had only seven receptions in his final five games and the Packers drafted Jordy Nelson in the second round.
But so far it's no debate who the No. 3 wide receiver is in Green Bay. Nelson started OTAs hot, but Jones was more consistent. Aaron Rodgers found Jones frequently in 7-on-7 drills. Much like Wynn and Jackson, Jones made major strides in the weight room over the offseason and is a chiseled 212 pounds. Jones is noticeably bigger and stronger than Donald Driver (190 lbs.) and Greg Jennings (197 lbs.), which should make him more of a weapon in the slot. Considering Rodgers has a propensity for drags, crossing routes, and other routes 15 yards-and-in, Jones could be in line for a breakout season.
... Tramon Williams, too
Like Jones, incumbent nickel cornerback Tramon Williams had a brief scare the night of April 26.
Lee may eventually be that guy. But not yet.
Williams was all over the field during OTAs and minicamp. He has excellent closing speed, a nose for the ball and unusual strength (he can bench press double his body weight). It will take a knockout training camp from Lee, Jarrett Bush or Will Blackmon to unseat Williams from the nickel spot. Pound for pound, there may not be a stronger player on the Packers.
Tory Humphrey still an uphill battle
He's got Ted Thompson in his corner.
On any other team, you'd think Humphrey would've been long gone a year ago. (At least Ki-Jana Carter was a first overall pick.)
Humphrey missed all of '06 with a broken ankle and half of '05 with a hamstring injury. Before that he was on the practice squad. So no doubt, it was a pleasant site to see No. 84 on the practice field, at full strength. He did beat Nick Barnett down the middle of the field for a long touchdown during the 7-on-7 portion of Wednesday's minicamp practice last week. Humphrey showed surprising wheels on the play, and the dust in Barnett's eyes left him visibly frustrated for the next couple plays.
But overall, Humphrey did little to suggest he'll be Green Bay's top backup at tight end, let alone make the team. Daily drops tainted Humphrey's OTA/minicamp report card.
At the Packers' final OTA, Humphrey let a routine corner-route pass from Aaron Rodgers slip through his mitts. And this play – like many of Humphrey's drops – came without a defense present, which is kind of like Dallas Stars' Patrick Stefan missing that open net against Edmonton two years ago (YouTube Classic). Embarrasing.
Shortly after his TD grab over Barnett, Humphrey dropped a soft pop pass from Rodgers in front of linebacker Abdul Hodge.
At 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, Humphrey is a big guy with deceptive speed. But unlike Jermichael Finley, Evan Moore and even Joey Haynos, Humphrey seems to fight the ball. Maybe Mike McCarthy has plans to utilize Humphrey as a block-first tight end and maybe Humphrey was just in a slump. Regardless, he'll need a strong training camp to earn a job. And, oh yeah, shake that whole injury-prone tag.
- There is no quarterback controversy. Rodgers looked a veteran out there and the days of that eye-sore, high ball-carriage are years in his shadow.
Fundamentally, Rodgers is the prototypical West Coast-offense QB. At the Packers' final, pass-happy OTA, Rodgers went 14-of-20 and three of those incompletions were drops. Brian Brohm improved throughout the workouts, but he won't be threatening Rodgers any time soon.
- The defensive line is in serious trouble. Justin Harrell is missing another valuable offseason, while fellow DT's Colin Cole and Johnny Jolly were also both sidelined with injuries. And of course, there's Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila's arthroscopic knee injury. Too bad Jason Taylor cares more about nightlife than a realistic shot at a Super Bowl.
- The Packers may be keeping six wide receivers this season. Behind roster locks Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Jordy Nelson, are a slew of wideouts. Ruvell Martin's got the experience. Seventh-round pick Brett Swain showed flashes as a slippery slot receiver. Shaun Bodiford and Chris Francies have five combined years of experience in the offense. The thickly built Johnny Quinn may have been the biggest surprise on offense at camp (and drew the praise of Rodgers). Taj Smith has speed (4.39 in the 40). And Jake Allen has size (6-foot-4). Whew…it's gonna be a 12-round, summer-long fight on the outside.