The Green Bay Packers did not get the best news on their first injury report ahead of their Week One matchup against the Chicago Bears. Wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs did not practice on Wednesday due to hamstring injuries. In addition, 2023 NFL Draft pick Dontayvion Wicks was also limited in practice due to a hamstring issue. With the first game of the season days away, Green Bay has half their wide receivers dealing with some kind of injury.
Of course, the Packers are going into the 2023 NFL season with a young and inexperienced pass catching group anyway. If Doubs and Watson are unable to play on Sunday against the Bears, it will mean that the only receivers available will have a combined 112 snaps in the NFL. And they all belong to Samori Toure.
Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Samori Toure Knows the Offense
A seventh round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Toure did not get on the field much last season. In fact, he rarely dressed for games, appearing in just 11 games and playing 16% of the offensive plays and 1% of special teams plays.
He has put in a ton of work this offseason, though, and coaches have been raving about the improvements he made. When asked about Toure possibly playing a bigger role against the Bears due to the injuries to Watson and Doubs, head coach Matt LaFleur said (via Ryan Wood):
“He’s just so much more comfortable in the offense. I know he’s a guy who you can line up in any position, whether it’s the X or the slot or the Z. He has complete grasp of the offense, and it’s a luxury.”
Toure, too, feels like he can help the team if he is pressed into a bigger role on Sunday. According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Toure said:
“We gotta prepare like we’re all gonna play every snap either way, no matter who’s out there. Just gotta make sure we’re locked in. The young guys are doing great throughout the preseason and learning the playbook. I feel like everyone’s ready to go out there and perform.”
It is interesting to note that Toure only was targeted 10 times last season in the rare instances that he was on the field. Of course, former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was infamously difficult to build rapport with. One has to assume that Toure will be in a much better position to succeed and contribute with Jordan Love as his quarterback.
Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Malik Heath Is Ready
Undrafted free agent wide receiver Malik Heath became a fan favorite during the preseason due to his athletic catches and exciting overall ability. He made the 53-man roster as one of six receivers, and may find himself as a top three receiver on Sunday depending on the health of Watson, Doubs, and Wicks.
Heath told Schneidman:
“I’m ready. I’m ready. Coach prepared us well. He prepared us well throughout last week and this week with the game plans. I’ve been studying a lot, studying the corners a lot, studying their tells and their signs, like what they’re bad at, how can I attack them and stuff like that. In my eyes, I’m prepared well, so I’m ready.”
Coach LaFleur also told reporters on Wednesday that the team has a plan, and they will roll with that plan regardless of who is healthy. If some players cannot play, it will be up to the next man up to make the plan work.
In any case, the depth of the Packers is certainly being tested early. However, they believe in their young group of pass catchers. Additionally, Green Bay also boasts an exceptional offensive line and one of the best running back duos in the NFL in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
If the line can protect Love like they did in the preseason, and if the running backs can keep the Bears’ defense off balance, Love will find his receivers, no matter who they are.