How important are practice snaps? Hear it from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers himself, who claimed that practice is more important than the preseason yesterday:
Aaron Rodgers on why practice reps are more important than the preseason pic.twitter.com/TVZ6IOYszM— Justis (Romeo Doubs HOF advocate) Mosqueda (@JuMosq) August 4, 2022
Thursday’s practice, which was outdoors in front of the fans after Wednesday’s close indoor walkthrough, was the final practice before the Packers hit the field for Family Night tomorrow. Head coach Matt LaFleur announced that our long national nightmare is over: The Packers are getting a new Jugs machine after this week’s mishap with the return men.
If you weren’t at practice today, here’s what you missed:
There were no changes in player participation today, though it was discovered that running back Patrick Taylor’s injury is officially called a groin injury. In the presser, LaFleur let it be known that Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, the team’s top two backs, will not be playing in the first week of the preseason. If Taylor’s injury lingers, with Kylin Hill still on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from his ACL tear, that leaves the Packers with just two backs against the San Francisco 49ers: undrafted rookies Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor.
If Taylor’s injury holds, do not be surprised if the team starts to bring in backs for workouts and eventually signs one to spread the reps around in the preseason. After practice yesterday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he didn’t know if he was going to be playing in the preseason or not, but it seems like the team will at least de-emphasize the squad’s first preseason game of their three-game schedule. Typically, LaFleur’s teams have been very light on starters playing in the preseason.
Beyond Taylor and Hill, the following players remain injured: receiver Christian Watson (PUP, knee), receiver Malik Taylor (shoulder), receiver Osirus Mitchell (quad), 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).
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but rookie receiver Romeo Doubs had another great day of practice. Packer Report’s Andy Herman noted that Doubs got the best of Eric Stokes again on a contested catch and caught back-to-back receptions, including a diving catch, in the team’s two-minute drill. The Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Ryan Wood added that Doubs made another reception with inside linebacker Isaiah McDuffie all over him across the middle. No one is more red hot in camp than Doubs, who keeps building momentum every practice.
According to Mike Spofford of Packers.com, Green Bay’s offensive lineup returned to Zach Tom, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Royce Newman and Yosh Nijman (left to right.) This was the same lineup that the team debuted on Tuesday for the first time. Per Herman, the second-string line was comprised of Cole Van Lanen, Michal Menet, Jake Hanson, Sean Rhyan and Caleb Jones. Van Lanen and Hanson have seen some snaps with “the ones,” while George Moore and Ty Clary have yet to crack the two-deep, despite there being three linemen out with injuries.
Tom struggled some today, according to Herman, as he gave up back-to-back pressures to outside linebacker Jonathan Garvin. It will be interesting to see if Tom or Nijman will “start” at left tackle for Family Night tomorrow, as the team has been alternating between those two lineups up front over the past few days.
With Taylor out of practice, Goodson made the most of his reps. Herman noted that the Iowa rookie made back-to-back big plays in practice today, which is what he needs to do if he’s going to stick on the 53-man roster. Also in the ground game, Wood claims that the team has used backup quarterback Jordan Love as an option runner.
Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber reported that cornerback Jaire Alexander, who missed team periods on Tuesday but was a full participant in Wednesday’s walkthrough, worked with the squad in team drills on Thursday. The defensive backs are the strength of the team defensively, and they showed up today.
Per Herman, the defense went three-of-three in the squad’s two-minute drills, with safety Adrian Amos being the standout after hauling in an interception against Rodgers. The hyper-aggressive cornerback Rasul Douglas, who Rodgers compared to Charles Woodson yesterday, snatched a pick-six from receiver Randall Cobb today during one-on-one drills.
Doubs looked good returning punts today, according to Herman, which is a very important storyline to watch. As Acme Packing Company has discussed before, the punt return job could be the key to receiver Amari Rodgers or cornerback Rico Gafford making the team’s 53-man roster. Neither are top-five players at their position on the roster when their rooms are healthy, so they’ll need to earn their spot via special teams play. If Doubs doesn’t start offensively, the team almost certainly will want to get him some reps as a return man.