Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson has been a big part of the team’s recent resurgence on offense. The 6’4”, 208-pound speedster out of North Dakota State has gotten back into form after a slow start to the 2023 season. At the end of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, however, Watson appeared to reinjure his hamstring. How this will affect his availability for the Packers final five games is still unknown.

Packers WR Christian Watson Had a Tough Start to His Rookie Season

The Packers traded up to select Watson with the first overall pick in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Injuries slowed his progress in training camp and in the preseason.

On the Packers first offensive play of his rookie season, Aaron Rodgers threw a long pass to Watson that the rookie dropped. From that point on, Rodgers didn’t seem to trust Watson.

In the first nine games of the season, Watson missed three with injuries. When he did play, he caught only 10 passes for 88 yards and did not catch a touchdown pass.

Christian Watson and the Packers Finished 2022 Strong

In the second half of the season, things started to click for Watson. The rookie had a breakout game in Week 10 against Dallas, catching four passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the season with 41 catches for 611 yards and seven touchdowns as a receiver. He also ran for two scores on jet sweeps and end arounds.

His emergence was a catalyst for the Green Bay offense and helped spark their late season playoff run that fell a game short.

The Packers were eager to see what Watson would do in his second NFL season and how he could build on his strong finish.

Another Frustrating Training Camp for Watson and the Packers

Unfortunately for both Watson and the team, Watson again suffered an injury during training camp. The bad hamstring kept him out of action throughout the preseason and caused him to miss the team’s first three regular season games.

When he returned, he was on a play count as he got back into game shape and made sure his hamstring could handle the workload.

Packers WR Christian Watson Struggles Early in the Season Again

Again, Watson had a disappointing start to his second NFL campaign. He had too many dropped passes, struggled to make contested catches, and often didn’t run precision pass patterns. In his first seven games, he never caught more than three passes in any of them and had only one game with more than 33 yards receiving.

Fans were beginning to wonder if Watson had a future in Green Bay and if he would ever live up to the high expectations that followed him into the NFL.

Christian Watson Plays Well Again

Watson wasn’t the only young player struggling on the Green Bay offense. New starting quarterback Jordan Love was having difficulty with accuracy and many of the team’s inexperienced receivers were running the wrong patterns. The offense was inconsistent due to injuries and players who still had a lot to learn about playing in the NFL.

But the Packers offense improved in recent weeks and Watson was one of the reasons why. He has four touchdown catches in the last three games including two against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

He also caught 12 passes in the last two games for 165 yards and three scores while also running twice for 15 more yards.

Watson started to make contested catches and has earned the trust of his quarterback and coaches.

“Honestly, I wish it would’ve come a little bit earlier,” Watson, told reporters. “But I think this year, especially, our offense has gotten in a flow and gotten in a rhythm, gotten in a groove, and it helps all of us to make plays. And I’m just fortunate to be on the receiving end of those touchdowns a couple times. But I think our offense is just doing really well right now.”

Christian Watson Suffers Another Untimely Injury

Unfortunately, late in the Chiefs game, Watson appeared to tweak his hamstring again. The full extent of the injury is not yet known.

“I’ll go talk to the trainers, figure out what’s going on. But, yeah, we’ve got to get that sorted out,” Watson said.

“It’s unfortunate,” head coach Matt LaFleur said after the win over Kansas City. “I think his play has really taken off and I think that’s been a big catalyst for our offense. That touchdown catch he had vs. the all-out pressure was phenomenal. Jordan did a great job of hanging in there and giving him a ball, and he went up and he’s making some plays. So, I hope [his absence is] not too long. He’s a dynamic player and, certainly, it took a minute to get going, but, once he gets going, you guys see the results.”

The Packers WR Outlook for the Remainder of the Season

There is no doubt the Packers offense benefits when Watson is in the lineup. He can make big plays downfield. Even when he doesn’t make a catch, defenses are forced to respect his speed and that often opens up opportunities for the team’s other receivers.

Without Watson, players like Dontavion Wicks, Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs, and Malik Heath will get more opportunities to show what they can do. The Packers have used a receiver by committee approach and will likely continue to do so until Watson is ready to return.

It is unfortunate that Watson suffered another injury just as his season was starting to get on track. Staying healthy will be a key for Watson if he hopes to live up to expectations for his career.



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