The Green Bay Packers have been holding their first series of full team OTAs this week. As expected, there are some players who have stood out and some pieces of news that have been important to the team this week.
Here is a look at five key takeaways from the first few days of Packers OTAs:
- Eric Stokes Injury Update
The Packers gave us an update on the health of 2021 first-round pick Eric Stokes. The cornerback suffered both a knee injury and a Lisfranc injury to his foot. As a result, he was unable to start running again until earlier this month.
The comeback from the foot injury is a long one but Stokes still hopes he will be ready for the start of training camp in late July.
The rehab is a process, one that running back Patrick Taylor went through two years ago, so Taylor has helped Stokes deal with the process.
It is unclear when Stokes will be ready to return full time. Until then, the starting cornerbacks will be Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas with Keisean Nixon taking most of the snaps as the star.
- Aaron Jones Insists the Packers Are Not Rebuilding
Veteran running back Aaron Jones told reporters the Packers are not rebuilding and still have high expectations entering the 2023 season.
“We’ve got everything we need here. If you think we’re in a rebuild, you’ve got the wrong team, the wrong place,” Jones told reporters. “We know it’s going to take all 11 and we’ll have to depend on each other in all phases, but we’re hungry, we’re ready to prove a lot of people wrong. We know what people are saying. Everybody has an opinion and most of them stink.”
Nixon agreed with Jones. “Nobody in this locker room thinks of it as a rebuild,” Nixon said. “This isn’t a rebuild. We are coming to win now.”
The Packers view the NFC North as wide open and see no reason they cannot compete this season.
- Rookies Making a Strong First Impression
The Packers got to see their 2023 draft class face veterans for the first time this week. The practices are still without pads so there are obviously limitations on what we can learn about the players, but still, some have stood out.
First round pick Lukas Van Ness has lined up with the second-string defense and has done a very good job of getting pressure on quarterback and his size and speed were on full display.
Wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks also had a strong day at practice and caught a touchdown pass from backup Danny Etling. He also caught a 55-yard pass from starting quarterback Jordan Love.
The coaching staff and media have been impressed with Wicks’ showing so far.
Both rookie tight ends, Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft, have showed their athleticism and catch radius at various times during early drills.
- Samori Toure Has Been Impressive
Second-year receiver Samori Toure has opened some eyes at OTAs. He apparently has put on 8-10 pounds of muscle and looks more comfortable in the offense and more confident in his ability.
Toure is doing all he can to earn a substantial role in the offense this year and he has competition from second round pick Jayden Reed.
The former Nebraska star is looking good early and needs to continue to shine to earn playing time in a crowded but inexperienced receiver room.
- Jordan Love Has Been Up and Down
All eyes are on the Packers new starting quarterback. Love got off to a slow start early in the Tuesday practice but rallied to complete some more passes later in the session when he completed touchdown passes to Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and to Toure.
All sides expected growing pains for Love as he only has one NFL start under his belt and that is what we’re seeing.
The key going forward will be how quickly Love learns from his mistakes and shows improvement on the practice field. Developing chemistry with his receivers and earning the confidence of his teammates are key goals for Love at OTAs and in training camp. This will be an ongoing process with some bumps in the road expected.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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