In a private practice closed to fans on Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers gave backup quarterback Jordan Love most of the team’s snaps under center as starter Aaron Rodgers was given a veteran rest day. Yesterday, it was announced that the team would start Love, with Danny Etling as his sole backup, in the Packers’ preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Friday.
The 49ers announced today that their second-year quarterback, Trey Lance, will get looks in the team’s first and third preseason games. With the preseason Week 1 matchup set to be broadcast nationally on NFL Network, expect the pundits to speak on the development of these young signal-callers following the game.
Here’s what happened at practice today:
Beyond Rodgers, outside linebacker Randy Ramsey was held out of practice today as he recovers from his ankle injury. Ramsey missed the 2021 regular season with a serious ankle injury that led to him being placed on the physically unable to perform list before training camp. Though he came off of the list prior to Family Night, Ramsey was held out of Friday’s practice, returned on Monday, but was held out again on Tuesday. It seems as though he has not fully recovered from the injury as of yet.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, cornerback Donte Vaughn, a reserve who was picked up in July, missed practice with a hamstring injury. Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette noted that inside linebacker Ty Summers returned from the non-Covid-related illness that kept him off the field on Monday. There were no other changes in participation on Tuesday.
In the pre-practice press conference, head coach Matt LaFleur stated, “Certainly, you want your better players going against one another,” in regards to the Romeo Doubs versus Jaire Alexander matchup yesterday, per Schneidman. That’s high praise for Doubs, who was the third-most played outside receiver with “the ones” on Family Night and the second-most played slot receiver.
Despite a poor decision on an interception that ended a two-minute drill yesterday, Love has had a good camp in Green Bay this summer. Just look at how the ball is coming out of his hand in the clip from the Packers.com’s Wes Hodkiewicz above.
According to Andy Herman of Packer Report, the offensive line was once again Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Jake Hanson and Royce Newman from left to right. While Newman and Zach Tom have the chance to stick on the right side of the line, it feels like the Hanson and Newman combo is pulling away in this race. Cole Van Lanen, who was getting looks at left and right tackle early on in training camp and OTAs, has seemingly fallen out of favor.
The offensive line again had a tough go of it today, though, as there was a four-play stretch during the “good on good” team period where the Packers were intercepted, sacked twice and tackled for a four-yard loss on a run play, per Herman. Offensively, the breakout of Doubs has turned the team’s top concern from wondering who will get open for Rodgers to who will keep him upright in Week 1.
According to Herman, the defensive line had a field day. His players of the day at practice were outside linebackers Rashan Gary, Jonathan Garvin and Preston Smith and defensive linemen TJ Slaton and Jack Heflin. Heflin was praised for his run defense against the second and third teams while Slaton “swallowed up” back-to-back run reps in the team period.
Hodkiewicz noted that safety Shawn Davis was the first player to start with “the ones” in the absence of Darnell Savage today, but Vernon Scott once again returned to the lineup later in practice. As a reminder, Davis had been working with the team as their third safety from the start of the 2022 offseason program up until Family Night, when Savage went down and was replaced by Scott. Scott out-snapped Davis 23-to-2 with “the ones” on Friday.
Futball practice has broken out. pic.twitter.com/DBV2oEtS7L— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) August 9, 2022
Kicker Mason Crosby was seen rehabbing with a Packers-branded soccer ball during practice today. Backup kicker Gabe Brkic, a rookie who was picked up off of waivers in June, has struggled with the reps he’s been given this summer. Based on Brkic’s college stats, though, he was considered to be one of the better kicking prospects available in this past draft class.
Per Herman, backup long snapper Steven Wirtel returned to practice Tuesday after a scare on Monday. The position continues to underwhelm, though. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweeted out a call for help: “If you’re a long snapper, you might want to let Brian Gutekunst know you’re available.” It seems as though the incumbent Wirtel and the undrafted rookie Jack Coco, who struggled some in Family Night, are not the answers at the position.
Cornerback Keisean Nixon, who recently returned to the team after recovering from a groin injury, has made his impact felt both on defense and special teams. Beyond being the team’s fourth cornerback throughout most of camp, Nixon is flashing as a gunner on punt team, according to Herman.