Well, it’s not exactly a sigh of relief coming out of Green Bay on Thursday. But it is a at least a deep and heavy breath of relief. That’s because the Packers appear on track to get at least one of their Top 3 receivers back in time for Sunday’s Week 1 showdown against the Bears.
Second-year receiver Romeo Doubs, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, was upgraded from “did not participate” to “limited” on Thursday, while the team’s other top returning pass-catcher, Christian Watson, remained out of practice for the second straight day, also with a hamstring injury.
Rookie Dontayvion Wicks was upgraded from limited to a full participant.
Coach Matt LaFleur said that Watson missed most of practice to get treatment, but added that Watson, “came later to practice.”
LaFleur did seem encouraged by Doubs showing, even if in limited work. “He looked good,” LaFleur said. “He took a couple of reps in each team period, all the routes on there, he looked good.”
But LaFleur stressed that the team would not put Doubs in harm’s way to make him play before he is ready, even if the team is running low on receivers. “We’re not going to put him in a position to miss a longer period of time,” La Fleur said. “If he’s feeling good, he’ll be out there and if he’s not then he won’t.”
WR Injuries Could Add Pressure on Love
As if there were not enough pressure on new quarterback Jordan Love to begin with, having his only two receivers with significant NFL experience is not going to help as he gets started in his new role leading Green Bay. Doubs played 13 games for the Packers and caught 42 passes for 423 yards and two touchdowns. Watson played 14 games and caught 41 passes for 611 yards and seven touchdowns.
Love said that not being able to work with Doubs and Watson in the days before Week 1 hurts a bit, but pointed out that he’s been working with them all offseason. If one or both can play, Love isn’t worried about the rapport he has with them.
“Obviously, it’ll be tough but I think we have a good stack-up through camp and OTAs of getting reps,” Love said. “(Doubs) is a guy who has been here and he knows what he is doing so I don’t think it’ll be hard for him.”
The Packers also upgraded receiver Dontayvion Wicks from limited to full participation on Thursday. Wicks is one of three rookies on the Packers’ six-man receiving unit, with Malik Heath and Jayden Reed. With Watson and Doubs, the Packers’ only other receiver with any experience is Samori Toure, who caught five passes for 82 yards as a rookie last season.
Doubs: ‘This Is a Day-to-Day Thing’
While things look better for Doubs, as LaFleur said, there is no guarantee yet that he will play on Sunday. When asked if he was able to “cut loose” in the reps he got in practice, Doubs said, “Not really.”
But Doubs does talk like a man eager to be on the field on Sunday, even if he is measured in his responses.
“This is a day-to-day thing,” Doubs said of his hamstring injury, the first he has had in his football career. “As far as my health being, I will leave that up to coach LaFleur. I thought today was pretty good for us. … Just throughout this entire week I thought some of the things I’ve been doing, in this building, I thought I’ve been doing a tremendous job. Days away from Sunday, can’t wait to play.”