Three Packers Who Refuse to Be Baited Into Camp Controversy

Taking the high road helps locker room.

When quarterback Tim Boyle sat down to do his media interview at training camp, he knew what the questions were going to be. He knew he would be asked how he felt about the Packers moving up in the first round to take Jordan Love. He knew the beat writers would be probing for any signs of resentment or disgruntled attitude upon which they could construct a story angle. This would have been his chance to vent any frustrations about not being respected or being overlooked or taken for granted.

Sure enough, the question came shortly into the session. What was your reaction on draft night when the Love selection was announced? Boyle didn't hesitate. His answer was honest and eloquent. But if reporters were hoping for fuel to start a fire, they didn't get it. "It's honestly a feeling I'll probably never forget. Just seeing the name Jordan Love pop up. My heart dropped a little bit, but at that point it's out of your control and it's time to go back to work, and that's kind of how I approached my off season."

Then camp started and Boyle and Love had to work together and help each other. Any problem with that? "Jordan's a great guy and we're obviously very lucky to have him.......whether I'm two, or three, or P squad or whatever they have me doing I just want to help the team......I'm just going to handle my reps and be there for Aaron and be there for Jordan and continue to be a good, positive, shining light on this team."

For the past three seasons, running back Jamal Williams has watched teammate Aaron Jones get most of the accolades and attention, not to mention playing time, while he came in and did much of the heavy lifting, like short yardage power running and pass protection, and filling in when Jones was hurt, which was often. Then last spring he sees his team spend a second round draft pick on a running back.....not just any running back, but in A.J. Dillon, a power back with basically the same skill set as himself. How about it Jamal? Isn't there just a wee bit of resentment? "He's doing a great job (referring to Dillon). Really he's just doing what he knows what to do and that's run the ball and making plays and he looks good......We're all working for each other and, you know, we're just having fun with it."

Yeah but come on Jamal. Surely you must realize that you are in the final year of your contract and Dillon is the likely guy to make you expendable? "I can't predict the future. I love every minute I've been here with the Packers. It's been love since I've been here......I'm just doing everything I can to make myself a better player, a weapon, somebody you want on your team."

Undrafted free agent Robert Tonyan worked himself up from unheralded camp body two years ago, to promising potential starter last season.   After making a magnificent catch against Dallas, Tonyan was injured and was mostly a non factor the rest of the season.   Last year the Packers drafted Jace Sternberger in the third round.   Then this spring they used another third round pick on Josiah Deguara.   Tonyan couldn't be blamed if he's thinking the team has given up on him.    "It's a business.   I can't control what Gutey does upstairs or Matt does upstairs.   Only thing I can control is the best me."  

But the prospect of battling for playing time behind Sternberger and Deguara and even veteran Marcedes Lewis can't be too inviting, right?   "However I'm getting on the field, whatever position I'm going to be, whatever you need me as, I'm just going to do that to my full ability, to the best I can and think that's gonna be more than enough for this football team." 

Three players who could have come into camp with an ax to grind, potentially threatening a delicate locker room environment.   Instead all have taken the high road, handling their situations like consummate professionals with a team first attitude.   You can be a skeptic.   You can say these guys are just saying what they are supposed to say, what management wants them to say, indeed what they may have been instructed  to say.   But I believe they are sincere and it makes me want to pull and cheer for them even more, even though I recognize that the more they play, the more opportunity it takes away from the development of younger players who need to get on the field.

What's more, their play in camp backs up their talk.   By most accounts, Boyle has outplayed Jordan Love thus far for the back-up quarterback slot.   Jamal Williams has been his usual jovial self, joining in the playful kidding about Dillon's tree trunk legs, praising and encouraging everybody in the running back room, even wearing a Joker mask during his media conference.   Tonyan has made more than one eye-opening catch in camp and is serving notice he is not ready to simply step aside for Sternberger and DeGuara.

