The Green Bay Packers received great news on Monday when outside linebacker Rashan Gary (knee) was activated from the physically unable to perform list. Gary, who tore his ACL 275 days ago, appears to be working his way towards suiting up in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears. Had the Packers allowed Gary to stay on the PUP list through roster cutdowns, Gary would be locked into the PUP list through Week 4, meaning that he would have had to have missed the first four games of the season.
Rookie receiver Grant DuBose, who was on the non-football injury list for a back issue, also suited up for his first-ever practice in Green Bay on Monday. According to Packer Report’s Andy Herman, this left just five players on the Packers’ injury report: center Jake Hanson (shoulder), corner Innis Gaines (quad), running back Lew Nichols (shoulder), tight end Josiah Deguara (calf) and cornerback Eric Stokes (PUP, ankle.)
Here’s what the healthy players in Green Bay did today in the final practice for the Packers before a trip to Cincinnati later this week.
With the recent release of Danny Etling, rookie quarterback Sean Clifford filled the QB2 role today, according to Packers.com’s Wes Hodkiewicz. Through Family Night, which head coach Matt LaFleur said was ironically Etling’s best practice of the summer, Etling had been the team’s second-string quarterback behind Jordan Love. LaFleur claimed that it was simply too difficult to get four quarterbacks the number of snaps that were needed to develop them during practice, so the team elected to roll with Clifford and now third-stringer Alex McGough.
Speaking of Love, go ahead and check out this article, which contains a cutup of all of Love’s 11-on-11 throws from Family Night on Saturday. Love apparently had a good practice today, as Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber noted that he ended practice with three consecutive touchdown passes. Hopefully, the Packers’ joint practice with the Bengals will give us more reasons for optimism.
The biggest camp battle on the offensive side of the ball remains on the offensive line. The team is clearly trying to get its best five players on the field, though, left tackle David Bakhtiari’s “modified” practice schedule has been a bit of a hurdle. With Bakhtiari participating in practice on Monday, the “starting” offensive line was Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr. and Zach Tom (left to right), per Herman. With that being said, there were opportunities for Tom to play center, which allowed Yosh Nijman to line up at right tackle.
Bakhtiari (knee) and Jenkins (illness) both were non-participants on Family Night, which allowed Nijman to play left tackle, Tom to play right tackle and Royce Newman to play left guard. There are a lot of moving parts here, as the offensive line seems to be one of the bigger question marks as we inch toward the regular season.
Rashan Gary back on the practice field for the first time since tearing his ACL, doing individual reps. pic.twitter.com/73wQgRJ9nE— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) August 7, 2023
Camp star Carrington Valentine was able to play some outside cornerback snaps on the first-team defense today, per Huber, which allowed Rasul Douglas to get some looks in the slot. This was very different from what we saw on Family Night, where Keisean Nixon took every single slot snap available in team drills. Valentine, a seventh-round rookie, was able to get first-team snaps then, but was out-snapped as an outside cornerback by Douglas, Jaire Alexander and Corey Ballentine.
Elsewhere in the secondary, Jonathan Owens once again “started” at safety. At Family Night, Owens took every single first-team snap on defense, as Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford rotated in opposite of him. According to reports today, that trend seemed to continue on Monday. As a reminder, Owens had not “started” on the defensive side of the ball until Family Night. It appears that he’s finally making a dent in this battle for playing time.
Per Herman, the newly signed Arron Mosby will be working out as an outside linebacker, officially. Mosby was signed last week, which led to the release of fellow outside linebacker La’Darius Hamilton. Mosby has a chance to be a core special teams player, as he’s a hybrid defender who played nearly as many snaps as a stack linebacker as he did as an edge defender in college. In 2022, Mosby played 33 of his 35 regular-season snaps with the Carolina Panthers as a special teamer.
Two rookies who generated some positive buzz on the defensive side of the ball today were outside linebacker Lukas Van Ness and defensive lineman Karl Brooks. This shouldn’t be surprising, as they both also stood out on Family Night. Van Ness could have had a sack or two, if snaps were live, while Brooks and Colby Wooden dominated a short-handed second-string line. Keep an eye on that interior during the preseason, as the Packers are one injury away from having to play Brooks and/or Wooden on a lot of snaps.
According to Herman, kicker Anders Carlson was five of six today, including three of three on 50-plus-yard field goal attempts. Based on the tally that the media has kept throughout training camp, Carlson is now 28 of 41 in camp. After solid back-to-back performances, Carlson’s field goal percentage is now 68 percent, which is around the bare minimum at the NFL level. Still, that’s progress.