The Lunch Pail Gang Part 2: Rookies on the Offensive Side

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Photo via USAToday

The year is 2005. The Packers have an offensive juggernaut in the making with running backs Ahman Green and shifty Najeh Davenport supporting Brett Favre.

After both Green and Davenport go down with injuries, the Packers sign Chiefs training camp cast-off Samkon Gado.

Gado responded with a strong performance against the mighty Steelers rush defense, but on his 23rd birthday, Gado gashed the Falcons for 3 touchdowns (2 rushing) and 103 rush yards. He became the story of the season, before going down with a torn ligament against the Ravens.

Gado responded with a strong performance against the mighty Steelers rush defense, but on his 23rd birthday, Gado gashed the Falcons for 3 touchdowns (2 rushing) and 103 rush yards. He became the story of the season, before going down with a torn ligament against the Ravens.


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Every year injuries take their toll, and unheralded players are expected to step up. Given the Packers’ history at running back, it’s best not to start counting on any one player to start and finish the season.

The offensive line must replace not only Pro Bowler T.J. Lang but also the versatile and capable J.C. Tretter. While the next great O-lineman may not just go by initials; at this stage of training camp, it’s too early to tell.

And about the only position where we have no concerns whatsoever is the QB, Aaron Rodgers. As always, we can R-E-L-A-X while #12 prepares to Run The Table.

The offensive line must replace not only Pro Bowler T.J. Lang, but also the versatile and capable J.C. Tretter.

While the next great O-lineman may not just go by initials; at this stage of training camp, it’s too early to tell.

And about the only position where we have no concerns whatsoever is the QB, Aaron Rodgers. As always, we can R-E-L-A-X while #12 prepares to Run The Table.

And about the only position where we have no concerns whatsoever is the QB, Aaron Rodgers.

As always, we can R-E-L-A-X while #12 prepares to Run The Table.

The Packers offense depends on the success of the passing game, so we will begin with wide receivers.

Though traditionally a deep unit, the injury to Jordy Nelson in 2015 is an example of what can happen to a unit that needs to be a strength.

This year’s rookies include the 5th round pick out of Purdue, DeAngelo Yancey, a 6’5” 220-lb Big Ten prototype.

Most Big Ten WR’s excel at making tough catches over the middle, Yancey used his height to get open on the edges as well, scoring 10 receiving TD’s, including 2 in each game against Wisconsin and Nebraska.

The polarizing Malachi Dupre from LSU was a 7th round pick, who is expected to be either a total bust because of his perceived lack of speed, or the steal of the draft because of his versatility and athleticism.

It will be interesting to see how both players adapt to catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.

This year’s rookies include the 5th round pick out of Purdue, DeAngelo Yancey, a 6’5” 220-lb Big Ten prototype.

Most Big Ten WR’s excel at making tough catches over the middle, Yancey used his height to get open on the edges as well, scoring 10 receiving TD’s, including 2 in each game against Wisconsin and Nebraska.

The polarizing Malachi Dupre from LSU was a 7th round pick, who is expected to be either a total bust because of his perceived lack of speed, or the steal of the draft because of his versatility and athleticism.

It will be interesting to see how both players adapt to catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.

Most Big Ten WR’s excel at making tough catches over the middle, Yancey used his height to get open on the edges as well, scoring 10 receiving TD’s, including 2 in each game against Wisconsin and Nebraska.

The polarizing Malachi Dupre from LSU was a 7th round pick, who is expected to be either a total bust because of his perceived lack of speed, or the steal of the draft because of his versatility and athleticism.

It will be interesting to see how both players adapt to catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.

The reader who has made it this far in this 2 part article is no doubt wondering, “Where is the Ted Thompson-Former-Basketball-Player?” You’ll be happy to know this year Ted rolled the dice on 6’7” Michael Clark from Marshall, who rang up 32 catches for 632 yards and 5 TDs at Marshall.

