As the Packer players head out of Green Bay via either Austin Stroubel Airport or down Interstate 43 South, the conclusion of the mandatory mini camp means we are now at about 30 days and counting until training camp.
With a new defense, new coaches, and some intriguing positional battles; this mini camp seemed to give us some insight on what to expect when August rolls around.
It is pretty clear after the end of offseason OTA's and the mini camp that Dom Capers and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac will not hesitate to put rookie BJ Raji at left defensive end and Ryan Pickett at nose tackle to make for a tough defensive front versus opposing teams running games.
With Cullen Jenkins expected to be ready to take part in all of training camp, and re-claim his starting spot at right defensive end, the starting defensive line in the base formation looks to be bigger and stronger than last season.
Second year tight end Jermichael Finley has spent a lot of practice time with the first team offense. With good speed and hands he could provide a big down field target that the offense lacked from the tight end spot in 2008.
With a good training camp he could unseat Donald Lee as the starter this fall.
If one single player has seemed to thrive in the new 3-4 scheme, it is Jeremy Thompson. After a disappointing 2008 season as a 4-3 defensive end, he has lost ten pounds, is in the best shape of his life, and seems to be a great fit at right outside linebacker.
Thompson could win the starting job from Brady Poppinga and rookie Clay Matthews III with a solid pre-season and training camp.
Allen Barbre has looked smooth at right tackle and lined up with the first team offense throughout offseason OTA's and mini camp.
Second year tackle Breno Giacomini has yet to take the field as he recovers from surgery, hurting his chances of winning the job.
Rookie TJ Lang looks like he will be a good pro football player, but Packer coaches are concerned about making the rookie a starter.
These three will battle it out in training camp for the starting spot. But at this point it looks like the job is Barbre's to lose.
A confident Jason Spitz has lined up as the starting center throughout the offseason. With incumbent starter Scott Wells having missed all of the offseason recovering from surgery, his odds of winning his job back appear to be slim.
With a mean streak that reminds some of former Packer starting center Frank Winters, Spitz looks to upgrade the middle of the line as he will battle the mammoth defensive tackles in the NFC North.
Second year right guard Josh Sitton nearly won a starting guard spot last season before suffering an injury right before the start of the season.
This year he heads to training camp with a leg up on the competition. If he stays healthy he should emerge as the starter.
Like Spitz, Sitton plays "mean" and finishes blocks.
With a new contract in his back pocket that will keep him a Packer for four more years and set him up financially for life, expect Greg Jennings to only get better as he and Rodgers aim to make the Packer offense dominating.
Pro Bowl free safety Nick Collins wants what Greg Jennings now has, a fat contract extension.
Collins attended only a couple OTA practices and looked lost in mini camp.
After experiencing the death of his father as well as his unhappiness with his contract situation, Collins is mulling a training camp holdout.
With a new defensive scheme and many youngsters vying for playing time at safety, Packer fans and coaches hope to see Collins at training camp in mind and body from day one.
Holdover starter Jeremy Kapinos and second year player and former Redskin Durant Brooks will battle it out for the starting punting job.
Last season punting woes hurt the team all season and were costly in losing several close games.
After Brooks looked stronger in OTA's, Kapinos seemed to have the upper hand, or upper leg, during mini camp. Whoever wins this battle will be under pressure to improve over Derrick Frost's disaster of last season.
This may be the single most important battle of training camp.
As the previous slides have demonstrated, there will be some spirited battles when training camp convenes in August.
Fortunately for the Packers, the quarterback position is set in stone. No drama with Brett Favre. No constant criticism over whether Rodgers can stay healthy.
Like it or not Packer fans, this is Aaron Rodgers' team now. And from all appearances he looks ready to build on last season and make this team a playoff team!
Let all Packer fans unite and embrace this talented and young roster and support them as they look to re-claim the NFC North title!