Jim Biever / Green Bay Packers
Hey Aaron, be careful out there. Be well.
The Green Bay Packers opened training camp last weekend, and the familiar sight of oversized football players riding undersized bicycles to practice once again proved amusing.
Of course, the focus should be on what those players do once they arrive on the field at St. Norbert College in De Pere, not how they arrive.
This year's camp opened with many questions, including these:
- What will former Chicago Bear Julius Peppers look like in a Packers uniform? The 34-year-old free agent linebacker/defensive end signed with Green Bay in March and should bring experience, depth and versatility. With a defensive line bookended by Peppers and Clay Matthews, the Packers will have the kind of dual pass-rushing threat they've been seeking for years.
- Can the team remain healthy? Of all the Packers' bang-ups last season, Aaron Rodgers' fractured left collarbone, which kept the MVP quarterback out for seven-and-a-half games, hurt the most as things went from bad to worse. Backup Seneca Wallace suffered a season-ending groin injury, and former Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien, who began the 2013 season on the practice squad, was quickly replaced by once-and-current Packer Matt Flynn. All told, Green Bay went 2-5-1 without Rodgers, whose collarbone is now fully healed. Look for Flynn to beat out Tolzien for the backup role.
- What about the draft choices? Will, for example, Green Bay's number one, Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, work his way out of the second defense unit and live up to the hype? Will third-round pick Khyri Thornton from Southern Mississippi rise up to take the defensive end slot from Jerel Worthy, who began training camp sidelined with a lower-back injury? And will another former Badger, wide receiver and fifth-rounder Jared Abbrederis, make the squad? My answers: Maybe, no and yes.