5 things learned at Packers training camp – Aug. 17

Notes on Tim Boyle’s strong start, Tyler Ervin’s versatility and Aaron Rodgers enjoying the first week of camp

QB Tim Boyle

GREEN BAY – After getting Sunday off, the Packers returned to Ray Nitschke Field for the second practice of training camp on Monday morning.

Here are five things learned from the 1-hour, 44-minute session:

1. Tim Boyle continues to come into his own as a QB.

August typically has been when Boyle shines brightest, and this year has been no exception for the Packers' third-year quarterback despite not having a physical offseason program.

Boyle has looked sharp through the first two practices. He opened camp with a deep ball on the money to Marquez Valdes-Scantling before leading second-year receiver Darrius Shepherd perfectly on a pass down the seam in a team period on Tuesday.

"This is the second time in my career since I want to say high school I've had back-to-back (years in one) system, so it's definitely helpful," Boyle said. "I felt comfortable. The terminology is coming to me. I'm definitely seeing the defense a lot smoother. Year 2, in this system, Year 3, overall, obviously being behind '12' has helped me out a bunch, too."

The 6-foot-4, 232-pound quarterback, who served as Aaron Rodgers' primary backup last season, said his "heart dropped a little bit" when the team drafted Jordan Love in the first round but it only served as extra motivation heading into 2020.

Boyle spent his offseason back home in Connecticut. Unable to travel to Green Bay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he altered his training to compensate for not having organized team activities and minicamp practices to work on fundamentals.

Instead, he huddled up a few Division I receivers and local NFL players to help him rep the Packers' installs, simulating everything from calling plays in the huddle to going through his progressions. Individually, Boyle also cleaned up his diet to get in the best shape possible for whenever he returned to Green Bay.

While thrilled to be back to work again, Boyle knows his performance in practice cannot waver – especially with no extended action in preseason games. Last year, he won the No. 2 job over DeShone Kizer after completing 34-of-57 passes for 356 yards with six TDs and no INTs (112.9 passer rating) in four preseason appearances.

Right now, Boyle isn't thinking about how the QB depth chart will sort out after Love's addition. That's out of his control. His focus is merely on taking the next step and building on the strides he made last year.

"I think Coach (Luke) Getsy said it, I came into myself a little bit and got comfortable," Boyle said. "I was able to speak openly and I wasn't that shy anymore. I felt like I had a voice and I felt respected, which was nice. But being around '12' is helpful from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint."

2. Tyler Ervin could bring another dimension to the offense.

The Packers found a diamond in the waiver-wire rough last December when General Manager Brian Gutekunst claimed Ervin off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The fifth-year running back not only turned around the Packers' return units (24.3 yards per kickoff, 7.2 yards per punt), but he also began to factor into the offense by year's end.

Dubbed "Swerve" by teammates, Ervin picked up 46 total yards on five touches as an offensive gadget player for Green Bay down the stretch. And given his pass-catching abilities, the 5-foot-10, 192-pounder could very well do that again.

"I think there's a great opportunity," Ervin said. "I've just got to go out there and work hard and continue to try to earn a spot. I think we're all out here competing and that's just the best part about being a part of the group guys on this offense."

3. Rodgers is still having fun in his 16th NFL training camp.

Sporting a horseshoe mustache for the start of camp, Rodgers has been as playful and fun-loving as ever on the practice field this week.

That same energy has carried over into the position room, with light-hearted jokes he's traded with Boyle, Love and position coach Luke Getsy.

"Aaron's been awesome," Boyle said. "To be quite honest with you, this is probably the best mood I've seen him in training camp. Not that he's been in bad moods, but he's spunky, he's throwing jokes around. I think part of it is the comfort level of the offense."

Added Head Coach Matt LaFleur: "He's been so much fun to be around not only on the field but in the meeting room, as well. He's bringing great energy. He's been super positive."

4. AJ Dillon is flashing his pass-catching ability.

While one catch in training camp does not make an NFL career, Dillon made one of the plays of Tuesday's practice when he looked a Boyle pass in through traffic during an early team period.

There were some questions about the rookie second-round pick's pass-catching prowess after he had only 21 receptions in three years at Boston College, but the Packers have been vocal about his upside there.

"I think he's definitely demonstrated the ability to show those natural hands," LaFleur said. "He can reach and pluck it out in front of him. It's more or less just getting that experience throughout practice and putting him in situations where he has to do it. And today he showed that he can."

5. Christian Kirksey grabs the first interception of camp.

On the eve of the first padded practice Tuesday, new linebacker Kirksey recorded the first interception of training camp off a zone drop in an early team period.

Later on, rookie safety Vernon Scott added two pass deflections in 11-on-11. Overall, LaFleur was pleased with the tempo of practice. For the second consecutive workout, there was only one delay of game, and no false starts.

"I thought the tempo again was good," LaFleur said. "I've been pretty impressed with their leadership out there, their command and everybody else responding and getting out of the huddle with urgency and to the line of scrimmage."

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