Spriggs gets valuable lesson from Peppers

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Green Bay Packers linebacker Lerentee McCray (55) battles offensive lineman Jason Spriggs (78) during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field.

GREEN BAY - On his first day in the NFL in full pads, Green Bay Packers second-round pick Jason Spriggs was not spared from the most difficult of assignments.

He was told to go block Julius Peppers one-on-one in a team drill.

On this particular play Thursday morning on Ray Nitschke Field, he fell victim to one of Peppers’ veteran pass rush moves and would have allowed quarterback Brett Hundley to get sacked if hitting the quarterback were permitted.

“Julius got me,” Spriggs said. “Clay’s gotten me. They’re Clay and Julius. You’re going to get beat every once in awhile. Right now, I’m trying to be the best I can be and do what I can.

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The rookie left tackle realizes he’s reaping a reward for facing guys like Peppers and Matthews even on those plays when they embarrass him. It’s the first time he’s seen professional moves like that and failure is part of the learning process.

“Going against those guys, there’s not a whole lot of weight on (you),” Spriggs said. “If you can stop them, you can stop anybody. Those are two of the best guys at what they do. So, it’s also nice to get that opportunity.”

Spriggs will have the luxury of watching that sack over and over again so he can figure out what Peppers did to beat him. Every part of his game will be broken down: alignment, getting off on the snap, footwork, hand placement, balance.

It’s what training camp is for.

“For sure, you want to look at what I’m doing to force them to make that move and stuff like that,” Spriggs said. “When you’re going against someone with that kind of experience, you can really bring it (the video) out and it will show you want you need to work on and what you need to improve on.”

The athletic Spriggs could be called upon to play a key role this season. Injuries at the tackle position caused serious problems last year and Spriggs could wind up being the backup on both sides of the line.

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