Elgton Jenkins

Latest On Packers LT David Bakhtiari

The Packers hoped to have David Bakhtiari back in the lineup to start the 2022 season, but that has not come to fruition. The All-Pro left tackle sat out once again during last night’s game against the Bears, and is facing an unusual practice routine when he does make his return. 

As detailed by Ryan Woods of PackersNews.com, Bakhtiari will not suit up for each of the three consecutive practice days during any given week, even after he has fully recovered from the ACL tear which occurred on New Year’s Eve in 2020. The soon-to-be 31-year-old will therefore not have a full week of preparation in advance of any games he does appear in this season.

“He’s gotten a lot of reps,” head coach Matt LaFleur said of Bakhtiari’s slow journey back to game action. “There’s not many people that can probably have a schedule like that, but I do believe – and we believe as an organization – that he’s one of those guys.”

The former fourth-rounder earned Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors in 2020, but was limited to just one game played last season as he attempted to come back from the injury. He underwent a third knee surgery this offseason, which led to a stay on the PUP list but also optimism that he would be fully recovered in time for the season opener. In the absence of that taking place, Yosuah Nijman has filled in on the blindside.

In more positive health news, Green Bay was able to welcome back fellow Pro Bowl tackle Elgton Jenkins and No. 1 receiver Allen Lazard yesterday, after the pair were sidelined for Week 1. Their health will give the Packers’ offense a notable boost, but the team’s second highest-paid player appears to face plenty of uncertainty in the short- and long-term future with respect to his availability.

Packers OTs David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, WR Allen Lazard Unlikely To Play Week 1

SEPTEMBER 11: Unfortunately, the Packers will be without their OT bookends for at least one more week. Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, both Bakhtiari and Jenkins will miss Sunday’s opener against the Vikings. Yosuah Nijman, who started eight games at left tackle in 2021, will again get the nod in Bakhtiari’s absence.

SEPTEMBER 10: Green Bay is facing a generally positive situation on the injury front heading into their season opener against the Vikings. One notable absence is expected in the receiving corps, however. 

The Packers’ final injury report lists Allen Lazard as doubtful (Twitter link via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky). He has been dealing with an ankle injury, which has kept him out of practice throughout the week. Green Bay would sorely miss their new top receiver in the event of any lengthy absence.

Lazard signed his RFA tender in June, locking him into a one-year salary of just under $4MM. The timing of his contract status couldn’t have been any better, as the 26-year-old is set to take on the No. 1 spot following the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason. A former UDFA, Lazard posted career highs across the board in a complementary role last season with 40 catches, 513 yards and eight touchdowns.

Assuming he misses the Minnesota game, the Packers will turn to veterans Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins at the position, along with rookies Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers openly criticized the young pass-catchers last month as they look to prepare for significant roles right away to begin their NFL careers. Doubs in particular is slated to be a starter, and has reportedly formed a rapport with the reigning MVP, potentially setting him up for a notable workload especially if Lazard is out.

As Demovsky notes, several other key players are expected to suit up for the Packers. Among those are offensive lineman David Bakhtiari and Elgton JenkinsThe former made it clear earlier this week that he expects to be recovered from the torn ACL which essentially cost him all of last season. The latter, meanwhile, should man the right tackle spot with Bakhtiari back, giving the Packers a formidable bookend tandem.

Tight end Robert Tonyan will also play, after he spent the offseason recovering from his own ACL tear. He, along with running back Aaron Jones, profile as significant contributors in the Packers’ passing game, especially without Lazard on the field.

David Bakhtiari Expects To Play In Week 1

David Bakhtiari has not played a full game since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear. The All-Pro Packers left tackle has undergone three knee surgeries since that setback, with a separate knee issue necessitating the third procedure. While it is taken a long time, the 10th-year pro expects to be back in Week 1 against the Vikings.

The Packers took Bakhtiari off their active/PUP list late in training camp, opening the door to a September return. Bakhtiari went through 11-on-11 drills Monday and indicated he has been doing so for “several” practices now, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes.

I can get through the season,” Bakhtiari said. “It’s going to be fine. You have to just manage while playing. I’m just getting back in the swing of things. So, I mean, I think there’s normal rust and then new normal with three surgeries, so just kind of working that out and figuring out what my routine is.

