GREEN BAY, Wis. – After falling short of the Super Bowl the past two seasons, Green Bay Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis sees a roster that’s built to win it all.
“Top to bottom, I feel like even just the way we’re flying around now, I feel like we’re more explosive definitely on offense,” he said Monday at training camp. “We’re more explosive earlier on in camp than it’s been in a while for me. That scheme the defense has over there, we’re going to be tough to be reckon with. I try not to curse because I get excited.”
At age 37, Lewis is the oldest tight end in the NFL. He was the oldest player in the NFL to start more than 14 games last season.
It helps to be big and talented. It also helps to have toughness, desire and leadership oozing out of his pores. It’s the intangibles that are so critical today.
“I was a first-rounder [in 2006 by Jacksonville] and I thought I could get cut,” he said. “I came in with my mouth shut, my ears open and we’re going to go out there and put the work in and grind. That’s my attitude today. I don’t know no other way.
Packers OT Nijman Put Athletic Gifts Together in Training Camp
Note: This feature was published on Aug. 24 and was updated on Sept. 24 with the possibility Yosh Nijman will start at left tackle for the Week 3 game against San Francisco on Sunday.
“At a certain point, the athletic ability is going to taper off a little bit, speed’s going to taper off a little bit. You can’t teach my size, you can’t teach what I’ve got in between my ears and you can’t teach this [points to his heart]. I bring all that together plus my technique and I’m pretty hard to beat. That’s what I instill in my tight end room. That’s all me and Bobby (Tonyan) talk about – the attitude, the grit, the will. All the other stuff, everybody’s big, strong and fast. Do you have the mental fortitude to do it every single day? Nobody cares about what you did yesterday.”
After earning 45 percent playing time in 2019 and 41 percent in 2020, there’s little reason to believe Lewis won’t have a big role again in this year’s offense, as well. He is one of the best blockers in the league at his position. Plus, he’s at least a competent receiver. Of his 10 catches last season, three went for touchdowns. He had fewer in five of the previous six seasons.
“I was talking to Davante the other day at [his] house,” Lewissaid. “We’ll be watching film together and talking about mindset. We were putting up some of my past clips, all my receptions and stuff like that. He’s like, ‘Bro, it’s crazy. I feel like some of the dudes on the team don’t even know you really used to get it in like that.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s when I was in my prime.’ He was like, ‘Nah, you’re just in a different prime now.’ That meant a lot coming from him, because we share a similar mindset as far as how we work and how we’re going to attack today. I guess that’s really what it is. I’m definitely aging gracefully, appreciative of still having an opportunity to live out my dream. I still love it when I wake up in the morning.”
When he wakes up on Tuesday morning, practice will have a familiar feel to Lewis. After five shorts-and-helmets practices, the Packers will take the next step when they put on the pads and start banging.
“I’m looking forward to when we get the pads on because that’s when you really find out,” he said. “That’s where guys turn into dudes and you flourish. I think we got a team full of dudes and ready to go get the job done. I think last year, the last couple years, you had your main guys and then the guys on the bubble or in-between trying to figure their way. I think the difference this year is everybody has some expectancy on what the goal is and what the mission is and how we’re going to get it done.”