This classy "All for one and one for all" team mentality is also a tribute to Matt LaFleur and his staff for the locker room environment they've been able to establish and maintain, as well as the example set by veteran player leaders like Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari and Zadarious Smith, whose gregarious approaches to the job are contagious.

At least to this observer, it looks like this team will stick together, and that will pay off once the season begins.   I can't wait to see it manifest itself in those close games the Packers always seem to play.

-----------------------------------

Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

NFL Categories: 
13 points

Comments (18)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Turophile's picture

August 24, 2020 at 06:50 am

Everything about the Packers training camp is just too damn positive. Boyle, Sullivan, MVS, Gary, Shepherd, Keke, Kirksey, Kamal Martin and so on, not to mention Rodgers is looking sharp................it's all too much.

I keep feeling something terrible must happen to counterbalance all the positivism - fingers toes and eyes crossed, to keep the good times rolling.

2 points
5
3
optimisticfan's picture

August 24, 2020 at 07:56 am

Turo,
You’re right that the media is emphasizing the positive plays mostly. That probably is due to:
1) Many of the players are legitimately competing well
2) Media reporters, like many of us, are in a good mood since they have football to actually watch (rose colored glasses?)
3) Their vantage point is a little farther away and at angles where they might miss the nuanced negative aspects of plays

Here is a dose of reality:
The OL sounds like a work in progress still

The OL should be somewhat. But the start of the season is a few weeks away. So hopefully Clark, Keke, Lowry, (Z. Smith soon), P. Smith, Gary, Tipa Galaei, Tim Williams etc are just showing how much quality the starters for DL/OLB could have this year. Even though the depth at the 5th DL player is still a drop off. But the OL may be a work in progress for many weeks into the season.

Overall though I’m optimistic with the good reports of potential starters on both sides of the ball.

2 points
5
3
Mcdaws's picture

August 24, 2020 at 07:51 am

I’m choosing to be optimistic and ride the joy. Knock on wood, right now, man! The competition brings it out and guys are making jumps, I love the composition of the team and the progress they’re making.

-2 points
1
3
Roadrunner23's picture

August 24, 2020 at 07:11 am

Packer people it’s a tradition in GB

1 points
2
1
Mcdaws's picture

August 24, 2020 at 07:40 am

Great points- they rose to the occasion- who saw Boyle and Tonyan looking this good thus far. Great article and angle.

0 points
1
1
SpikeHyzer's picture

August 24, 2020 at 03:57 pm

It's Boyle I never saw looking good.
I was sold on Tonyan when he made that great catch and got injured because he had been lighting it up on camp that year as well.
It was a fluke injury, but I think he will end up being the starter and Marcedes Lewis will be the one cut.
Always loved Williams, but he could be cut or traded.
I would not be surprised to see the Pack trade Boyle during the year to a team with aspirations to contend and lacking talent only at QB.
May as well get something for him while he's peaking. Like Matt Flynn!

-1 points
0
1
stockholder's picture

August 24, 2020 at 07:46 am

Great Draft? Yet everyone had SURPRISED on their mind. Which tells me that the experts were right! Don't burn bridges. Can't change it now. Stay positive. Well I'm all for being positive. But speculation is one thing. The super-bowl another. The players leaving: Martinez, Graham, and Bulaga. All have a different opinion. And thats the worry. Are we getting propaganda? Or are these players the next piece to the super-bowl. If a coach like pettine was on the hot seat. Why draft offense? If a team can't stop the run. Why? I get stock piling positions. But we couldn't stop the run in SF. The trench is where games are won and lost. Why didn't Gutey stock -pile the DL/LBs. He sure didn't help Rodgers. And it looks like were one player away from a disaster on the DL. Toys are one thing. We needed men, ready to grow up and be champions.

