Green Bay Packers football is back! Well, kind of. The Packers opened training camp on Wednesday and this camp might be more competitive than most have been under Mike McCarthy.
There will be some starting positions up for grabs. There will also be some intriguing battles for roster spots and playing time. Here’s a look and we’ll start at the top.
Brett Hundley vs. DeShone Kizer
Who is going to be Aaron Rodgers’ backup? Hundley played like crap in the role in 2017. Kizer played like crap as the starter for the Cleveland Browns. That said, Kizer at least has the look of an NFL quarterback. It’s hard to envision the Packers getting rid of a guy they traded a former first-round pick for this offseason. On the same token, it’s hard to envision the Packers keeping both of these guys. Hundley may have to outplay Kizer by a wide margin to stick.
Ty Montgomery vs. Jamaal Williams vs. Aaron Jones
It’s a running back by committee, according to McCarthy. One of these guys has to start the season opener, though. It won’t be Jones, who will be serving a two-game suspension to open the season. However, he may be the best back of the three. So ultimately, whoever performs better between Montgomery and Williams will get the nod.
Geronimo Allison vs. the field
The Packers’ No. 3 receiver job is seemingly up for grabs. Allison, entering his third year, certainly has the edge. His competitors will be former basketball player Michael Clark, 2017 fifth-round pick DeAngelo Yancey, the speedy but unproductive Trevor Davis, rookies J’Mon Moore, Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Should be a free-for-all.
Kyle Murphy vs. Jason Spriggs vs. Byron Bell
We could throw right guard in here too, but the Packers seem content to turn that position over to Justin McCray. Bryan Bulaga is not expected to be available to start the season. The fallback option will be one of these three. Spriggs is a former second-round pick, but he hasn’t lived up to that status. Murphy was a seventh-round pick and has looked decent. Bell was a late-offseason pickup and former starter for the Tennessee Titans. Bell is likely just depth, but could surprise. It will be interesting to see if Spriggs has improved at all and if Murphy can take the next step. If either is true, then Bulaga is expendable.
This is going to be wild. The Packers brought back veteran Tramon Williams, who is coming off a great season in Arizona. There’s 2017 second-round pick Kevin King, who was limited by a shoulder injury last year. They drafted two corners with their first two picks in this year’s draft — Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. Lenzy Pipkins was solid in limited action in 2017. Veteran Davon House is back. And finally, Josh Hawkins is probably the fastest guy of the group. So you not only have a battle for starting spots. You’ve got a hell of a battle for roster spots.
Kentrell Brice vs. Josh Jones
Most likely, both of these guys are going to get plenty of playing time. The Packers played with three safeties regularly in 2017. Then again, perhaps new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine prefers a more traditional set. The big thing is Morgan Burnett is gone. Someone has to line up next to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Brice, a former undrafted free agent, has been singled out by McCarthy for making the jump. Jones was not good as a rookie, but he played more than 70 percent of the defensive snaps anyway. He has that trial by fire and he was a second-round pick. There’s also a wild card in the mix here. The Packers drafted speedy linebacker Oren Burks in the third round and seem to love his coverage ability. He could end up in the hybrid/third safety role, which would leave one of these guys on the bench.