With a 4.53 40 time, he may have the speed but might need a season on the practice squad to adjust.

Montay Crockett is another intriguing prospect: on the small side at 5’11” 190lbs, but with a blistering 4.32 40 time, he may be in the mix as a returner in the preseason.

And Colby Pearson completes the BYU reunion of 4th round pick Jamaal Williams and QB Taysom Hill.  Pearson led BYU with 4 TDs in 2016.

Pass blocking is the second most important part of Mike McCarthy’s offense. Innovative schemes give Aaron Rodgers time to progress through his reads and select the best option while 300lb berserkers charge after him.

The Packers’ O-line has been ranked with the best units in football, but the departure of Lang and addition of Jahri Evans bring up some questions about the new look line.

As usual, there are several undrafted rookies in camp looking to become the next man up.

History suggests it is best to be drafted in the 4th round by the Packers: Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, and David Bakhtiari were all 4th round picks.

Have you ever made fun of the University of Manitoba? Don’t do it in front of 6’5” 313lb Geoff Gray, or you may find the limits of Canadian politeness.

Gray is the largest of the 2017 crop that includes 6’5” 302 lb T Robert Leff from Auburn and 6’5” Adam Pankey of WVU.  Pankey has potential at tackle or guard, versatility is always an edge in today’s NFL.

Thomas Evans of Richmond has the genes for the NFL, his grandfather, Frank Lasky, played for the New York Giants. These gentlemen will compete with sixth round pick Kofi Amichia from USF, and last year’s practice squad lineman Brian Price, who has gained some notoriety by picking a fight with the defense.

The emergence of Ty Montgomery at running back may make it seem like the position is locked down, but as the example of Samkon Gado shows, nothing is certain other than Rodgers.

Fourth round pick Jamaal Williams of BYU shows some explosiveness and good hands, but every NFL season requires at least 3 backs on the roster.

The Packer’s seventh pick, Aaron Jones from UTEP, is an explosive runner who set school records with a 91-yard rushing TD.

He also torched North Texas for over 300 rush yards and 4 TDs.Eight of his twelve games in 2016 included runs of 40+ yards.

Another seventh round pick, Devante Mays from Utah State, a bowling ball of a back at 5’11” 230lbs. Mays has a 420lb bench press, which will help him stiff-arm blockers.

Kalif Phillips of Charlotte is an elusive runner with over 4000 yards and 43 TD’s in his career.

William Stanback of Virginia Union has excellent measurables, 6’0” 233 lbs with a 4.55 40 and 23 bench press reps. Stanback ran for over 1200 yards and 15 TDs his senior year.

At quarterback, after Rodgers and Hundley, we see a mix of young talent and potential.

Joe Callahan was last preseason’s breakout star, this year may be BYU’s Taysom Hill, who returned from a two-year mission trip after racking 6,000 pass yards with 43 TD.

Hill also ran for 2,800 yards with 32 rushing TDs, similar to another dual threat from BYU, Steve Young.

Training camp invitee Drew Bauer from UM-Duluth had 30 TDs his senior year and ran for 6.

On special teams, rookie Justin Vogel looks to secure the punter spot and help some of the Packer’s field position struggles from last season.

This training camp has also seen kick return formations with two returners, possibly auditioning a replacement for Micah Hyde and Randall Cobb, who backed up speedy Trevor Davis.

Derek Hart from James Madison has a shot to make the team as the long snapper, after a solid collegiate career.

Remember these names, because they surely aren’t done yet. After all, in 1999, a quarterback from Northern Iowa wasn’t able to secure a position as Brett Favre’s backup.

After stocking shelves at Hy-Vee, and developing a lightning-quick release with the Iowa Barnstormers, the Rams took a chance on him as a backup for the highly regarded Trent Green.

After Green went down in week two of the season, Kurt Warner took the reins of The Greatest Show On Turf and never looked back. He will be enshrined in Canton this summer.

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