-2 points
3
5
Bure9620's picture

August 24, 2020 at 09:55 am

I get the sentiment, however every single team loses players in FA. It is also not uncommon for those players to speak glowingly about their new situation and new team comparatively to where there were.....Jimmy Graham basically saying how great the the Bears organization is and how their main focus is the Super Bowl and the Packers is not gave me quite a chuckle........The Packers also got The Smiths and Amos to come to GB.....as far as not stopping the run, the main failure was Pettine...not making adjustments was ridiculous..........Gary also barely played in that game and is quite good against the run..why was he not on the field helping set the edge and moving in space against Mostert??

0 points
1
1
Lphill's picture

August 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

You are exactly right about Gary .

0 points
1
1
Bearmeat's picture

August 24, 2020 at 08:32 am

These guys (And ARod!) are exactly right. It's a business. Gute does his job, and he will be held responsible for it. Ditto ARod. MLF. And, themselves.

"My" office is not actually "mine." It belongs to the taxpayers of my state. My name is temporarily on the door. And that's fine. It's why I will ask for a raise unabashedly every time I think I deserve one. And, if I don't get it, and I don't like the reason why I don't get it, I'm free to leave for a better position if I can find it... and then my bosses can be responsible for finding a competent replacement for me.

Employees that look for grievance will always find it. Do your job. Control what you can control. And expect others to do theirs. If they don't, they'll be gone... or if the business you work for is that bad that they're not, then you will do a good job and can work your way to a better position elsewhere.

6 points
8
2
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 24, 2020 at 10:04 am

Bearmeat,
Phenomenal post! One of best ever!

How absolutely true!

Nost, the Packers did bring Jim McMahon aboard for a year (maybe two?) and he definitely wasn't Packer people. :)

1 points
1
0
TheVOR's picture

August 24, 2020 at 09:26 am

Truly excited for Tim Boyle, he'll have a huge opportunity in front of him, he just needs to do exactly what he's doing. Work hard, impress, and let Jordan Love worry about Tim Boyle, not the other way around. Boyle is balling out right now, exactly what he needs to be doing! If Boyles performance curve continues arching up, we won't care what happens to Jordan Love, or if he's bust, or anything, all we'll care about is if Tim Boyle can be the next decent young QB in line for the job.

Lets just hope the Gutz, Matt, and the Packers don't feel some dumb ##$ obligation to force Jordan Love onto the field, unless he's "GENUINELY BETTER" than Tim Boyle. All this BS about, gee, I drafted a QB in the first round, I need to get him on the field? That's just losing thought process IMO. Right now he isn't even close. In fact I'd say if Love had been a late round pick, he'd be in danger of being released based upon his lack of showing any Significant Skill Set. Tim Boyle is balling out and making the #2 spot all his, the way it should be. Great Job Tim, keep it up, iron sharpens iron!

-2 points
4
6
Bure9620's picture

August 24, 2020 at 09:57 am

Jordan Love is the future starter, and his upside is a massively higher ceiling than Tim Boyle...................

-2 points
2
4
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 24, 2020 at 10:10 am

I dont think anyone knows if Love is the Packers future starter. While I hope Love's talent is far superior to the ascending Tim Boyle I want Love to earn that starting spot over Boyle. If Boyle out performs Love than Boyle should be the starter. Worst thing possible is giving a starting position over someone else with more talent based on draft position.

1 points
1
0
Bure9620's picture

August 24, 2020 at 04:38 pm

The Packers traded up in the first to go get THEIR guy.....Love is their guy.......He will be the starter by 2022.....if not sooner......

-1 points
0
1
malta1099's picture

August 24, 2020 at 01:33 pm

Great post! Reinforces my love for the Packers.

0 points
1
1
Packers0808's picture

August 24, 2020 at 02:28 pm

Actually seems there is a lot of great competition going on in many of these spots and positions of where who stands where in the pecking order! Sounds like a very healthy attitude and competition going on!

3 points
3
0
Stroh's picture

August 24, 2020 at 04:22 pm

Its a tribute to LaFleur just like it was McCarthy. The Packers don't hire HC or players that aren't team players. Never head an grumblings during the McCarthy era either did we?!

-1 points
0
1