Packers coach Matt LaFleur shows optimism regarding injury status of David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins
GREEN BAY — Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur was cautiously optimistic ahead of Monday’s practice, when it came to offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins participating in team drills.
“We’ll see when we get out there, but the hope is that David will be out there,” LaFleur said.
Both are working to come back from knee injuries and be ready for Week 1 on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Jenkins, who came off the physically unable to perform list during training camp from his ACL tear, has been participating in team drills, but it would be the first time for Bakhtiari. Team drills are not open to media and neither lineman were available in the post-practice locker room.
But even as the Packers push to have their duo ready in time for the Vikings, LaFleur is sticking to his offseason motto of not abiding by any timeline.
“We’ll have to find out on Sunday,” he said.
Status of receivers Allen Lazard, Christian Watson also uncertain
Another wait-and-see is wide receiver Allen Lazard, who has been working in the rehab unit for the past two practices (last Wednesday and Monday). The reason has been undisclosed, and there are no noticeable braces or areas of concern on Lazard, who has been able to jog through each rehab drill.
“I think Allen’s doing better but we’ll see as the week progresses, where he’s at,” LaFleur said.
The other receiver whose status is unknown is rookie Christian Watson. The second-round pick in April’s NFL draft did not participate in any preseason games as he recovered from arthroscopic knee surgery this offseason. As to whether he will play Sunday, LaFleur isn’t ready to commit.
“That’s the hope,” he said,” but again, we’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week.”
LaFleur is optimistic about Watson’s ability to take to the field right away despite being rookie who missed training camp.
“You guys can see the physical skills,” he said. “The speed and power he possesses. I think he’s still got a lot to learn and we’re trying to acclimate him as fast as humanly possible. But we’ll get more into the game plan specifics for him, we’ll have a plan for him and we’ll kind of see where it goes.”
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The jitters of a first game against NFL speed and defenses can be daunting, but Watson said the mental reps to the sideline will be the most crucial aspect of his preparation.
“If anything, I got to take more reps mentally than I would've physically and I just made sure I was locked in the whole time,” he said. “Took it one day at a time even though I wasn't out there, stayed in the playbook, stayed in the mental reps and I felt like I was in a good place when I came back and obviously the physical comfortability came when I got back out there as well.
“I definitely feel like there will be a little nerves there just it being my first one but I'm confident in myself, confident in the playbook and everything, and if I do get the chance, I feel like I'll be ready to go."