Mailbag: Talking starting jobs at TE, S

July, 5, 2014
7/05/14
8:00
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Each week, I will ask for questions via Twitter with the hashtag #PackersMail and then will deliver the answers over the weekend.

Demovsky: If Richard Rodgers is going to be the starting tight end - and the way he performed during OTAs and minicamp, the Packers aren't ruling out that possibility - then it's going to be because of his ability to make plays in the passing game. That's why they drafted him. His receiving skills are what they're looking for in the passing game. Blocking, while important, is a secondary concern. Jermichael Finley was never a dominant blocker. Neither is Andrew Quarless, who is perhaps Rodgers' best competition for the starting job. If Rodgers continues to show the ability to catch the ball down the field like he did this offseason, then he will be the starter.

Demovsky: The way the secondary lined up in the offseason was like this: Tramon Williams and Sam Shields were the outside corners. Micah Hyde was the free safety and Morgan Burnett was the strong safety. In the nickel, Casey Hayward, who missed most of last season because of a hamstring injury, played in the slot. Where does this leave first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix? Even if Hyde ends up as the starting free safety, expect Clinton-Dix to play there in sub packages, where Hyde could move to the nickel or dime spots. Also, the Packers were impressed with the work cornerback Davon House did this offseason. Not sure how they can get him on the field, but they like what he has shown.

Demovsky: Remember when the Packers talked about Datone Jones being a three-down player when they drafted him? That never happened as a rookie, and it may not happen this year. In the offseason workouts, Jones' role appeared to be primarily as one of the two inside rushers in the sub packages. That said, Jones has talked repeatedly about how he plans to attack offensive linemen differently this year. He admitted to trying to use finesse moves last year but realized that won't work against NFL offensive linemen. He says he has the strength to be a power rusher. We'll see.

Demovsky: It would not be a mailbag without a Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb contract question. Indications are the Packers would like Nelson back, and it likely would behoove both parties to get a deal done sooner rather than later in order to then try to work out something with Cobb. The decision to draft three receivers - Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis - was more about losing Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones to retirement or free agency over the past two years than an indication that they do not plan to back Nelson or Cobb.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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