Packers OTA’s: News and Notes

B.J. Raji

The Green Bay Packers continued spring OTA’s on Tuesday and saw a few players return to action while a few others remained out.  Here are some notes from the day:

– Our own Adam Czech observed that nose tackle B.J. Raji was back with the team and wondered if he’ll be more of the 2010 version that was disruptive or the version of the last few years that has been moved around and less effective.  I don’t know about you, but for some reason I feel more excited about what Raji brings this year than not.  It’s another contract year, his third in a row, and the vibe seems to be that he’s working hard and looking to prove that he’s back.  It will be good to have another reliable big body in the middle that knows the defense well.

– Linebacker Clay Matthews did spend some time at inside linebacker again, but spent the majority of the day on the outside, his natural position.  Regardless of how much time Matthews spends at either spot, he’s going to see time at both this season.  The move inside last year proved too effective for the Packers to ditch the idea completely.  Rookie Jake Ryan took second-team reps on the inside and unless he has a monster training camp (asking a lot of a fourth-rounder), Matthews will be needed inside at times.

– Rookie first-round defensive back Damarious Randall participated in 11-on-11 drills today and was cleared from an ankle injury he had been dealing with.  Randall spent the day at outside cornerback with the second team defense.  Second-rounder Quinten Rollins spent most of the day at the slot cornerback position.

– On the offensive side of the ball, receiver Jeff Janis was unleashed, catching a short Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown pass in a two-minute drill with no time left on the clock.  He’s surely a lock at the fourth or fifth receiver position this season and should push for a starting spot.  OK, I can’t do it anymore.  The touchdown catch part was true.  The sentence following was my poking a little fun at the Janis admirers out there.  Ever since last year, Janis is all the rage with his section of fans.  While he has the physical tools, there’s a reason he was active for just three games last season.  This is a new year, but the jury is very much still out on Janis.  With the Packers having spent a third-round pick on Ty Montgomery and with the return of Jared Abbrederis, it’s far from certain that Janis is on the final roster this year.

– Brett Hundley has a long way to go.  The quarterback was picked off on one of his first passes in team drills.  Every quarterback throws them, even our beloved #12, but Hundley seems to be getting a good dose of life in the NFL in his first bits of action.  Scott Tolzien is the backup quarterback until further notice.

– Notable absences from Tuesday’s practice were cornerback Casey Hayward, linebackers Nick Perry and Mike Neal, receivers Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery, fullback John Kuhn and defensive lineman Josh Boyd.  Hayward reportedly won’t be ready to work with the team until training camp and this is giving many flashbacks to 2013, when he suffered a hamstring injury during the offseason that ultimately ended his season early.  Hayward is slated to battle for a starting outside cornerback position this season so his recovery will be closely monitored.  Nelson continues to recover from offseason hip surgery.  Perry has seen his first three seasons riddled with injuries and dings and the Packers didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.  Perry has this season to stay healthy, prove he can do so and also increase his productivity.  On the other side of the coin, linebacker/defensive lineman Julius Peppers returned to practice after missing the last with an illness.


We’re just two practices into the spring and already there seems to be a buzz around this year’s Packers team.  The offense has many returning pieces and may have a new weapon in Montgomery to add to the arsenal.  More importantly, Montgomery may offer an edge in the return game that has been missing for many seasons.  It’s a lot to ask of a rookie right away, but there is also a lot of room for improvement in that area.

The Packers have another spring session June 9th – 12th before mandatory mini camp begins on the 16th.



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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  • Taryn Miller

    ” With the Packers having spent a third-round pick on Ty Montgomery and with the return of Jared Abbrederis, it’s far from certain that Janis is on the final roster this year.”

    Needing no other words but simply placing emphasis on ‘ With The Return of Jared Abbrederis’ you appear more inclined Janis should simply pack his bags and look for another team in which to make a roster.

    I wouldn’t discount Abbrederis as easily as some feel a need to discount Janis,if only for the sake of having a Badger make the team. :)

    • Jason Perone

      My instinct is telling me not to go here. . . but I do want to remind everyone that I’m not a Badgers fan and receive no kickbacks from the Jared Abbrederis fan club. Just merely pointing out that Abby adds another body to the competition with Janis.

  • Razer

    Typical spring optimism for my Packers. I would like to think that we improved the team through the draft. In reality we got younger, less experienced and enthusiastically hopeful. Maybe our biggest improvement came from shedding some deadwood and rearranging the coaching staff.

    I am not going to get too high on all the good luck stories that start the season. I am not even worried about the WR group – it is stronger than it has ever been. I am hoping that we can get a defense ready to play right out of the gate. Our top 3 DB prospects are baseball and basketball players. Our ILB corps are all fresh and our D-line is in another prove-it year. Like last year, the defense will determine our season. We need not look further for drama.

  • Archie

    No news on last year’s rookie defensive stalwarts – Kyrhi Thornton and Carl Bradford. That’s not good news.

    • TedTomsin

      Not necessarily Archie. Remember the saying, “no news is good news”. Well, I am sure it applies to these two guys.

      • Archie

        definition: sure – 100% certain

        So I guess you are saying no news makes you 100% certain that the news on last year’s two rookie defensive busts is good. Amazing how your “mind” works. It’s like being fact free.

  • Archie

    Maybe Jeff Janis can be this team’s Don Beebe. It would be great for AROD to have a WR that can rip the top off an offense with pure blinding speed.

  • TedTomsin

    Obviously the reason Janis has so many admirers out there is the fact he’s white. Everyone loves to see a fast white guy as they are so rare in the NFL. The last guy other than Jordy that compares to Janis size wise that I can recall was Marc Boerigter of KC. 6 foot 3 and 220 lbs and fast as hell. Had a decent career. Not great but decent. The best Janis will be able to do is be the no. 4 or 5. I wish him well.

    • dobber

      The Packers were relatively injury-free at the WR position last year. Not likely to happen all that often, and the #4 WR sees a fair number of snaps in the Packer system anyway. The player who lands at that #4 WR spot, whether it’s Montgomery, Abby, Janis, or mystery WR X, is going to see meaningful snaps and will have #12 throwing to him.

    • Archie

      Are you “sure” about this? When it comes to color, my guess is real Packer fans see only green and gold.

      • TedTomsin

        100% sure about this Archie. People love Janis because he’s white and is athletically gifted as a Dez Bryant. Again, it’s a rare thing to see a white wide receiver with this size and speed. That’s why Jordy is so loved in WI. To have two possibly dominating white wide receivers on the same team is almost unthinkable in this day and age. The only thing more rare that this would be if Ted would draft a speedy white cornerback.

        • Archie

          Why would any fan care whether a player is white or non-white?

          • Larry Whitman

            Maybe it’s because he’s an underdog. He’s a D2 player who’s trying to make a NFL roster. There are few D2, and fewer D3, players who do so. With Montgomery being drafted and Abbrederis returning and all the UDFA WRs signed after the draft, Janis has an uphill battle ahead of him. There’s no need to bring race into it, TT.

  • mark

    gotta laugh, make fun of Janis fans while mentioning Raji will have a HUGE impact because it is his third consecutive contract year………while it is pretty clear you cannot think, just think about that a bit

  • Big T

    Stick a fork in Nick “the fairy” Perry he is done. Make room for someone that wants to play.

  • Big T

    How does B.J. slobby look? Is he still frequenting the buffets?

    • Archie

      Actually he looks better than he has in a long while. Not sure if that translates into better play but I sure hope so. A rejuvenated BJ Raji would help big time. On the other hand, it could just as easily be Raji’s last Packer camp.