The 5 Biggest Issues Facing the Green Bay Packers with OTAs Wrapping Up
The third and final set of organized team activities, or OTAs, finish up this week for the Green Bay Packers. This time together has been good for the Packers to see new players and get an idea of how veterans have developed since last year.
However, OTAs have also given the Packers an idea of what issues remain with this team. While some of these issues are really quite minuscule in the grand scheme of things, they are still things that need to get addressed before the start of the regular season.
Let's take a look at the five biggest issues facing the Packers with OTAs wrapping up. Some of these might not seem like "big" issues, but that's just because of how well the Packers roster is put together this year, which is a good thing.
Figuring Out What Is Really There at Tight End
It's possible that tight end is one of the strongest positions for the Packers this year. It's also possible that it's one of the weakest.
This is because the tight end position in Green Bay is filled with potential. And while potential is a good thing to have at a position, it can also turn into a very bad thing if players don't reach that potential.
Outside of Andrew Quarless, the Packers really don't know what they have with players like Brandon Bostick, Richard Rodgers and Colt Lyerla. Even Quarless is more of a potential player than a finished product right now.
So, what happens if none of the above players reach their full potential? That's why it's important for the Packers to figure out exactly what they have at the tight end position. If they feel like their guys aren't going to hit their respective ceilings, then they'll need to sign a free agent to come in and shore up the position.
There's definitely a chance that Quarless, Bostick, Rodgers and Lyerla will all produce in a big way this year. However, the Packers need to be prepared just in case no one reaches their potential.
Is There a Legitimate Center on the Roster?
The impact of the loss of Evan Dietrich-Smith in free agency hasn't been fully felt yet. Right now, everyone is in a sort of twilight where they think the center position is in great hands with JC Tretter and rookie Corey Linsley.
However, how can the Packers truly feel confident with two players who haven't played a single snap in the NFL? What's even more concerning is Tretter, who's expected to be the starter at center, never played the position in college.
While it's true that the Packers had success last year transitioning Dietrich-Smith from his natural position to center, that's not a guarantee that it'll work this year. With the center position becoming more and more important in the NFL, it's crucial that Green Bay figures out if it has a legitimate center on the roster.
It's a little late to do anything about it now, but they could still plan offensively around a deficiency at center, if there is one.
How Much Has Datone Jones Developed This Offseason?
With B.J. Raji moving back to nose tackle and Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett moving on in free agency, the Packers need to find new starters at defensive end.
One of those starters is absolutely going to be Mike Daniels. He had a breakout year last season in limited action and is absolutely ready for more playing time.
The second starting spot will likely go to second-year player Datone Jones. The only problem with that is Jones was far from ready to start last time we saw him on the field. Many expected him to make a huge impact as a rookie, but it simply didn't happen.
So, what happens if Jones still hasn't made the progress that the Packers need him to make? Can they rely on an injury-prone player like Jerel Worthy or rookie Khyri Thornton?
Of course, it's possible that Jones will be just fine in a starting role, but figuring out just how much Jones has developed this offseason is an issue that needs to be resolved in Green Bay.
Tramon Williams Is Still Overpaid
Cornerback Tramon Williams is set to make a cool $9.5 million this year. That happens to be the sixth-biggest cap hit for a cornerback in the league, according to Spotrac.com.
Just to give you perspective on that number for Williams, he's set to make more this year than Darrelle Revis, Leon Hall and Patrick Peterson. That's simply crazy.
There's no way that Williams' salary matches the talent he brings to the field or the impact he has for the Packers. He's definitely no longer the top cornerback on the team (that honor goes to Sam Shields), and he might not even be the second best if Casey Hayward is healthy.
With the Packers trying to work out long-term deals for wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, they could use all the cap room they can get. One way to get that cap room would be to restructure Williams' contract and force him to take a pay cut.
Where Can Micah Hyde Play?
The final issue facing the Packers is one of those good issues. It involves safety Micah Hyde and figuring out where he can play.
While he has been starting at free safety during OTAs, it's hard to believe that's where they'll actually play him. The Packers drafted Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round because they want him to start in Week 1.
So, where exactly can the Packers play Hyde? With Williams, Shields and Hayward at cornerback, there isn't much more for Hyde to see the field at that position. That really only leaves safety as a potential landing spot for Hyde.
Now, it's possible that Hyde could take Morgan Burnett's job, but Hyde isn't really a natural strong safety. Instead, look for Hyde to play more of a hybrid safety/cornerback role for the Packers.
Like we said earlier, this is a good issue for the Packers to have because it means they finally have depth and talent in the secondary. Hyde will certainly get plenty of opportunities on the field this year, but it's uncertain at what position those opportunities will be coming from.