Tuesday marked the first time that outside linebacker Rashan Gary, who went down with a season-ending ACL tear in Week 9 of last season, was a full participant in the Green Bay Packers’ summer practices. Gary was activated off of the physically unable to perform list two weeks ago and received first-team defense snaps during team drills today.
Head coach Matt LaFleur stated that the plan was to get Gary on the field on Tuesday in his pre-practice press conference. What he wouldn’t commit to, though, was whether or not cornerback Eric Stokes (ankle) would begin the 2023 regular season on the physically unable to perform list. If Stokes isn’t called off the PUP list by cutdowns next week, he will be ineligible to play in the Packers’ first four games of the season, but he would also not count against the team’s 53-man active roster.
Elsewhere on the injury front, LaFleur claimed that safety Tarvarius Moore, who left the team’s preseason game on Saturday with a knee injury, is “day to day.” Moore, along with running back Lew Nichols, running back Tyler Goodson, fullback Henry Pearson, receiver Dontayvion Wicks, receiver Bo Melton, left tackle David Bakhtiari, defensive lineman Jason Lewan and inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, did not practice on Tuesday.
It was originally reported that offensive lineman Jake Hanson (calf) was also held out of practice due to injury, but it has since been announced by the team that Hanson was waived with an injury designation in order to make room for two new signings. The Packers signed cornerback Elijah Hamilton and inside linebacker Marvin Pierre, who practiced with the team for the first time on Tuesday, by moving on from Hanson and placing tight end Tyler Davis on the injured reserve. Davis, a core special teamer, tore his ACL in the preseason opener.
The good news on the injury front is that tackle Caleb Jones, cornerback Corey Ballentine and slotback Innis Gaines were healthy enough to return to practice today. All three of those players are on the roster bubble, meaning they’ll need to make an impression this week.
According to Packer Report’s Andy Herman, the everchanging starting offensive line was comprised of Rasheed Walker, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr. and Zach Tom (left to right) today. After receiving most of the team’s reps as a swing tackle, Yosh Nijman now appears to be the Packers’ fourth tackle on the depth chart after being displaced by Walker. Walker also made the start at left tackle in Green Bay’s second preseason game, which also saw Bakhtiari held out of action.
Herman also noted that the safety starting opposite of Darnell Savage today was Rudy Ford, who started in Week 2 of the preseason after receiving zero snaps with the first-team defense in the preseason opener. The safety position has been the biggest question mark on the Packers’ roster for some time now, but it appears that Ford has settled back into the driver’s seat there. This summer, Ford, Jonathan Owens, Moore and Anthony Johnson Jr. have all taken turns playing across from Savage with the first-team defense.
A few players who stood out in practice, according to the reporters on the scene, were defensive linemen Kenny Clark, Devonte Wyatt and Jonathan Ford. Quickly, it seems like the interior line has gone from a position of weakness to a position of depth, as rookie Karl Brooks has also had a notable preseason performance.
Quarterback Jordan Love was up and down today, with the wind being a factor in the passing game. After a run-heavy start, Love was able to put a stretch of quality play together in the second half of practice, including a 78-yard touchdown to rookie receiver Jayden Reed and a touchdown to receiver Christian Watson in an end-of-game simulation.
The wind also impacted the kicking game, where rookie kicker Anders Carlson missed four of his five field goal attempts. The coaching staff has no ambition to change up their place kicker, based on special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia’s thoughts on the subject in his press conference last week. The Packers are going to simply take their lumps with Carlson, with the hope that his big leg can fine-tune its accuracy under Bisaccia.
If you are planning on attending practice in Green Bay tomorrow, the final practice open to fans in 2023, it’s worth noting here that the team has moved up the time due to the weather. The Packers will now hit the field at 11:15 AM CT, as the team attempts to avoid the heat.