The 2022 NFL preseason slate of games have finished up for the Green Bay Packers, and with it comes the final significant step in the offseason – cut downs. Thursday’s contest helped solidify the case of some players, while others may have just played themselves right off of the roster.
Offensive Line depth is yet again a strength
Even with the uncertainties surrounding the Week 1 status of both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, this preseason helped prove that there are plenty of internal options that can step in at a moment’s notice.
Jake Hanson, Caleb Jones, Rasheed Walker, and others had some important moments on Thursday, holding their own and helping keep both Jordan Love and Danny Etling upright. This position group will likely be one of the hardest for Brian Gutekunst to pair down, especially with how deep it goes.
The health of both Bakhtiari and Jenkins will factor into how many tackles are taken versus guards. As both players were kept on the active roster, for the time being, their return to action should come sooner rather than later, a sign that will help this offense establish a rhythm early on in the year.
Expecting Green Bay to roll with 10 OL to start the year is a tough ask, especially with other position groups needing extended depth pieces too. Guys like Jones, Michal Menet, and Walker are likely the options on the roster bubble, so look for Jones and Walker to have the highest odds of making the final 53.
Special Teams is still a disaster
Regardless of which team they are playing or what they are asked to do, the special teams unit for the Packers seems to still be a disaster. Having allowed long returns of 35, 16, 17, 14, 20, and 16 yards by the Chiefs on both kick and punt returns, Rich Bisaccia’s unit has shown no signs of improvement.
Sloppy coverage is unfortunately a common theme for this team, and they have been burned by it far too many times in the past. While not always thought of as an important aspect of the game, the Packers have magnified the importance of it and how much it can affect a game’s outcome if execution is poor.
Pat O’Donnell looks to be a solid punting option, and his familiarity both with kicking in the elements and holding on field goal attempts hopefully will bring a sense of comfort to fans. The former Bears punter showcased a solid leg on Thursday, averaging over 56 yards on 6 punts (with a long of 69).
Not knowing the status of Mason Crosby for the beginning of the year should have fans on edge, even with how Ramiz Ahmed has looked kicking in the preseason. Having hit both of his kicks Thursday, Ahmed made all six kicks during the preseason, including three field goals.
The Nevada product, who suited up in the USFL for their 2022 season, looks to be the in-house option if Crosby cannot go. As was their weekly pattern last season, they did keep a specialist on the practice squad in case of any last-minute issues, so if Crosby somehow does return for the beginning of the year, look for Ahmed to become a weekly mainstay on our practice squad.
The roster will need to be trimmed down by Tuesday, so many names will begin to enter the pool of free agents. The team will have plenty of tough decisions to make, but this roster is one of the deeper ones they have had in a while.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23