The Green Bay Packers had a short practice on Sunday following their late-kick preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Friday. According to head coach Matt LaFleur, light practices will continue until the New Orleans Saints join the team for joint practices later on this week, leading up to their preseason matchup at Lambeau Field on Friday.
Participation in the practice was the biggest headline of the day, as the Packers got some really good news from the injury department, along with four new injuries. Here’s what you need to know about Green Bay’s closed practice today:
Christian Watson makes his camp debut pic.twitter.com/qzHTp4kDZs— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) August 14, 2022
There were massive changes in participation today, starting with the activation of offensive linemen Elgton Jenkins, tight end Robert Tonyan and Christian Watson. According to LaFleur, there’s a chance that the trio may play in the preseason, though, he seemed to play down what the activation of these players meant. With a few walkthrough practices on deck ahead of the team’s joint practices against the Saints next week, he made it a point to note that it would be good to get the trio in on walkthroughs.
The team also signed a new kicker, Ramiz Ahmed, and released Gabe Brkic, who LaFleur said was dealing with a hamstring injury against the San Francisco 49ers — which limited the team’s ability on kickoffs. As a reminder, starting kicker Mason Crosby (knee) remains on the physically unable to perform list. With Jenkins, Tonyan and Watson off of PUP, Crosby, running back Kylin Hill (knee) and tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) are the only remaining players on the PUP while the squad’s non-football injury list has been cleared.
Per The Atheltic’s Matt Schneidman, rookie first-round pick Devonte Wyatt (concussion) has returned to practice after missing last week’s preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Along with the PUP players, tight end Dominique Dafney, offensive lineman Cole Schneider, cornerback Donte Vaughn, safety Darnell Savage and safety Innis Gaines remained as non-participants in practice.
The team’s new injuries were receiver Juwann Winfree (groin), defensive lineman Akial Byers (toe), cornerback Kabion Ento (toe) and safety Tariq Carpenter (knee), who all played against the 49ers on Friday. Byers was reportedly seen in a walking boot. Outside linebacker Tipa Galeai (elbow) and safety Dallin Leavitt (shoulder) remained out after they left the preseason opener due to injury. Galeai’s injury was originally reported on the broadcast as a shoulder injury. Both Galeai and Leavitt were significant starters on the team’s special teams units, though, the team held out north of 30 players from Week 1 of the preseason. Before practice, LaFleur said that Leavitt would be “out a while.”
According to Packer Report’s Andy Herman, Schneider no longer is in a walking boot and was working alongside the field in the rehab group. He later noted that Hill, Bakhtiari, Vaughn, Savage and Gaines were also working with the rehab group, which leaves the new injuries, Crosby and Dafney as the players who did not get on-field work on Sunday.
Elgton Jenkins setting like a right tackle. Do with that info what you will. Plus a cameo walkthrough by David Bakhtiari. pic.twitter.com/Lza7j5K6ry— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) August 14, 2022
Per Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the offensive starters today were as expected, including an offensive line made up of Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Jake Hanson and Royce Newman (left to right.) Early on in practice, though, according to Herman, rookie Zach Tom, who got playing time with “the ones” on Friday as a right tackle, replaced Runyan at left guard. This happened several times throughout practice, according to reports. For the most part, Tom has been seeing playing time in practice at left and right tackle, be it with the first- or second-team offenses.
Per Schneidman, the team’s starting receivers in 21 personnel were rookie camp sensation Romeo Doubs and the incumbent starter Allen Lazard. It’s interesting that the team opened up in 21 personnel, as the team hardly played a true two-back offense, outside of tight end Josiah Deguara playing fullback, in either the Family Night scrimmage or in Week 1 of the preseason. Doubs and Winfree were the team’s starters at receiver against the 49ers with Lazard, Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb held out and Watson injured.
While the defensive line and secondary have dominated most of the camp talk around the Packers’ defense this summer, Herman mentioned that inside linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker were playing fast on Sunday, noting “Campbell has had a GREAT camp.” According to Schneidman, rookie outside linebacker Kinglsey Enagbare got three pressures against the first-team offense in the two-minute drill. The Packers desperately need someone to step up behind starters Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, as Jonathan Garvin, La’Darius Hamilton (injured for the Packers’ preseason opener), Galeai (currently injured), Randy Ramsey (coming off a season-ending ankle injury) and Kobe Jones have been a bit of a mixed bag. If Enagbare could establish himself as a third pass-rushing threat off of the edge, it would go a long way toward Green Bay’s depth at the position.