Packers sophomores looking to surge not slump

David Bakhtiari (69) goes through pass rush drills with Clay Matthews (52)
David Bakhtiari (69) goes through pass rush drills with Clay Matthews (52)

Packers’ fans and coaches alike have lofty expectations for the second year guys. The difference between a rookie and second year player is widely seen as the biggest jump in skill level a player will make in their career.

That’s a steep challenge for Eddie Lacy. The running back was the offensive rookie of the year in 2013. He’s leaving last year’s accolades behind. “Now that I’m here it’s year two and the same mindset is to go out and play football,” Lacy said.

Expectations aren’t such a bad thing though. Especially when compared to the sometimes awkward life of being a rookie. David Bakhtiari told a story to illustrate the difference between year one and two. He remembered trying to explain on the phone to a friend back home where rookies rank in the food chain of training camp. “I have no idea. I’m just trying to not get beat every time in practice. Don’t expect much from me. I’m just going to go out there and work,” Bakhtiari said with a smile.

Micah Hyde said he’s got lots of friends in the locker room and feels very comfortable away from Lambeau as well but the wasn’t always the case. “Oh man way different, I was telling some guys yesterday that at this point last year I didn’t have any friends in training camp.”

Former first round pick Datone Jones managed 3 1/2 sack during limited snaps his rookie season. He’s not focusing on any specific goals just improvement. “For me I’m not really setting any expectations for me I’m just trying to help this defense and play fast and play physical,” Jones said.

Mike McCarthy thinks Jones is ready to be the impactful player he showed glimpses of last season. “I’d say Datone is stronger. He looks explosive,” McCarthy said.

Another second year player who drew McCarthy’s praise is Micah Hyde who’s adding safety to his resume after playing cornerback last season and in college. “Micah Hyde is a football player. I think you can line him up anywhere,” McCarthy said. Hyde explained he’s still getting work at both positions and needs to be ready to play wherever the coaches want him to line up. He is getting more comfortable at safety though. “I think every day with experience I get a little better but I’m still thinking. I’ll be doing that for a couple of weeks until I get this playbook down,” Hyde said.

We’ll get to see as training camp and the season progress just how much the draft class of 2013 can accomplish in 2014.

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