Green Bay Packers minicamp is officially wrapped up and in the books for 2022. The mandatory practices spanning from June 7-June 9 ended up being two days as Thursday’s practice was cancelled in favor of a team building activity. Though the Packers still aren’t in pads during these sessions, it’s still good for guys to get back to football, as the regular season is now just three months away.
Similar to how I recapped the Packers OTA’s, the observations in this article are largely a credit to Packers reporter Andy Herman and his Pack-A-Day Youtube Videos. Herman was able to attend both minicamp practices and had a wide variety of observations through both days.
QB1, Aaron Rodgers, going into his 18th NFL season, was present at minicamp and looked like his usual self, slinging darts and having fun on the field. When asked if he would retire as a Packer, he responded “Yes. Definitely”. It appears this question can finally be put to rest. “Unless they trade me”, Rodgers joked with a laugh.
Rodgers noted that expectations will be reasonable but accountability needs to be high when it comes to the receiver room. He also mentioned he values productivity over potential.
Backup Quarterback Jordan Love continued to struggle for a good chunk through the two days of practice, according to Herman. While Love did have some nice moments, like leading the Packers to a touchdown in a competitive two minute drill period, he had a handful of bad moments too, including a terribly thrown pass behind Josiah Deguara that was picked off by Vernon Scott which would’ve resulted in a Pick-Six. Herman noted that it still looks like Love is thinking a lot while on the field as opposed to just playing. It seems he still has a long, long way to go. With that said, training camp and preseason will be far more important towards the evaluation of the 2020 1st round pick.
Allen Lazard was not in attendance for minicamp, the reason being because he’s currently not under contract with the Packers. You can read more into that here but overall, it sounds like both sides aren’t concerned.
Coach LaFleur said Sammy Watkins will be a “big part of the offense”. For anyone wondering if Watkins might be a bubble player to make the roster, it appears that’s not the case. Herman noted that Watkins made a really nice one-handed catch on Tuesday and looks the part as a veteran wide receiver.
Juwann Winfree carries himself with a ton of swagger and does not lack confidence. Winfree is definitely someone who’s on the cusp of making the roster but he moves with the moxie of a WR1. He made a nice catch which resulted in a touchdown in the 2 minute drill against Jaire Alexander on an underthrown pass from Jordan Love, about a 40-45 yard reception.
Amari Rodgers had a really nice day of practice on Wednesday.
Christian Watson looked sharp on Tuesday, catching everything that was thrown his way. Samori Toure made a couple good catches on Wednesday, as well as logging a solid rep at gunner on the punt team.
The starting offensive line from left to right was Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Royce Newman and Cole Van Lanen. This was the same group of 1’s that made up OTA’s.
David Bakhtiari continued to do work on the side, still rehabbing from his injury a year and a half ago. Aaron Rodgers said “he’s been working really hard. Hopefully training camp he’s good to go”. It’s not exactly reassuring that we are still “hoping” Bakhtiari is ready but we’ll have to wait and see. The expectation is that he will be a full go.
First round rookie DT Devonte Wyatt got some reps with the first team defense. It’s pretty clear that 2nd year man TJ Slaton is pencilled in as the Packers starting Nose Tackle. He’s been impressive this off-season.
The Packers other first round rookie, ILB Quay Walker, continues to take more and more reps with the 1’s on defense. Green Bay also showcased a package of Walker and Preston Smith on the edges with Rashan Gary lined up over the center, similar to what they used to do with Za’Darius Smith. It could be a wrinkle we see, or not, during the regular season.
Jaire Alexander continues to impress every time he’s on the football field. As Herman pointed out, he’s such a professional, so detail oriented and in-tune with his craft. He looks great.
Rasul Douglas also looked very solid. He had a pick-six on Aaron Rodgers that according to Herman, was more of a route miscommunication than anything Douglas did. Still, a house call is a house call.
Newly acquired CB Keisean Nixon, who was brought to the Packers from the Raiders primarily for Special Teams help, could be making a real push to be Green Bay’s CB4. He had sticky coverage through out practice on Wednesday.
Mason Crosby was working with the rehab group on Wednesday. Pat O’Donnell looked good punting the football inside the Don Hutson center.
Keisean Nixon, Juwann Winfree, Samori Toure, Rico Gafford, Kiondre Thomas had some nice reps at gunner on the punt team. Gafford, Amari Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Romeo Doubs were taking reps at punt returner.
Herman noted how lucky the Packers are to have Matt LaFleur as their Head Coach. He’s very engaging and active with the players on all sides of the ball (Offense, Defense, Special Teams) and really coaches up guys in a constructive and healthy manner. He knows the game of football very well and it’s evidenced by the way he’s able to coach players individually after a rep or a play.
That does it for Green Bay Packers Minicamp 2022. The Packers will have a final week of voluntary OTA’s this upcoming week, June 13, 14th and 16th. Aaron Rodgers already confirmed he will not be in attendance, given these are voluntary. After next week concludes, the next big ticket item for the 2022 season will be Training Camp, which will start in late July/early August.——————
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a Packers guy. Alex\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.