The Green Bay Packers took to Clarke Hinkle Field on Thursday for the first of three OTA sessions. It gave fans and media their first look at some of the rookie class of 2015 as well as saw the return of a few faces that were missing last year in that of receiver Jared Abbrederis and defensive lineman B.J. Raji. Rookie quarterback Brett Hundley and receiver Ty Montgomery were not at practice due to rules prohibiting them from participating with the team until their respective school’s graduation calendar permit. Both will appear at the NFL Player’s Association Rookie Premier.
Much of the focus and attention today was on the defense. One of the biggest areas of interest was middle linebacker. As the first team took the field, it was Sam Barrington and Clay Matthews on the inside. Many wondered if Matthews would spend some time in the middle again this year and if today was an indication, Matthews may see more time there than some anticipated. After practice, head coach Mike McCarthy joked with media that they should wait until Matthews lines up at nose tackle, referring to the linebacker’s versatility. Rookie fourth-round pick Jake Ryan spent time with the second team.
It’s too early to say what the depth chart or rotation will look like at the position as OTA’s move along and training camp approaches. It is clear that the Packers want more out of that area and especially after letting go of both of last year’s starters in Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk.
At cornerback, Casey Hayward began at outside corner along with Sam Shields. Hayward will get pushed by rookies Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins and that competition may last into the regular season. More clarity will come once training camp starts. On the inside, Micah Hyde had a nifty interception on a Scott Tolzien pass to make his push for the nickel cornerback spot.
The Packers have two more OTA practices in June and a mandatory mini camp in June as well. Training camp opens July 29th.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: