The Green Bay Packers are quickly approaching their highly anticipated Week One matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. All throughout the preseason, there has been much speculation in regards to player injuries. Christian Watson, for example, did not play in the preseason after having a procedure done on his knee after OTA’s. Of course, Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari are coming back from knee injuries. Their availability for Week One has been in question for months. In addition to these, there have been questions about who will start and what roles certain players will have. On Tuesday, the Packers released their first unofficial depth chart, which was shared first by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
The Packers’ first “unofficial” depth chart of the regular season.
Also, note that new offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich will work from the sideline. His predecessor, Nathaniel Hackett, was up in the box last year. pic.twitter.com/duG8nC63hm
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) September 6, 2022
Big Takeaway #1: Both Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari Are Listed as Starters
As mentioned above, both Jenkins and Bakhtiari have been questionable for months in terms of their availability in Week One. Both are recovering from torn ACL’s. Bakhtiari tore his near the end of the 2020 season and missed all but 27 snaps in Week 18 last year. He did not play in the Packers’ playoff loss to the 49ers. Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL late last season, but was able to come off of the PUP list during training camp.
According to the depth chart above, David Bakhtiari is going to start at left tackle while Elgton Jenkins starts at right tackle. If this is the case, the Packers certainly will have the upper hand against the Vikings pass rush. There will surely be some rust, but Green Bay is definitely a better team with both of them on the field. That being said, Yosh Nijman proved himself as a capable tackle last season and can play either right or left tackle. Interestingly, seventh round draft pick Rasheed Walker is listed as the backup right tackle.
Big Takeaway #2: Amari Rodgers Will Get the Chance to Return Punts and Kicks Again
2021 third round pick Amari Rodgers did not have the best rookie campaign. As a wide receiver, Rodgers had just four receptions for 45 yards last season. As a returner, he had 20 punt returns for 166 yards and 11 kick returns for 199 yards. He lost the return job due to lack of production and mental mistakes.
During the preseason, Rodgers got fans excited for him as a returner once again against the San Francisco 49ers. Rashan Gary was so hyped up that he leveled Rodgers during a celebration on the sideline. With numerous wide receivers on the depth chart, there will be a great deal of competition for snaps and targets. At his best, Rodgers is a dynamic kick returner and slot receiver. Hopefully his placement on the depth chart here indicates that he is going to take the next step in the NFL.
Big Takeaway #3: Allen Lazard Is Listed as Wide Receiver One
Ever since Davante Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, it was a foregone conclusion that Allen Lazard would be wide receiver one for the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers himself has said that Lazard looks like and plays like a wide receiver one in practice. However, Lazard has not practiced in a week due to an undisclosed injury.
The placement of Lazard on the unofficial depth chart certainly makes one hopeful that he can play Sunday. Without Lazard, the Packers may rely more on a rookie wide receiver or for their running backs to play bigger roles in the passing game. With Lazard, though, the Packers have a veteran receiver who has earned the trust of Aaron Rodgers. This does not even include all the unnoticed dirty work that he does blocking. In other words, the Packers need Lazard on the field. They are a much better team with him healthy.