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Packers practice news and notes, 7/28: Keisean Nixon takes punt returns

Nixon, a First-Team All-Pro kick returner, might have double duty this season.

Green Bay Packers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers made some news on Friday morning as outside linebacker Jonathan Garvin was left off the team’s roster while they headed onto the practice field for a walkthrough. It was announced later that Garvin was released, just hours after the Packers’ social media accounts celebrated the pass-rusher turning 24 years old.

At the moment, Green Bay hasn’t announced a corresponding roster move, meaning that they have an open roster spot going into Saturday’s practice — which will be their final practice before pads are allowed to be put on next week.

While the walkthrough was a low-intensity practice, it did give the media a chance to notice the first-team rotations that give us an outline of the Packers’ depth chart. Let’s get into what happened on the field on Friday.


According to Pack-A-Day Podcast’s Andy Herman, the following players (by position group) worked with the first-team offense today:

  • QB: Jordan Love
  • RB: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Patrick Taylor and Lewis Nichols
  • WR: Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Samori Toure and Malik Heath
  • TE: Luke Musgrave, Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis
  • OL: David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr., Yosh Nijman, Zach Tom and Royce Newman

At receiver, the notable absence from the first-team group was Bo Melton, a 2022 draft choice who was picked up off of waivers by the Packers mid-season last year. Mind you, Melton wasn’t one of the five receivers to work with the first-team offense despite the fact that two rookie draft picks — Grant DuBose (back, NFI) and Dontayvion Wicks (concussion) — were missing from practice.

Tight end is another interesting position, as third-round rookie Tucker Kraft remains behind both Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis in the pecking order while Luke Musgrave has taken over as the team’s “starting” Y tight end. The offensive line didn’t bring many surprises unless you count Royce Newman continuing to get the nod over 2022 third-round pick Sean Rhyan a shock.

While second-year tackle Zach Tom had received every single snap at right tackle through the first two practices of training camp, Tom and Nijman rotated at left and right tackle today, depending on if David Bakhtiari was taking a rep at left tackle or not. Earlier today, head coach Matt LaFleur said that he wants the competition at right tackle to “happen naturally,” but Friday is the first time that we’ve really seen it in action.


Per Herman, the following players (by position group) worked with the first-team defense today:

  • DL: Kenny Clark, Devonte Wyatt, TJ Slaton and Colby Wooden
  • OLB: Preston Smith, Justin Hollins, Kingsley Enagbare and Lukas Van Ness
  • ILB: De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Isaiah McDuffie, Eric Wilson and Tariq Carpenter
  • CB: Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon, Corey Ballentine and Shemar Jean-Charles
  • SAF: Darnell Savage, Rudy Ford, Tarvarius Moore and Dallin Levitt

There were no shocks here, but the few surprises that there were came in the secondary. Rookie cornerback Carrington Valentine, a seventh-round pick who has flashed through two practices, was unable to make the team’s group of five cornerbacks on the first team, despite Eric Stokes (PUP, ankle) being out still. At safety, it’s interesting that Jonathan Owens — who started every game for the Houston Texans last year — hasn’t been able to earn a spot in the rotation next to Rudy Ford, Tarvarius Moore and Dallin Levitt. Levitt was used almost exclusively as a special teams player in his first year with the Packers last season.

As far as the starters go, Ford started at the safety position for the third straight day in practice, even though the expectation coming into camp was that the safety spot opposite of Darnell Savage was going to be one of the summer’s biggest competition. As of now, it seems like Ford is pulling away with the job.

Outside linebacker is a position where Justin Hollins and Kingsley Enagbare continue to rotate as starters on a daily basis, limiting first-round pick Lukas Van Ness’ reps with the starting defense.

Special Teams

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that three players took punt returns in practice today: receiver Jayden Reed, cornerback Keisean Nixon and receiver Samori Toure. Last year, 35 of Nixon’s 46 returns came on kickoffs, not punts. Meanwhile, Reed was named an all-conference returner multiple times during his college career, in part due to his punt-returning ability. Keep an eye on this battle, as Reed is also expected to handle slot receiver duties and Nixon is expected to handle slot corner duties, at least until Eric Stokes is activated from the PUP list.