Another surprising retirement cast a cloud on the Green Bay Packers’ first day of padded practice, with mixed injury news trickling throughout the day. The good news, though? The Packers avoided the type of substantial injury issues that the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets saw today.
Pre-practice presser: head coach Matt LaFleur
- Yesterday, outside linebacker Randy Ramsey, a notable special teamer, went down with what looked like a significant injury. LaFleur addressed Ramsey’s health, stating, “Yeah, that was not a good injury. 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 on defense as well...brings some much-needed depth to that position...hopefully, we get him back at some point.” It sounds like Ramsey will at least be out for the near future.
- The pads are on. Finally!
- Wide receiver Bailey Gaither makes the Packers’ second retirement of the week.
- The Packers signed Daniel Crawford of Northern Illinois, a rookie tight end who ran a 4.70-second 40-yard dash at NIU’s pro day this past March. He practiced immediately with the team.
Great to see Josiah Deguara making some cuts and doing some light catching this morning. Coming off a torn ACL. pic.twitter.com/G4emNZyuxK— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) August 3, 2021
- While another tight end, Josiah Deguara, is still on the physically unable to perform list, he was moving around well pre-practice in a cone drill.
- Linebacker Kamal Martin had a hell of a day at practice today. First, he went down with what some thought was a significant injury. The inside linebacker returned to play but then also saw reps at outside linebacker. This could be a situation where the team is experimenting if he can eat the reps that Ramsey’s injury opened up or if his inability to perform at outside linebacker is a sign that the team needs to sign another veteran outside linebacker to their roster. It’s something worth monitoring moving forward.
- The first-team offensive line today was Elgton Jenkins, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Ben Braden, and Billy Turner, from left to right. The summer-long experiment on how the Packers will get their best five on the field continues. Many spoke highly of Jenkins’ ability to play lockdown pass protection at left tackle, especially for his impressive win over Preston Smith in 1-on-1s.
- The secondary situation in Green Bay is developing into an interesting plotline. Here are some notes about the Packers’ defensive backs today:
- Josh Jackson worked with the 1s today, again, when Jaire Alexander was sidelined momentarily. Rookie Eric Stokes had been working across from Alexander with Kevin King still out with a hamstring issue.
- Rookie Shemar Jean-Charles, who has had a quiet offseason, saw time in the slot. Is he the post-Chandon Sullivan plan for the position in Green Bay? Could be.
- Once again, Henry Black, who recently returned to practice, saw playing time over Vernon Scott in the Packers’ three-safety looks. A pecking order has been established there, but Will Redmond, who is on the non-football injury list, has the potential to jump either one of Black or Scott on the depth chart, once he returns to the practice field.
- Kabion Ento, a cornerback who has been viewed as mostly a special-teamer at this point, saw snaps in the Packers’ two-minute drill at the end of practice and made a pass deflection.
- The Packers’ two-minute drill ended today with rookie defensive lineman TJ Slaton making a pass deflection that turned into a pick-six.
- Last, but not least, it’s worth noting that running back Kylin Hill, slotback Chandon Sullivan, receiver Amari Rodgers, and receiver DeAndre Thompkins are splitting reps as kick-off returners. It is assumed that Rodgers and Randall Cobb will handle punt return duties for the team, but we shall see if that stays true throughout the preseason.
Post-practice pressers: left tackle David Bakhtiari, offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, defensive lineman Dean Lowry, and cornerback Eric Stokes
- When asked if he will be ready for Week 1, Bakhtiari said, “I’m not going to set any dates or expectations. I think it’s going to be a fun ride and we’ll kind of all figure it out.”
- Bakhtiari, talking about the differences he expects this season compared to the COVID season of 2020, claimed that “crowd noise affects offensive linemen the most” before explaining that the ability for offensive linemen to hear the snap count to time a pass-rusher’s jump off of the ball is important. He stated that crowdless stadiums, particularly in domes, were nice on the road, in comparison to packed stadiums.
- Jenkins, the third-year lineman who is coming off of his first Pro Bowl season, mentioned that he spent “the whole offseason” working on playing left tackle, knowing that Bakhtiari was rehabbing his knee injury. Still, he feels he’s most comfortable at left guard, despite the praise he’s received at left tackle.
- New defensive coordinator Joe Barry is a hot topic whenever a defender takes the podium. Dean Lowry had this to say about Barry’s new scheme in Year 1 of its implementation: “The thing that I’ve been impressed with is that, for our run defense, he’s very detailed in what he wants. He makes sure to make a point to everybody their responsibility, their role, and for run hits on us, why it happened. It’s a very sound defense and I think Coach Joe B brings some great new concepts to our team.” That’s music to the ears of any Packers fan who saw what the 49ers were able to do to them on the ground in the Mike Pettine era.
- Earlier in camp, receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling claimed he was the fastest player on the team. Cornerback Eric Stokes seems to take that as a challenge, pushing MVS to “go ahead and meet me at the line.”