GREEN BAY - Jordan Tripp didn’t play a defensive snap for the Green Bay Packers last season, but he left a strong impression.
An inside linebacker by trade, Tripp quickly became one of the Packers' top special-teams players after they acquired him from the Seattle Seahawks in December. He finds himself in a favorable position early in camp, playing with the first group on all special-teams units.
It gives Tripp a genuine chance to make the 53-man roster, should he hold onto all four special-teams jobs. Core special teamers line up for kickoff coverage and return, as well as punt coverage and return.
Tripp said he caught onto special teams coordinator Ron Zook’s schemes “right away” after arriving last season.
“You either catch on quick,” Tripp said, “or you don’t get a chance. That’s how this league is. You have to take advantage of your opportunities and make it happen. Because if you don’t, they’ll find someone who will.”
The Packers had three traditional inside linebackers take defensive snaps last season: Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez and Joe Thomas. Many teams with a 3-4 base defense keep at least four at the position, making inside linebacker an ideal position for the Packers to keep a core special teamer.
There’s still a long way to go in camp, but Tripp picked up where he left off last season. If it continues, don’t be surprised to see him on the 53.
“Just continue to maximize every single shot that you get,” Tripp said. “If you have an opportunity to block a punt, you have to block a punt. If you have an opportunity to block your man, say you’re able to shoot that guy free for a long return or a touchdown, you have to do that. Whatever it is, you have to execute it with the proper technique, and make sure you do it when it’s crunch time. Because you don’t get a second chance.”