The Green Bay Packers hosted practice indoors on Wednesday as they attempted to protect the team’s grass for their outdoor practice facility during the rain. The practice was already scheduled to be closed to the public, open only to the team and the media, but the Packers will have public practice again on Thursday, their final practice before Family Night.
Today’s practice was a walkthrough, with the highlight of the day coming in the pre-practice press conference via head coach Matt LaFleur. Apparently, yesterday’s poor showing from the punt returners was due to problems that the coaches had with the team’s Jugs machine, a contraption that simulates passes, punts and kickoffs without the need for a quarterback or specialist.
Save our returners.
Before practice, LaFleur stated that cornerback Jaire Alexander did not participate in team drills, only individual drills, yesterday due to “feeling a little tight.” Alexander was fully practicing today and the team is hopeful that he will suit up for the Packers’ Family Night scrimmage on Friday.
According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, two new players were added to the DNP list today: running back Patrick Taylor (groin) and the recently-signed receiver Osirus Mitchell (quad). Taylor was on Green Bay’s end-of-season roster and is thought to be the squad’s fourth running back, as it stands today, behind Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and the injured Kylin Hill.
There were no other changes to the team’s participation, meaning that the following players were non-participants: running back Kylin Hill (PUP, knee), receiver Christian Watson (PUP, knee), receiver Malik Taylor (shoulder), tight end Robert Tonyan (PUP, knee), tackle David Bakhtiari (PUP, knee), offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins (PUP, knee), offensive lineman Cole Schneider (ankle) and cornerback Keisean Nixon (NFI, groin).
It feels like tackle Cole Van Lanen is slipping out of the right tackle race for Week 1. Yesterday, the team practiced with Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Royce Newman and Zach Tom (left to right) as the squad’s “starting” offensive line. Today, per Packers.com’s Mike Spofford, the line was Nijman, Runyan, Myers, Jake Hanson and Newman. In this game of musical chairs, it seems like there are now six contestants for the five spots, at least until Bakhtiari and/or Jenkins return to practice.
Today was a slow-paced walkthrough with few on-field standouts, but the team did end practice offensively with hook-and-ladder end-of-game plays. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Ryan Wood, rookie seventh-round receiver Samori Toure made the mistake of confusing college football’s and the NFL’s clock rules, hitting the ground with a second left on the clock with the thought that it would stop the clock. New offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich set him straight on the clock management, which hopefully should put an end to that.
A lot has been made of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ chemistry with such a young receiving unit, as fans have been correct in noting that he hasn’t fed rookie receivers much in the past. With that being said, rookie fourth-rounder Romeo Doubs has been the clear star of training camp and the quarterback knows that. Per Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Rodgers stated after practice that Doub’s highlight plays are “kind of rare for a young guy.”
Rodgers also called cornerback Rasul Douglas, who figures to contribute as the team’s third cornerback and starting nickelback, “one of the smartest guys I’ve ever played with,” later comparing him to Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, per Kassidy Hill of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Spofford reported that the team’s kick returners today were cornerback Rico Gafford and receiver Amari Rodgers. Gafford has taken over as the team’s sixth cornerback, at time working with “the ones,” while Rodgers is likely the seventh (maybe eighth) receiver offensively when the squad is fully-healthy. Both players are on the roster bubble and would benefit greatly by winning a return job. Earlier today, though, general manager Brian Gutekunst voiced confidence in Rodgers, possibly hinting that the second-year third-rounder is on track to make the squad.