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Packers lean on veterans to lead during OTAs

Veteran defensive lineman Kenny Clark works with rookie Devonte Wyatt during OTA practice.
Veteran defensive lineman Kenny Clark works with rookie Devonte Wyatt during OTA practice.(WBAY-TV)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 9:26 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s a fact of life in the NFL. Every year there will be new players, new faces in the locker room. Whether that’s by the Draft or by free agency, change and how you adapt to it is a big part of long term success.

That’s why the offseason program is important for those new editions, and especially the rookies trying to get their feet wet. The Green Bay Packers no different.

This year there is a new crop of 11 rookies, covering different units and position groups. On defense it’s a pair of first rounders learning their way, and the secret to success is as simples as following the leader.

“You have the ability to learn from everybody’s reps. That’s the only way you can maximize and expedite the learning curve, and the learning process. You better be paying attention to everyone in front of you,” said head coach Matt LaFleur.

Matt LaFleur told reporters on Tuesday things will crank up quickly for the rookies as the veterans hit the grass with them this week. That will be especially true for the third practice of the week as they install more of the systems.

“Then you’ll be able to see what they really can do when it comes camp time, or game time, and then we build it. We’ve got vets at every position. When you come in, you come with the group, and everybody can hold each other accountable,” said safety Adrian Amos.

Cornerback Eric Stokes has a lot in common with the rookie class. Especially first round picks Quay Walker and DeVonte Wyatt, who played with the second year corner at Georgia.

So of course the former Bulldog has plenty of advice after playing over 800 snaps as a rookie himself.

“Just letting them know that once you get that confidence, once you’ve figured out everything and you playing at your top notch. Like once you know what you’ve got going on, everything else is just like college. You just went against all these people at UGA. You know all this stuff. Once you get your feet up underneath you, everything else is just like playing back there,” said Eric Stokes.

The secondary is one unit that has plenty of consistency heading into the season with Rasul Douglas back after hitting free agency, and star corner Jaire Alexander coming back from a shoulder injury.

Still they have to replace Chandon Sullivan, who played the ‘star’ position, but left for Minnesota in free agency.

“We’re happy to be back together for another year. We’ve got Smash back, Jaire back, Rasul back, you know we’ve got Eric back. So for the most part, our communication, that’s what makes a secondary. The way you’re able to communicate and be on the same page. For us all being back there together, it will be a good experience for us to keep growing together and learning more about each other which in turn helps us play faster, smarter,” said safety Darnell Savage.

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