Football is back, my friends.
How many times do we get to say that before football is truly back on Sept. 11 when the Packers play in the actual season-opener at Minnesota?
I think I’ll say it quite a few times.
Training camp starts? Fooball is back. The Hall-of-Fame game? Football is back. Packers first pre-season game? Football is back.
In all seriousness, I’m so excited to follow along with Packers training camp from afar. And if you’re like me, you already tuned into Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst’s press conference on Wednesday morning.
For the most part always open and honest, Gutekunst fielded questions for nearly 18 minutes from the press. We did learn a few things.
Here are three key takeaways from this morning’s press conference:
1. The wide receiver room is set (for now).
If you thought the Packers were done adding players to the wide receiver room, then you were correct.
At least, for now.
Gutekunst says what they’ve got is what they’ve got, and the front office thinks that it’s pretty solid.
“I don’t think right now we’re really looking to add anything,” Gutekunst said.
“I’ve really liked the group that we have,” Gutekunst continued. “I want to give those guys the opportunity to see what they can do. If we feel we need to do anything, then we’ll adjust. But right now, it’s like any year at this time of the year. There’s not a lot out there.”
With Christian Watson and Sammy Watkins both sidelined for the start of training camp, it will be interesting to follow along with a wide receiver room that has many question marks ahead of the 2022 season.
2. David Bakhtiari status update
When I wrote about being worried about David Bakhtiari in June, I was still generally optimistic he’d be ready to roll by training camp.
However, after tearing his ACL nearly 19 months ago, Bakhtiari was placed on the physically unable to perform list to start camp.
According to Gutekunst, Bakhtiari had another procedure on his knee this offseason, but the Packers remain “cautiously optimistic” about Bakhtiari’s status come Week 1.
“We’re not ready to put a timetable on it,” Gutekunst added.
Although Gutekunst called Bakhtiari’s injury “a very significant injury, much more than an ACL,” he apparently doesn’t have any long-term concern that Bakhtiari might never see the field again.
While it’s never good that a star player can’t play at the beginning of camp, the fact that Bakhtiari should be back soon (hopefully) is a good thing.
3. Elgton Jenkins is ahead of schedule
Speaking of ACL injuries to standout offensive lineman, it was reassuring to hear some positive news about Elgton Jenkins.
Jenkins tore his ACL in Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings in 2021.
“Elgton is doing great,” Gutekunst said. “We’re excited to get him back out there. Hopefully that will be soon. He’s certainly ahead of schedule.”
One of the most versatile and skilled offensive lineman in the league, Jenkins played his rookie season primarily at guard before filling in at left tackle last season in Bakhtiari’s absence.
While I’m not holding out hope that Jenkins will be ready to roll right away, to have Jenkins back in the lineup sooner rather than later would be a huge confident boost to the Packers offense.
- Sammy Watkins injury is very short-term according to Gutekunst.
- Christian Watson’s is also short-term, but a little longer than Watkins.
- “The sky is the limit” for seemingly WR1 Allen Lazard.
- Dean Lowry, Patrick Taylor, Caliph Bryce and Caleb Jones will practice on Day 1.
Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.