Football is right around the corner. Seriously. Not a joke. The Green Bay Packers hosted four sessions of organized team activities (OTAs) beginning in late May and wrapping up June 6. Before mandatory minicamp begins Tuesday -- the final block of practices of the offseason – we thought we’d look back at what we learned from OTAs this year. Now, we can’t find out too much about the X’s and O’s in these practices, so we looked elsewhere to put together the biggest five takeaways from Packers OTAs. Read on:
The first-round picks look good in green and gold
Selected 12th and 21st overall in the 2019 draft, expectations are high for safety Darnell Savage and linebacker Rashan Gary. Now, we won’t know much about their production on the field until training camp, but we can say it’s exciting to see these players in a Packers uniform (check them out here and here). We learned a bit about Savage during OTAs via a Q&A hosted on the Packers’ Twitter feed. Savage’s favorite movie is “Bad Boys II,” his favorite show is the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and his favorite fast food combo is wings and fries. Note: “Bad Boys” would be a great nickname for a shut-down secondary. Just throwing it out there. Anyway, Gary has been active on Twitter as well. He created a hashtag #PutCheeseOnEverything that he includes in all of his Packers-related tweets, which follows the diet that Wisconsin natives have been loyally following for decades. Hey, speaking of diets …
USA TODAY SportsChristopher Hanewinckel
Aaron Jones has slimmed down
Jones might be just a hair quicker this season. According to Packers.com, Jones cut his body fat in half from 11% to 5.3%, mostly gummy bears -- seriously -- out of his diet. Jones has already proven that he deserves to receive the bulk of the looks from the Packers’ backfield moving forward. He logged 934 total yards and nine touchdowns on 156 touches last season, his second in the NFL. Jones also averaged 5.5 yards per carry, which is head-and-shoulders above his backfield mate Jamaal Williams (3.8 YPC). Rookie Dexter Williams, selected in the sixth round (194th overall) after rushing for 1,636 yards and 20 touchdowns at Notre Dame, is a candidate to take a few looks away from Williams, but Jones’ primary role should be secure. After all, the Packers need to reward him somehow. The man can’t eat Twizzlers anymore.
USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinUSA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Matt LaFleur isn't messing around
If a football team really does take on the personality of its head coach, the Packers are in good hands. LaFleur has already shown his gritty side. The 39-year-old suffered a torn Achilles while playing pick-up basketball May 29 at Lambeau Field, but he pushed through the pain to throw out the first pitch at the Packers’ charity softball game just a few days later. LaFleur delivered a strike, even with a walking boot serving as his stride step. LaFleur underwent surgery last Sunday but was back on the field Tuesday -- just two days later -- for OTAs. That’s grit.
Aaron Rodgers can’t chug beer
Perhaps the biggest storyline of the Packers’ offseason so far -- definitely bigger than the draft and free agency -- was the exposure of Rodgers’ lack of beer chugging skills. During Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors, the in-arena cameras captured a beer chugging contest between Rodgers and left tackle David Bakhtiari. Bakhtiari began the event by easily slugging down two beers. The camera then whizzed over to the other side of the court and showed Rodgers, quarterback of the most popular football team in the state and a minority owner of the Bucks, struggle to take down a full beer. Bakhtiari chugged three beers in an average of 3.37 seconds per beverage, while Rodgers drank a half of a beer in 8.45 seconds. To make things even worse, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich showed up Rodgers later in the game, which was followed by NFC North quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mitchell Trubisky releasing videos to do the same. The good news for Rodgers, however, is Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins probably couldn’t chug a room temperature glass of chocolate milk.
Everybody loves Bart Starr
Starr, the Packers legendary quarterback from 1956-71, passed away May 26 in his native Birmingham, Ala. He was one of the most, if not the most, beloved Packers player of all time. Starr, who was the first quarterback in history to win five National Football League championships, passed for 24,718 yards and 152 touchdowns over his 16-year career. Many football legends reached out on Twitter to share a few words about Starr, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, former Packers players Donald Driver and Brett Favre, as well as former Super Bowl champions Troy Aikman and John Elway. Rest in peace, Bart.