Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur stated today that after Saturday’s practice, the Packers will still have four more offensive installs and three more defensive installs before they get out of the learning phase of their preseason program. That puts Green Bay’s on-field playbook period right up against the Family Night scrimmage next Friday.
Saturday was another open practice for the Packers, which will occur again on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of next week. If you weren’t able to make it to Nitschke Field today, here’s what you missed:
There were no changes in participation today, though, left tackle David Bakhtiari began rehabbing outdoors rather than at the indoor Don Hutson Center. That is typically a sign that a player is progressing toward returning to the field.
The players who missed on-field practice today were RB Kylin Hill (PUP, knee), WR Christian Watson (PUP, knee), WR Malik Taylor (shoulder), TE Robert Tonyan (PUP, knee) OT David Bakhtiari (PUP, knee), OT Elgton Jenkins (PUP, knee), DL Akial Byers (hamstring), CB Keisean Nixon (NFI, groin) and K Mason Crosby (PUP, knee). According to Andy Herman of Packer Report, Hill looked like he was rehabbing well on the side of practice today.
While receiver Sammy Watkins returned to practice yesterday, he is still not a full participant. He only did individual drills rather than individual drills and team drills on Saturday.
Per Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com, rookie fourth-round pick Zach Tom took another day’s worth of snaps as the team’s left tackle with Bakhtiari and Jenkins still on the physically unable to perform list for knee injuries. According to Herman, the only offensive changes between the players working with “the ones” yesterday and today were the call-up of Tom from “the twos” and the demotion of tackle Cole Van Lanen to “the twos.”
As a reminder, here is the list of players who worked with “the ones” on Friday:
Full group of offensive players practicing with the 1’s:— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) July 29, 2022
Jones / Dillon
Lazard / Cobb / Watkins / Doubs / Winfree
Davis / Lewis / Deguara
Yosh / JRJ / Myers / Hanson / Newman / CVL
The most notable players missing are third-round rookie Sean Rhyan, who figured to contribute as either a tackle or guard in the future, and second-year receiver Amari Rodgers, who seems to be at least WR7 on the depth chart once Watson returns from injury.
On the offensive line front, it appears that the team is alternating between two lineups every other day in camp (left-to-right):
- Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Jake Hanson, Royce Newman
- Tom, Runyan, Myers, Newman, Nijman
At times, Newman replaces Hanson as the team’s left guard in the first group (Nijman at left tackle) while Van Lanen gets looks at right tackle.
The star on the offensive side of the ball once again was fourth-round rookie receiver Romeo Doubs, who caught a contested deep ball from Jordan Love and was featured as a moving blocker in the run game. Doubs’ run blocking was a bit of a concern coming out of Nevada, but the high school running back played in a wide-open air raid system in college that split him far away from the formation often, meaning he didn’t have many chances to develop those skills.
In the pre-practice presser, LaFleur hinted that the team was planning on keeping five outside linebackers and cornerbacks when discussing the defense. Obviously, things can change, but that’s something worth keeping in mind moving forward.
Herman stated that fifth-round rookie edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare is “going to need some time” after seeing his play on Saturday. Enagbare has been working with “the twos” for most of training camp but did get a look with “the ones” today. It’s tough to make too much about pass-rushers when the pads haven’t even come on, but at the moment Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, La’Darius Hamilton and Tipa Galeai are ahead of him on the depth chart.
Per Herman, safety Dallin Leavitt and cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles got reps with “the ones” today in practice. Leavitt, who saw first-string reps on multiple special teams units yesterday, joins Adrian Amos (roster lock), Darnell Savage (roster lock), Shawn Davis and Vernon Scott in the early race for roster spots at the position. Jean-Charles is generally used as the team’s fifth cornerback behind Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas and the currently-injured Nixon.
The stud on the defensive side of the ball today was cornerback-turned-receiver-turned-cornerback Rico Gafford, who forced three incompletions in team drills. Gafford, who played for special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia with the Raiders, is also getting looks as a return man.
Special Teams Notes
When LaFleur said they were looking to get more starters involved on special teams this offseason, he wasn’t lying. According to Herman, the entire starting defensive lineup was on the field for the field goal block unit.
With Crosby injured, Gabe Brkic is the only healthy placekicker on the roster. Unfortunately, he missed twice from 45 and 47 yards in practice, per Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber. Crosby’s roster spot isn’t totally locked up, but it’ll be hard for Brkic, who was picked up off of waivers, to make the team with those results. Rookie long snapper Jack Coco once against got “starting” reps as he challenges the incumbent Steven Wirtel for his 2021 roster spot.
According to Mike Spofford of Packers.com, Doubs, receiver Randall Cobb, receiver Amari Rodgers and receiver Ishmael Hyman saw looks as punt returners today. Doubs seems to be the only player getting looks on both punts and kickoffs, as Gafford, Rodgers, Doubs, receiver Danny Davis and starting running back Aaron Jones worked as kickoff returners yesterday. Per Herman, Doubs got the first reps during the punt return period.
We’re not allowed to tweet exact quotes from coaches or players during practice, but let’s just say Rich Bisaccia is gonna bang some heads if Amari Rodgers fair catches another punt.— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) July 30, 2022
It doesn’t seem like Rodgers is making friends with his punt return performances in camp, either.