Green Bay Packers

Roll Out the Reaction 9/2: It’s all coming together

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Every Thursday, Patrick Kotnik provides two observations, a quote of the week, one question, and a prediction regarding the Green Bay Packers. 

2 Observations

A new punter is in town – The Packers traded for Rams punter Corey Bojorquez and cut JK Scott prior to the 53-man roster being announced on Tuesday.

The move came as a bit of a surprise (but also not at the same time) as it seemed JK Scott would be in Green Bay for at least another season with his value as a holder and after Ryan Winslow was released during camp.

Well, not so fast, Brian Gutekunst said (not really).

Scott has without a doubt been inconsistent during his three seasons in Green Bay. Although he booted a 56-yard punt against Buffalo, there was the 21-yard punt he had against the Jets as well as the cramps he had against the Bills that led to Mason Crosby attempting a punt for the first time in his NFL career. 

I give Guntekunst a lot of the credit and the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the trades he’s made as GM. Props to him here for snagging a punter who led the league with an average punt of 50.8 yards last season along with an additional draft pick.

Special teams are crucial to success and if the Packers are indeed going all out for a Super Bowl this year, you got to do something to address weaknesses like the punt team, which ranked near the bottom in both net average and punts inside the 20 last season. 

Jenkins will start the season at LT – I was pumped about Elgton Jenkins’ potential from the moment the Packers drafted him in the second round in 2019. Why? Because versatile linemen are a beautiful thing to have on your team, and now this selection is more than paying off for the green and gold. On top of his versatility, Jenkins is just a damn good lineman. 

The Pro Bowl guard who has played every position on the line is the best possible insurance policy for the Packers at left tackle in place of Bakhtiari, who we now know will miss at least the first six games of the season. Jenkins consistently played at a high level during training camp protecting the blind side, further giving the Packers the reassurance they needed at LT.

Although Gutekunst said Wednesday that Jenkins’ presence had no impact on the decision to place Bakhtiari on the PUP list, the decision can still be seen as an indication of the large amount of trust the organization has in Jenkins to hold down the LT position until Bakhtiari returns, while others such as Royce Newman, Lucas Patrick or Jon Runyan Jr. hold down the guard positions. There was no reason to rush Bakhtiari back from his ACL injury with the amount of depth the Packers have on the offensive line and now Bakhtiari can fully focus on getting back to 100%. 

Quote(s) of the Week: Normally I’ll keep it to one quote, but I wanted to discuss a couple that came out of Wednesday’s press conferences.

“It was the greatest day of my life. If I get a phone call like that every single morning, I’d be pretty happy. That would be my alarm clock.” -Jack Heflin on making the 53-man roster

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend watching the Jack Heflin and Chauncey Rivers press conferences from Wednesday. There are incredible stories every year of players making the 53-man roster against all odds and both have had memorable journeys to get to where they are now.

Heflin has a lot of potential and that obviously showed during the preseason with his nine tackles and three quarterback hits along with his great hustle. 

“For Malik, talent has never been the issue, it’s just putting it all together.” – Matt LaFleur 

Boy, did things ever come together at the perfect time for Taylor. 

The third-year receiver out of Ferris State used a solid camp to solidify the sixth and final receiver spot on the depth chart. He led the team with 14 catches for 185 during the preseason. Taylor’s development took the step forward that it needed to as he played faster with more confidence and a sense of urgency. 

Yes, injuries to Juwann Winfree and Equanimeous St. Brown while Taylor stayed healthy definitely helped his case, but Taylor still went out there, took advantage of the opportunity and earned the roster spot.

I’ll admit, I was very close to choosing Gutekunst’s response to a question about how much he’s communicated about Rodgers regarding personnel, but there’s been plenty of time to discuss that topic and I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities to do so.

1 Question: What other personnel moves do the Packers make?

With the final round of roster cuts behind us, there’s bound to be more transactions and waiver-wire claims based on who’s available from waivers leading up to the start of the regular season. 

The Packers didn’t claim anyone from waivers following final cuts nor did any of their releases get claimed elsewhere. 

At this point (barring any new injuries), I think if Gutekunst and co. were to make any moves between now and the opener against the Saints in Jacksonville, they could make attempt to fill the voids left by special teams contributors Will Redmond and Randy Ramsey (both on IR), or possibly a new long snapper to replace the struggling Hunter Bradley. 

1 Prediction: Jenkins has an All-Pro season

I’m going to continue to ride the Elgton Jenkins train here and predict he plays well both at left tackle and guard (when Bakhtiari returns) to earn his first All-Pro honor.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jenkins has allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits in 1,396 career pass-block snaps. If he can continue that kind of success at left tackle and when he moves back over to left guard, then I don’t know how he’s not deserving of the honor plus an even higher payday.

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