10 takeaways from Packers’ first 10 training camp practices of 2022

·8 min read

As of Sunday, the Green Bay Packers are now 10 practices into training camp ahead of the 2022 season. Matt LaFleur’s team has almost everything installed on offense, defense and special teams, and now it’s time to start preparing for preseason games – the first arrives Friday night in San Francisco.

Here are Packers Wire’s 10 takeaways from the first 10 practices:

The Romeo Doubs Show

Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.

The unexpected star of training camp has been Doubs, the fourth-round pick who has made a “wow” play every practice and is now pushing to be a Day 1 starter at wide receiver for the Packers. His combination of speed, route savvy and contested-catch ability has been impressive, especially for a young player in his first 10 NFL practices. And the Packers love his routine and the way he goes about his business each day. It’s obviously early, but Doubs has turned heads and set a terrific foundation for his rookie season. He could be an important part of what the Packers attempt to get done in 2022. — Zach Kruse

Wins for No. 1 defense

Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.

During an interview on the Pat McAfee Show following minicamp, Aaron Rodgers said that this could be a “long training camp” for the offense as they go up against what could be one of the top defensive units in the NFL.

And so far, that’s how things have played out, for the most part.

Whether it’s a two-minute drill or a red zone period, the Packers’ defense has consistently bested the offensive side of the ball. This, of course, shouldn’t be too surprising as the offense is without its two best offensive linemen, Robert Tonyan is still sidelined, and they continue to work through life without Davante Adams.

Running the ball, especially outside the has marks, has been a challenge with the defensive front rallying to the football and quickly plugging any gaps at the line of scrimmage. There has been a consistent push into the backfield and regular pressure on the quarterback, while the coverage has been sticky, with Aaron Rodgers having to buy time and work through his progressions.

If there is one word to describe how this defensive unit looks so far, fast is what comes to mind.

Hopefully, facing this level of competition daily helps the Packers’ offense in the long run. As they say, iron sharpens iron. — Paul Bretl

Jordan Love progressing

Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.

According to the eye test, Love is playing his best ball in Year 3. Up until this point, he’s been all potential but now teammates and coaches are seeing a new player, one that is more confident in his ability and in much better control of the offense.

“He’s much more in rhythm, there’s more decisiveness, you see it in his footwork,” said head coach Matt LaFleur. “He’s not getting stuck at the top of the drop. It looks more fluid. It’s translated to his play. He’s throwing the ball accurately and making pretty good decisions.”

Obviously, the preseason will be a better measuring stick, but Love has looked better in practice. Over the last week, he has put together some of best practices as a pro and it culminated during Friday’s family night practice when he delivered a beautiful 54-yard touchdown into the hands of Samori Toure with Devonte Wyatt bearing down on him. It was the type of throw everyone has been waiting to see from the former 26th overall pick and will hopefully carry over into the preseason. — Brandon Carwile

Offensive line concerns?

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

I sense some building concern from coach Matt LaFleur over the early performances of his offensive front. He’s missing David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, who both remain on the PUP list as of Monday, but you get the sense that the offensive line is a big reason why the Packers offense has struggled early in camp. Without Bakhtiari and Jenkins, the best player on the line might be third-year left guard Jon Runyan. There are question marks at every other position. Playing winning football could be a struggle early in the season if the Packers don’t get back the two Pro Bowlers before Week 1. Offensive line looks like a bigger concern than wide receiver at this point of training camp. — Zach Kruse

Zach Tom with the 1s

With David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins sidelined, there has been a lot of rotating along the offensive line and two primary combinations that the starting offense has utilized. One of which includes fourth-round rookie Zach Tom as the left tackle.

Tom started at left tackle his final two years at Wake Forest, but many draft analysts believed that he was better suited at guard or center, in large part because of his size and length, which don’t meet the prototypical tackle thresholds.

However, Tom has found early success working on an island. What he may lack in size and length, he is making up for with his athleticism – Tom posted a RAS of 9.59 at the NFL Combine – and sound technique.

Once Bakhtiari and Jenkins return, the configuration of this offensive line unit will gain some clarity, but until then, Tom has firmly put himself in the discussion of being a Week 1 starter. — Paul Bretl

Christian Watson still on the PUP list

Watson is still being held out of practice after electing to have knee surgery to clean up “lingering soreness” he felt at the end of OTAs. The Packers traded up to pick 34 in this year’s draft to select Watson, hoping he would catch on quick and be immediate contributor on offense. Instead, he has been limited to mental reps in training camp and continues to miss valuable time that could be spent building chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. While Rodgers isn’t concerned about Watson’s absence in the long term, Green Bay’s starting quarterback has always harped on the importance of practice reps. Hopefully, Watson is getting closer to making his return after doing some work with the rehab group at Sunday’s practice. — Brandon Carwile

New special teams emphasis

Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is shown during Green Bay Packers minicamp Tuesday, June 7, 2022 in Green Bay, Wis.

New special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia is not going to settle for another letdown like the one we saw in last year’s divisional round lost to the San Francisco 49ers. Bisaccia has brought newfound intensity to his role as it is not uncommon to hear him yelling from across the field if something is not executed to his liking. Perhaps, that is exactly what this team needs after so many years of having a bottom-tier special teams unit. Someone needed to light a fire under the Packers’ third unit, and Bisaccia might be the perfect man for the job. Obviously, the regular season has yet to start so it’s hard to gauge how much progress has actually been made. Nonetheless, at least the focus appears to be in the right place, which should lead to a better product when the games start to count. — Brandon Carwile

Edge rusher depth

Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.

The receiver position has drawn much of the attention, but the depth behind Rashan Gary and Preston Smith is also a concern for this Packers team.

Edge rusher is a heavily rotated position, with Gary and Smith each playing roughly 68% of the defensive snaps in 2021, which means that the third and fourth edge rushers on this depth chart will see their share of playing time.

The battle for those roster spots is still wide open, although La’Darius Hamilton and Tipa Galeai have spent the most time working with the second defense. However, Jonathan Garvin and Kingsley Enagbare have had their opportunities as well, and just about everyone has worked with the starting defense in some capacity. 

It’s difficult to gauge where this group currently stands, but as Matt LaFleur told reporters last week, these positional battles have a way of sorting themselves out once the preseason games begin.

We may not know what that in-season rotation will look like at this point, but we do know that this Packers defense needs more production from their third and fourth edge rushers than what they got a season ago. — Paul Bretl

Secondary depth

(Samantha Madar/The Post-Crescent via AP)

The Packers have five established starters in the secondary but very few sure things behind them. The depth concerns at cornerback and safety haven’t magically evaporated after 10 practices. No player at either position has really stepped up and grabbed hold of a roster spot, so the preseason will be huge for determining roster spots at key positions in the defensive backfield. The Packers already added Dallin Leavitt at safety, providing help on special teams, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Brian Gutekunst searches around the cornerback and safety market at cutdowns. — Zach Kruse

Kicker and long snapper concerns?

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2)

Mason Crosby remains on the PUP list after having surgery on his right leg, which has to be concerning after the soon-to-be 38-year-old went through such a disappointing 2022 season. Gabe Brkic, the rookie kicker filling in for Crosby at camp, has been up and down and doesn’t look like a realistic Week 1 option. At long snapper, Jack Coco and Steven Wirtel haven’t been consistent enough and may not be long for the roster. The guess here is Rich Bisaccia will want a guy he can count on at long snapper entering the season. The special teams can’t get appreciably better without the personnel. The Packers need Crosby healthy and the long snapper situation figured out before Week 1. — Zach Kruse

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Story originally appeared on Packers Wire