GREEN BAY – The Packers held a closed, non-padded practice on Monday at Nitschke Field, prior to a Tuesday walk-through that precedes the two joint practices with the New York Jets on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here are five things we learned:
1. There’s a new entrant in the guard competition…
…and it’s rookie fourth-round pick Royce Newman.
Head Coach Matt LaFleur, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and offensive line coach/run game coordinator Adam Stenavich all expressed their dismay over the weekend at the struggles with the run game in the preseason opener vs. Houston.
No one took a step forward in the competition for the starting guard jobs, so Newman now has been added to that mix.
The Ole Miss product was working with the No. 1 offensive line on Monday at right guard, with Ben Braden at left guard. The starters from Saturday night’s game, left guard Jon Runyan and right guard Lucas Patrick, also rotated in with the first unit as a pair.
So a three-man battle for two spots is now a four-man competition for those two jobs, which are both available because Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins is filling in at left tackle until David Bakhtiari returns from his knee injury. A timeline on Bakhtiari has not been announced.
Newman had spent the spring and the early stages of training camp getting reps at both guard and tackle with the reserve units after starting at both positions over his last two years in college.
2. QB Jordan Love is on the mend and could be back soon.
LaFleur said Love is feeling “significantly better” than he did Saturday night when he was removed from the game at halftime over concern for a shoulder injury.
Love did not practice Monday, but LaFleur did not rule out him returning to action in the joint practices later this week, and he left open the possibility he could play in the preseason game against the Jets.
“We’ll just see how the week goes and how he recovers,” LaFleur said.
The Packers still could sign another quarterback this week just in case. Some options are being brought in for workouts on Tuesday, LaFleur said.