Packers rookie corner Eric Stokes keeping confident despite rough days

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers rookie cornerback Eric Stokes might have to accept that his nickname while he’s here is going to be “Snacks.”

It’s a lot better than “Toast,” which is every cornerback’s worst nightmare given the implication that he is getting burned a lot by opposing receivers.

Stokes is getting burned a lot in training camp, but the fact all-pro Davante Adams is doing a lot of it has kept Stokes' spirits high. The first-round pick out of Georgia is experiencing what Jaire Alexander did three years ago and it wound up making him a better cornerback.

“The one thing you have to have is confidence,” Stokes said. “The moment you start losing confidence is when your play starts dropping. And that’s one thing I refuse to let happen is for me to lose my confidence.

“I’m going to come out and if I lose the rep then, ‘You got me on this one, but guess what, I’m going to get you on another one.’ I’m just going to keep that competitive nature, that competitive edge to where it doesn’t matter who it is in front of me, I feel like I should win day in and day out.”

Packers cornerback Eric Stokes (21) and tight end Josiah Deguara (81) ride bike to the practice field during the first day of training camp.

 Alexander has helped Stokes learn how the position is played in the NFL, but not without a price. The third-year veteran has put Stokes in charge of buying snacks for the defensive back room and it’s starting to eat a hole in the rookie’s wallet.

“He kept saying, ‘Bring more snacks, bring more snacks,’ so Sunday I went to Target and I bought a lot of snacks,” Stokes said. “Like, a lot of snacks. And so he said, ‘You’re cool, rook.’ He literally said, ‘Rook.’

“So, the snack issue is a done deal for right now. But I know for a fact they’ll be gone by Friday.”

Stokes is getting all his snaps with the No. 1 defense in place of Kevin King, who is on the non-football injury list with a hamstring pull. It means he might be on Adams one play or Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Allen Lazard on another.

Stokes’ blazing speed (4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day) gives him an inherent advantage against most receivers, but if speed were the only thing that mattered there would be a lot of former wide receivers playing cornerback in the NFL.

As Alexander found out, every single snap he took against Adams his rookie year laid the foundation for him to make the Pro Bowl in his third season. Stokes is taking the same approach that Alexander did and asking a lot of questions of Adams and the other receivers.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also offered to be of service if Stokes had any questions about how they attacked him on a specific play.

“I just like his mentality that he's not afraid to make a mistake,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “And I think that's as much as anything, you usually learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes.

“He continues to battle, and I think that’s what we'll see as we progress further into camp. But really excited about his potential.”

Ramsey out long-term

The Packers suffered their first major injury when outside linebacker Randy Ramsey hurt his ankle in practice Monday.

He was helped off the field and LaFleur reported that the injury was worse than the team hoped and they weren’t sure when Ramsey would be back.

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“It's a shame because he's done so much in terms of bringing that special teams value, but also he's reliable when we've been putting him in there on defense and was bringing some much needed depth to that position. 

“Other guys are going to have to pick up the slack. But I feel bad for him. He's worked really hard. I think he's improved a lot over the course of two seasons. Hopefully, we'll get him back. I know it was definitely not one of those injuries you'd like to have.”

Lowry looking to bounce back

Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery kept trying to get defensive lineman Dean Lowry to stop thinking so much and play without hesitation and finally late in the 2000 season, Lowry started to show up.

Overall, he played his lowest percentage of snaps since 2017 and registered just three sacks and two passes batted down.

Lowry said the change to new coordinator Joe Barry’s system should benefit him because it will give him a chance to play different positions along the defensive line.

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“I won't get too much into specifics, but I think it does fit me really well,” he said. “ I think one of my strengths is that I am versatile. So, lining up at three-technique or five- or six-technique (and getting) just different matchups.

“I think Coach Barry, he knows our personnel, so he knows how to get guys lined up to where they're going to be effective. So, I'm excited about it.”

Roster move

The Packers placed wide receiver Bailey Gaither on the reserve/retired list and signed undrafted rookie Daniel Crawford, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound tight end out of Northern Illinois.

Crawford played in 42 games and caught 65 passes for 691 yards and three touchdowns with the Huskies.

Gaither was signed in May as an undrafted free agent out of San Jose State.

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