Packers’ mailbag: David Bakhtiari’s knee, Jordan Love and Julio Jones’ future


If you think I’m going to waste your time with a long intro, you must not know how these mailbags work.

We have a lot to sort out, so let’s get to it.

To note: Questions have been edited for length and clarity.

Does Juwann Winfree make the Week 1 roster and does Amari Rodgers become Tyler Ervin 2.0? — Marcus W.

I think there are five locks for the 53-man wide receiver roster: Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Rodgers, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. The Packers will take six or seven from the position, which leaves one or two spots for Sammy Watkins, Winfree, Malik Taylor and everyone else in contention. What if they signed Julio Jones? Winfree will have an uphill battle to make the roster regardless, although contributing as a gunner on special teams might help his case. As for Amari Rodgers, don’t count him out just yet. He has a mountain to prove to carve out a gimmick/comeback role that Ervin had in 2019, but there have been other receivers here (cough, cough, Davante Adams) who have struggled to kickstart their careers also before becoming useful.

What are the realistic expectations for (new Special Teams Coordinator) Rich Bisaccia to turn around the Special Teams unit? If he’s able to put Green Bay right in the top half of the league statistically, that would be a huge and invaluable help on offense and defense from the mistakes and misdeeds of the past decade. The Las Vegas gamblers really liked him, and the Packers are paying him a bounty to change their recent misfortunes. — Jared Y.

I think even the top 20 would be huge for the Packers after finishing 32nd in Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings last season. A realistic expectation, however, is that the Packers simply won’t submit a CVS receipt for comedic errors at any level this season.

“I have a lot of respect and a lot of love for Rich,” Packers 16th-year kicker Mason Crosby said. “He’s done it at a high level for a long time as a coach. He’s who he is every day. I love his consistency. He’s going to be the same person every time you approach him, and he gives give everyone a good shake. He’s going to tell you how he feels and where you’re at. He’ll cheer you on when you get it right, then he’ll correct him right away whenever he needs to adjust. …C It’s like there’s a big expectation and you can already feel that in our meetings, just the guys who need to know exactly what they’re doing at a high level and be accountable for it.

Name five players other than Aaron Rodgers who need to be healthy at the end of the season if the Packers are to win a Super Bowl? — Casey R.

All right, here it is: David Bakhtiari, David Bakhtiari, David Bakhtiari, David Bakhtiari and David Bakhtiari. OK, so maybe we’ll add Rashan Gary, AJ Dillon, Adrian Amos and De’Vondre Campbell to it.

Do you expect further extensions before the next offseason? — Wendell F.

I’m not sure of the timing, but the next two most important things to do are Elgton Jenkins and Gary. The other candidates are Amos, Crosby, Lazard and of course Marcedes Lewis.

What future for Jordan Love? — Shawn

A beautiful mystery, in the words of Aaron Rodgers. I’ve written about it before, but there’s a chance Rodgers will only play one more season. Next, the Packers have to decide if Love is good enough to start consistently, and I’m not sure anyone knows the answer to that question given how few major snaps he’s played. We may not get that answer this season either, but that’s what the Packers signed when they drafted Love with Rodgers four years left on his contract.

Will GM Brian Gutekunst trade for a WR or TE before the season? — David M.

Schneidman’s crystal ball says he will sign Julio Jones.

When can we start pressing the panic button for Bakhtiari? Twenty months for a torn ACL is way longer than the normal recovery time. — Ed Y

I will allow everyone to press the button if they are not on the field to start training camp.

It seems almost every year an undrafted rookie makes the 53-man roster. Any predictions for who it will be this year? — John G

It’s way too early to tell, but my shot in the dark will be the long snapper Jack Coco.

Why has no one commented on the fact that the Packers are 7-0 without Adams in recent years? Seems to me the Packers can be more dynamic when the defense has no idea where the ball is going. — Ken A.

I think everybody commented on this. The Packers are by no means a better team without Adams, but their record without him under coach Matt LaFleur is just a reminder that they can win in other ways, whether it’s Rodgers raising their reserve receivers (see: victory at Arizona last season), relying on one of the best running back duos in the NFL or relying on a solid defense. I wouldn’t say the offense can be any more dynamic than arguably the best receiver in the league, but playing without Adams added an air of unpredictability for opposing defenses to deal with.

What battles should we Packers fans watch as training camp approaches? — Mark M.

The ones I’ll be watching the most are right guard, right tackle, splitting as the best pass-catching tight end with Robert Tonyan, if anyone emerges as a WR1, RB3, third safety, OLB3 and iDL3 behind Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry.

What are the chances that the Packers defense will rank in the top 5 at the end of the year? Why? — Thomas H.

There is definitely a chance that they will. They could have the best secondary in the NFL on paper, a reigning All-Pro inside linebacker with a first-round pick joining him at the position and a solid front four or five. Not to mention that this is a group that largely knows each other entering the second year of the same program. Depth up front is the biggest concern right now, in my eyes. Ndamukong Suh is available, however!

More of a personal question here: you were a beat reporter for the Raiders before, where it probably wasn’t boring. But if you think back to your time in Green Bay with all the drama but also the success/failure of the Packers, it’s likely going to be hard to do even better. Or do I have Green Bay glasses and life as a reporter is never boring, no matter what NFL team you cover? — Sebastian V

Good question. Life as a beat reporter can certainly be boring, but I’ve been lucky enough to cover two franchises with massive fanbases that really care about me, and plenty of great stories to tell. You always want to cover a team with a strong fanbase (which means more readers) and a relevant team, whether for good or bad reasons, because relevance pays the bills. The Raiders were relevant for all the wrong reasons in my two years there, and the Packers were relevant for (mostly) all the right reasons in my three years here.

Where do you stand on the total of 35 receptions for Watson this year? — Chuck R.

Go to the store, buy a hammer and use it on top.

I know people worry about top speed, but I saw a surprising outburst from Matt LaFleur in the slot yesterday. Made me wonder. You versus LaFleur in 1-on-1 WR/CB drills. Let’s say five reps for each of you in each position. Who wins? — Quintine C.

I am 27 years old and 6 foot 1 inch. He is 42 years old and not 6ft 1in (he is between 5ft 10in and 5ft 11in). I take myself.

Did you choose special tracksuits for the minicamp this year? In terms of the team, do you see any of our first or second year players showing big personalities in the locker room that could make them media favorites and provide content such as the Smiths, Davante, Jaire , etc. ? — Henry H.

I take the tracksuits off, but they worked fine. As for upcoming interview favorites, I think Eric Stokes has some serious promise for rookies and sophomores. Devonte Wyatt also seems to have a great personality for interviews.

Jenkins, Bakhtiari or Tonyan: Whose full ACL recovery is most critical for the Packers season and why? — Marc C.

of Bakhtiari. When healthy, he’s one of the best left tackles in football, if not the No. 1 in the NFL.

You can choose a current free agent to sign up for the roster. Who would you choose and why? — Monty M.

I would choose the aforementioned Julio Jones. Even if he doesn’t play all 17 games, he gives the Packers a red zone threat they currently don’t have. He can still play – even if he can’t get the better of a defense like he used to – and he would certainly improve a play that is pedestrian as it is now.

(Photo by David Bakhtiari: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Comments are closed.