What we've learned: Packers' defense

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
5:30
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After three days of training camp practices, the Green Bay Packers are taking Tuesday off.

It's a small sample size, but before they get back on the field Wednesday morning, here's a look at what we've learned about them so far.

After looking at the offensive side of the ball, it’s time to examine the defense:

Youth movement: It's clear the Packers have moved on from the days of having three, 330-plus pound defensive linemen up front. On most days, the Packers have lined up with Datone Jones, B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels on the defensive line in the base 3-4. In order, those are players who weigh 285, 337 and an even 300. If the Packers want to go a little bigger, they have used the 310-pound Josh Boyd as a base end in place of Jones. That's a far different look than what the Packers had last year with Raji, Johnny Jolly (325) and Ryan Pickett (340).

Not so predictable: Although there are schemes defensive coordinator Dom Capers has not shown (or does not want other teams to know about yet), one thing is clear: the Packers aren't going to simply play 3-4 on first down, nickel on second down and dime on third as had become their pattern at times last season. Already, we have seen linebackers like Clay Matthews line up in spots not traditionally manned by an outside linebacker. The signing of Julius Peppers has given Capers more flexibility with the rest of his outside linebackers.

Serious about Hyde: Capers and coach Mike McCarthy would not have given so many of the starter's reps at free safety to Micah Hyde if they weren't serious about giving him significant snaps at that position even after drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. All signs point to Hyde playing safety in the base and perhaps even the nickel package and then moving to a slot position in the dime package, in which Clinton-Dix would then play free safety.

House
House call answered: Although there's no reason to think veteran cornerback Tramon Williams' job is in jeopardy, the Packers should feel good about the position behind him given Davon House's play, which has carried over from the offseason. The 24-year-old House appears to have improved his cover skills without sacrificing the physical presence he brings to the position at 6-1, 195.

Rookie linebackers: General manager Ted Thompson and his scouting staff always seem to find some hidden gems among the undrafted linebackers. This year looks like another strong class. Out of the group of the following players, it would not be a surprise to see one or two end up on the opening-day roster: Jake Doughty (inside linebacker), Joe Thomas (ILB), Jayrone Elliott (outside linebacker) and Adrian Hubbard (OLB).

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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