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Packers talented and deep on offense

Posted Jun 24, 2014

Training camp will feature competition at several positions

GREEN BAY—Tom Clements’ spring-ending comments could’ve been applied to his offense with a broad brush.

“There’s a lot of competition there. We’re excited and we’ll see what happens when we get the pads on,” Clements said.

About what position was he speaking? Center? Tight end? Tackle? Wide receiver?

He might as well have been speaking about all of them.

The Packers are a month away from the start of a training camp and a season that could produce the most prolific and balanced offense in Packers history. Turn in any direction and you’ll see quality and depth.

Start with tackle. Bryan Bulaga is back on the right side following a season in which David Bakhtiari established himself as the best new blindside pass protector in the game. Depth? Former first-round pick Derek Sherrod appears to be finally recovered from his broken leg, and if that’s not depth enough, how about Don Barclay, who’s been a fixture at right tackle since the midway through the 2012 season?

Guard? Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are the modern-day version of Kramer and Thurston. Second-year man Lane Taylor is depth.

Center? Evan Dietrich-Smith left in free agency, but the Packers have drafted each of the last two years for the position. JC Tretter, a fourth-round pick in 2013, appears to have the lead over this year’s fifth-round pick, Corey Linsley, and holdover Garth Gerhart.

How about that receiving corps?

“The wide receiver group is the deepest I can recall, and the same thing at tight end,” Clements said.

Second-round pick Davante Adams is just one of many challengers to Jarrett Boykin’s hold on the No. 3 wide receiver spot. Draft picks Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis had their moments in the spring, and making it as a wide receiver on this team might be more difficult than it is anywhere else in the league.

Andrew Quarless is the Packers’ No. 1 tight end, but he was sidelined by injury during the spring and third-round pick Richard Rodgers seized the opportunity to make a strong bid to be written deeply into the passing game script.

How about running back?

Eddie Lacy is one of the game’s top feature backs and James Starks is one of the game’s best complementary backs. Can DuJuan Harris seize the role of utility back? That would seem to be the only question at running back this summer. Johnathan Franklin has been lost to injury, so Harris would seem to inherit the role.

“It’s a deep group at running back and it’ll be fun to see them compete in training camp,” Clements said. “Eddie was a workhorse last year. James, when he got in there, ran hard and that was a great 1-2 punch.”

How about quarterback?

Again, the key word is competition. Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien will be battling for the No. 2 spot, and they each got quality reps at crunch time last year.

“We’ll have enough weapons to do what we want to do,” Clements said.

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