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Five storylines as Packers open training camp

Plenty to watch for as preparation for 2023 moves forward


GREEN BAY – The Packers hit the field for the first practice of their 2023 training camp on Wednesday morning.

Here are five key storylines as camp begins.

1. Who will win the open starting safety job?

Based on the lineups seen during spring workouts, Darnell Savage is one starting safety, and the top contenders for the companion spot are Rudy Ford, Jonathan Owens and Tarvarius Moore. All three rotated in alongside Savage with the No. 1 defense during OTAs and minicamp.

Dallin Leavitt, Innis Gaines and rookie seventh-round pick Anthony Johnson Jr. are in the mix as well, but none made a move to join the other three in the first-team rotation. Ford has the most experience in Green Bay's system, Owens was a full-time starter last year in Houston, and Moore was a starter in San Francisco before an Achilles injury wiped out his 2021 season.

2. Where does Zach Tom fit best along the offensive line?

Coaches have said Tom could compete for a starting job at right tackle, right guard and maybe even center. Throughout the spring, Jon Runyan was the regular right guard with the No. 1 offensive line, and Josh Myers took all the first-team reps at center. Little seemed to be changing there.

Right tackle was where the competition appeared to be focused, between Tom and Yosh Nijman. Circumstances could always shift again, but it could be starting right tackle or versatile sixth man for Tom.

3. When are Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes coming back?

The two defenders saw their 2022 seasons end in the same game, at Detroit in Week 9, due to different injuries. Gary has been rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery (torn ACL) while Stokes has dealt with knee and foot issues, the Lisfranc injury in his foot the most significant.

No timetable has been shared regarding their potential return to the field, but both players gave positive reports about their rehab in the spring. It's wait and see until they get the green light medically.

4. Will the rookie kicker prove to be ready?

The Packers drafted Auburn kicker Anders Carlson in the sixth round to replace the franchise's all-time leading scorer Mason Crosby, who remains unsigned as a free agent.

It's the most significant change afoot (pun intended) on special teams, where the Packers are also replacing long snapper Jack Coco with either veteran Matt Orzech or undrafted rookie Broughton Hatcher, but are otherwise bringing their units back intact.

Carlson showed a big leg in the spring and appears to be past the injury problems that impacted his last two college seasons. The spotlight doesn't get any brighter for a player in his position.

5. How quickly can the young perimeter weapons get up to speed with Jordan Love?

This is the topic that will dominate camp discussions, of course. The Packers have a new starting QB in Love and used top 100 draft picks on three perimeter weapons – receiver Jayden Reed and tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft – to join second-year receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.

A lot of growing and meshing needs to take place for the Packers to figure out exactly what their passing game is going to look like in 2023.