Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson is still unsure of whether he will be able to suit up in Atlanta for Week 2’s game against the Falcons, but it does not seem like a move to injured reserve is in the cards for him.
According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Watson told reporters on September 11 that he is dealing with a right hamstring injury but has “obviously a lot better chance than last week” to play for the Packers in their second game. He also added that, to his knowledge, a potential move to injured reserve has not been discussed as a possibility.
“I was just coming down. I caught a ball, landed, went to come out of it and just felt it go a little bit,” Watson said Monday about the moment his hamstring injury occurred, via Schneidman. “It’s just, it is what it is. I’m feeling good with where I’m at right now, so I’m just going to keep on grinding and try to get back as soon as I can.”
The Packers were forced to open the season without Watson after he missed all three of Week 1’s practices with his hamstring injury, but having him back for their second game would go a long way toward maintaining the momentum of their 38-20 win in Chicago. He caught 41 passes for 611 yards and scored nine total touchdowns as a rookie in 2022.
The Packers (1-0) are set to kick off against the Falcons (1-0) in Atlanta at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 17.
Christian Watson Could Prove a Boon Against Atlanta
Jordan Love and the Packers offense got the job done without Watson in their season opener against a disorganized Bears defense, but they might need the 24-year-old wide receiver when they ride into Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the second week.
The Falcons allowed the seventh-fewest passing yards (127.0) in the opening week of the new NFL season and saw safety Jessie Bates III pick off Carolina’s Bryce Young — the No. 1 overall pick in 2023 — twice on their way to a 24-10 victory. They also got quite a bit of pressure on Young, recording two sacks and generating 28 pressures — which was more than quadruple the number of times the Bears pressured Love (six).
Now, the Packers could decide to lean on their running game once again in Week 2 given the Falcons also allowed 154 rushing yards in their season opener, but the return of a speedy playmaker like Watson could prove a boon to their efforts on offense.
Watson is one of the only receivers on the Packers’ current roster with at least one full season of experience under his belt and might be the best of the bunch. As a rookie, he touted impressive speed and athleticism that allowed him to be highly effective in the deep field. He was also tremendous after the catch with the fourth-most yards after the catch per reception (6.4) in the league in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus.
Will Romeo Doubs Be Back at Full Strength in Week 2?
The Packers will keep holding out hope that Watson can return to the field in time for their second game against the Falcons, but they will also have to keep an eye on their other more experienced starter — Romeo Doubs — as they prepare for the matchup.
Doubs was active against the Bears on Sunday with four catches for 26 yards and a pair of touchdown grabs, but he played just 20 total snaps of offense as the Packers held him to a pitch count to help manage the hamstring injury that slowed him in practice. While it is encouraging that Doubs was able to play at all, it is a situation worth monitoring in the week ahead, especially once the injury report comes out after Wednesday’s practice.
Fortunately, the Packers saw some encouraging things in the opening week from some of their younger pass-catchers. Jayden Reed, their second-round rookie, caught the first two passes of his career with a 30-yarder proving to be a highlight. Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave also added three receptions for 50 yards, including his wide-open, 37-yard grab that would have been his first touchdown if he hadn’t fallen over on the play.
The Packers will undoubtedly be in better shape if both Watson and Doubs are in the lineup against the Falcons, but there are things to build off of with the young bucks.