The Green Bay Packers will enter the 2022 season among the favorites in the NFC, but they’re going to have to weather some big changes along the way — especially on offense.
Earlier this offseason, Green Bay traded Aaron Rodgers’ longtime No. 1 target, Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders. No. 2 wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling also left the team, signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers brought in a small cadre of players to replace his production, highlighted by draft picks Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, along with free agent signing Sammy Watkins. They’ll also get tight end Robert Tonyan back from injury, and they still have Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Amari Rodgers left over from last season.
It’s safe to say the offense will look different, and that it will likely depend a lot more on the team’s running back duo — Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon — as well as the play of the offensive line. The Packers got some unwelcome news on the latter front this weekend, as they reportedly placed star left tackle David Bakhtiari on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to open training camp.
Bakhtiari missed all but one game in 2021 after tearing his ACL in December 2020. He missed the first 10 weeks of last season on the PUP list, then was not activated until the team’s final regular-season game. He played 20 snaps in that contest, then was inactive for the Packers’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Earlier this offseason, Packers coach Matt LaFleur expressed hope that Bakhtiari would be ready to go by the start of camp. “Time will tell,” LaFleur said in June, per Yahoo! Sports. “We fully anticipate him being ready to go, but, you know, we did last year as well. I think time will tell. We feel good about the work he’s put in and where he’s at.”
Going on PUP to start camp is not the end of the world, and players are sometimes placed on the list to give them a few extra days to rest up before getting into full practices. But with Bakhtiari already having missed the better part of the year, it’s at least a bit of a concern. Until we get more information regarding his status, this is certainly a situation to keep an eye on.