For the first time since last season, the Green Bay Packers are about to take the practice field as they get set for their 2016 version of organized team activities or OTAs.
At this point, the offseason is essentially over. There will be a few more roster moves, but not many. Most of the work done will be trimming the roster down to the final 53 guys that will graduate training camp.
Yet, for many players, the fight to earn a roster spot starts this week with OTAs. There may not be a lot of contact or work in pads, but teams can still learn plenty about their players, especially young players that are trying to make their mark.
So before Packers OTAs get underway in Green Bay, here are five questions that we will look to have answered this week.
Is Clay Matthews really moving back outside?
Head coach Mike McCarthy said Matthews was moving back to his outside linebacker position early in the offseason and this OTA session will be our first chance to see if he sticks to his word. It’s possible Matthews still plays some inside, but for the most part, I think McCarthy wants him rushing the passer.
How does Eddie Lacy look, literally what does his gut look like?
Of course Lacy’s weight has been a big topic for Packers fans all offseason and now we will get a look at him on the field for the first time. If this team is going to be a Super Bowl contender, it’s going to need the Lacy of 2013 and 2014, not the overweight version we saw last season.
How will Jared Cook mesh with Aaron Rodgers?
One of the big stories for the Packers coming out of the offseason was the signing of Cook, a free-agent tight end from the Rams. Cook is a proven veteran and has never had fewer than 39 receptions or 481 yards in a season since 2010 when he had 29 for 361. He should be the starter from day one and should provide the pass-catching threat in the middle of the field that Green Bay has been lacking. This week will give him and Aaron Rodgers a chance to work on their rapport.
Does Jordy Nelson look healthy?
McCarthy said back in January that Nelson would participate in OTAs and everything looks to be a go. How Nelson looks coming off his knee injury might be one of the most important pieces of news coming out of this week. The Pro-Bowl wide receiver was sorely missed last season and the Packers need him to return to form in order to be contenders in 2016.
Which rookies or second-year players will impress the most?
This is normally a time when the hype machine for young players or rookies gets going. So it will be interesting to see who’s getting talked about this week. At this point, most rookies are just trying to figure things out, so that’s the most important thing for them. But often times, second-year players that were on the practice squad or barely made the roster a season ago, are hungry to show their improvement and fend off a rookie that may be gunning for their roster spot.