While the biggest news of the first day of training camp in Green Bay was left tackle David Bakhtiari’s surgery this offseason, there was still Packers on-field action worth monitoring. If you didn’t make Green Bay’s first open practice of training camp, here’s what you need to know.
Who was missing?
In the pre-practice presser, general manager Brian Gutekunst announced that defensive lineman Dean Lowry, running back Patrick Taylor and tackle Caleb Jones were coming off of the injury lists to practice with the team. Hopefully, this means that the Packers’ injury lists were extremely conservative.
According to The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, the players missing from practice today were RB Kylin Hill, WR Christian Watson, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Malik Taylor TE Robert Tonyan, T David Bakhtiari, T Elgton Jenkins, T Rasheed Walker, DL Akial Byers, OLB Jonathan Garvin, OLB Randy Ramsey, CB Keisean Nixon and K Mason Crosby. All but Taylor, Byers and Garvin are either on the team’s physically unable to perform list or non-football injury list. Outside linebacker Caliph Brice, who is on the team’s non-football injury list, was not mentioned by Schneidman as a player missing practice, for what that’s worth.
Little scoot scoot from Elgton Jenkins as his knee rehab continues: pic.twitter.com/xjXZVzQINA— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) July 27, 2022
Jenkins, who has the potential to play either bookend spot at this point, looks like he’s recovering nicely from his mid-season ACL tear.
Offensive Line Shuffle
Throughout the offseason, tackle Yosh Nijman had been practicing at left tackle when quarterback Jordan Love was under center and moved to right tackle when starter Aaron Rodgers was on the field. The assumption was that the team wanted to get Nijman into the right tackle race when starter David Bakhtiari returned for training camp. With Bakhtiari facing a setback, though, Nijman practiced at left tackle today when Rodgers was back to pass per the Green Bay Press Gazette’s Ryan Wood, a first this summer.
Another surprise move with the “starting” offensive line today was Jake Hanson, who has six offensive snaps in his NFL career, playing right guard per the Packers’ Wes Hodkiewicz. This kicked Royce Newman, who started at right guard last year, to right tackle. For most of the offseason, second-year bookend Cole Van Lanen handled right tackle duty when Nijman lined up on the left side.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, the second unit of the offensive line was Zach Tom, Michael Menet, Hanson, Sean Rhyan and Van Lanen, from left to right. Tom, who also played center at the college level, saw action at both left tackle and guard per Hodkiewicz.
Defense Takes Shape
According to Schneidman, Green Bay’s starting defensive line today was comprised of Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed while their inside linebackers were De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker. Despite one first-round pick being able to crack the lineup, defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt has not.
Schneidman also noted that the team played their penny personnel instead of their nickel personnel when slot corner Rasul Douglas came onto the field. For most of the spring and summer, reports were that the team was playing a true 2-4 nickel rather than the 3-3 penny. This could be a Day 1 camp install decision, or it could show defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s commitment to the personnel package, despite how invested the team is in Campbell and Walker.
A New Long Snapper?
Rookie long snapper Jack Coco was signed by the Packers in May after a workout with the team. On the first day of camp, per Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, Coco was the first up to work with rookie kicker Gabe Brkic. Brkic is the only healthy kicker in Green Bay with Mason Crosby starting camp on the physically unable to perform list.
Coco jumping Steven Wirtel is worth noting, as Wirtel was activated by the Packers in Week 8 of last season and took over long snapping duties for the team during the second half of the 2021 season. New special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia certainly isn’t letting anyone get too comfortable.