It used to be – and especially so for the Packers – that Green Bay players saw little action in their rookie year. That’s been changing, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
On defense against the Detroit Lions, here are the rookie snap counts: Kenny Clark (42), Kyler Fackrell (37), Blake Martinez (30), Christian Ringo (24), Kentrell Brice (12), Dean Lowry (11), Brian Price (10), and Josh Hawkins (7). With the exception of Hawkins, the youngsters held up very well.
At week 3 in 2015, our first two draft choices, Damarious Randall (54 snaps) and Quinten Rollins (17) got substantial action in the defensive backfield. The other defensive rookie who got playing time was linebacker Jake Ryan, with four snaps.
On the offensive side, the only rookie to see action on Sunday was receiver Trevor Davis, with 12 snaps. I compared this with week 3 of last year, the 27- 17 win versus the Seahawks. Rookies were used even less on offense: Alonzo Harris had four snaps and Aaron Ripkowski had three.
Of the 13 rookies on the roster (I’ve included Christian Ringo, a first-year player, though technically not a rookie), the only ones who didn’t get on the field, other than on special teams, were offensive linemen Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy, backup quarterback Joe Callahan, and safety Marwin Evans. Spriggs and Evans did get some work on special teams.
There’s an upside to the Packers’ recent spate of injuries: the quality playing time these young players are getting will help to speed up their development and make them more reliable when called upon in the future.