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5 things learned during Week 1 of Packers' OTAs

Updates on injuries, rookies and joint practices in training camp

QB Jordan Love
QB Jordan Love

GREEN BAY – The Packers had one practice and locker room session open to the media this week. Here are five things we learned:

  1. As far as the team vibe is concerned, the common refrains are "hunger" and "unfinished business."

Preparation for the new season hasn't quite hit full swing. That'll come in training camp. But as the players are back on the practice field as a full squad, including some 11-on-11 work (even though it's non-padded, non-contact), their minds are on what they're capable of achieving after a strong finish but ultimately disappointing ending to last season in San Francisco.

"I feel like we let a team off the hook last year in the playoffs and we know that," cornerback/returner Keisean Nixon said. "Everybody on this team is here for a mission and we're ready to win a Super Bowl. We're all here, locked in and it shows that we ain't nothin' to play with. We'll be ready."

Added QB Jordan Love: "That 49ers game, being that close, a game we had right there and kind of let slip away from us, it's tough. It definitely fueled us. Everybody was hungry in the locker room after and ready to get back to work and ready to get back here. Everybody being here, you can see how hungry guys are to get back to work and get ready for this season."

Speaking of QB1, Head Coach Matt LaFleur certainly appreciates his presence at these voluntary sessions and believes his attendance is a factor in the team's very high participation rate overall.

"It's everything to us," LaFleur said of Love being around. "When your quarterback's there, it just naturally has a way of attracting everybody to come.

"We're still a very young football team as well, so these guys, they want to put in the work. We've got a lot of guys that love the game and love the process of grinding together and going through some tough things together. But to have him here, you can't put a value on that."

  1. There's some significant health news to share.

Offensive lineman Zach Tom and tight end Tucker Kraft both sustained torn pectoral muscles while lifting weights this offseason, and they aren't expected back on the field until sometime in training camp.

Running back Josh Jacobs wasn't participating in practice, either, due to a hamstring issue, but he isn't expected to be out for long.

Meanwhile, defensive lineman Kingsley Enagbare has been declared full-go and doesn't even have a brace on his injured knee that was initially feared to be a torn ACL from the Dallas playoff game in January. Enagbare has avoided reconstructive surgery to this point and does not appear he'll need it.

  1. Plenty of shuffling is going on up front.

Tom's absence on the offensive line led to free-agent acquisition Andre Dillard, a former first-round draft pick, taking reps at right tackle with the No. 1 offensive line. Rookie first-round pick Jordan Morgan rotated in at right tackle while also taking some snaps at left tackle during 11-on-11 work.

Elsewhere up front, Rasheed Walker and Elgton Jenkins were the primary guys on the left side, as expected, with Josh Myers holding down the center spot on the first unit. Sean Rhyan was first up at right guard with Royce Newman rotating in. Jenkins also took some snaps at center when other line combinations were tried.

  1. The rookies will have to earn their snaps with the starting units.

For the initial 11-on-11 reps on defense, the two linebackers working with
Quay Walker were Isaiah McDuffie and Eric Wilson, while draft picks Edgerrin Cooper and Ty'Ron Hopper began with the second units.

It was similar at safety, where second-year pro Anthony Johnson Jr. was alongside veteran free agent Xavier McKinney on the No. 1 defense, with draft picks Javon Bullard and Evan Williams with the twos.

Those arrangements could change at some point this spring or summer, but for now, no rookies are stepping in as immediate starters based on the early alignments.

  1. The Packers are planning to have joint practices with two teams this summer.

LaFleur confirmed when the team travels to Denver in August, the Packers will hold one joint practice with the Broncos prior to their preseason game. One joint practice also will be held with the Ravens in Green Bay prior to the preseason finale at Lambeau Field.

"I just love getting exposure to new systems, new challenges," LaFleur said of joint practices. "You can look around the league and there's similar systems that you may or may not play, so it's good to work against that. I think it allows you to play your starters a little bit longer in a little bit more controlled setting. You're not putting them at risk at much."