The 30-year-old blocker played all of 27 snaps last season — during a meaningless Week 18 game in Detroit — but was not healthy enough to suit up for Green Bay’s divisional-round game. The Packers having their highly paid tackle back in place would obviously be a tremendous boost, considering they played without both their Pro Bowl O-linemen for much of last season.

Elgton Jenkins‘ status is not known, per Demovsky, who reiterates the versatile performer is expected to be Green Bay’s right tackle this season. Once he is healthy, that is. Jenkins suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 21, 2021. It would not surprise if the Packers gave the contract-year blocker, who was a Pro Bowler while at left guard in 2020 before going down while filling in for Bakhtiari at left tackle last season, more time to recover. Jenkins might be ahead of schedule, with a stay on the reserve/PUP list once rumored. But it is uncertain if he will start in Minnesota.

This duo’s statuses were a constant talking point for the three-time reigning NFC North champions this offseason. Bakhtiari is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. His absence in the 2020 NFC championship game cost the Packers dearly, though Matt LaFleur‘s team won 13 games without him last year. Bakhtiari and Jenkins suiting up together for the first time since Week 16 of the 2020 season would end this lengthy chapter of O-line uncertainty and help the Packers as they transition to a period of pass-catcher uncertainty.

OL Rumors: Pipkins, Packers, Vikes, Falcons

Practically the only need the Chargers did not address this offseason was right tackle, where incumbent Storm Norton and backup Trey Pipkins waged a summer competition. It looks like there will be a change up front for the Bolts. Pipkins appears to have beaten out Norton for the gig, Daniel Popper of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The two are swapping roles, with Pipkins — a 2019 third-round pick — leaving his swing tackle post to try his luck as a starter again. Norton, who replaced Bryan Bulaga early last season and made 15 starts, worked with the second team throughout practice this week and saw time as the second-string left tackle as well. Pipkins, 25, has made 10 career starts. While the Chargers demoted him in 2021, they were impressed with his left- and right-side spot starts late in the season. The University of Sioux Falls product, who is going into a contract year, will work on a line full of free agency investments (Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler) and first-round picks (Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson).

Here is the latest from the O-line scene:

  • Staying on the right tackle topic, Elgton Jenkins is expected to settle in there when he returns, per Albert Breer of SI.com. A high-end Swiss Army knife for the Packers, Jenkins made the 2020 Pro Bowl at guard and began last season as David Bakhtiari‘s left tackle fill-in. An ACL tear sidelined Jenkins in November. Jenkins would stand to command more in earnings with a quality right tackle season, though staying on the field in 2022 will position him for a lucrative deal no matter where he lines up. The Packers removed both players from the active/PUP list this month but do not yet know if Jenkins and Bakhtiari — who have not played together since December 2020 — will be ready for Week 1, Matt LaFleur reiterated Sunday. When healthy, a Bakhtiari-Jenkins duo would be one of the league’s best tackle tandems.
  • The Vikings are on the verge of having five homegrown first- or second-round picks as O-line starters. Second-round rookie Ed Ingram is “trending” toward being the Vikes’ right guard starter, Kevin O’Connell said (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson). Although Minnesota signed Jesse Davis and Chris Reed as potential stopgaps, Ingram has impressed since moving to first-team duty during camp. Ingram worked with Minnesota’s first team in joint practices against San Francisco, with Davis — who had taken some days off to rest a surgically repaired knee — shifting to the second team, Tomasson adds. Ingram was also held out of the Vikings’ preseason finale Saturday, and while O’Connell stopped short of locking the LSU product into the lineup, that is the likely scenario. Ingram would join 2021 first-rounder Christian Darrisaw, 2020 second-rounder Ezra Cleveland, 2019 first-rounder Garrett Bradbury and 2018 second-rounder Brian O’Neill on a fully homegrown Vikings line.
  • Free agent pickup Elijah Wilkinson looks to have commandeered the Falcons‘ left guard spot, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who notes the former Broncos and Bears blocker looks set to play ahead of 2021 third-rounder Jalen Mayfield. The Michigan product struggled as a rookie, ranking as a bottom-10 Pro Football Focus guard. Mayfield did start 16 games, so a demotion is certainly notable for player who started one with the Bears last season. Wilkinson’s most relevant NFL work came in Denver, when he served as Ja’Wuan James‘ primary replacement from 2019-20. Mayfield may already be on Atlanta’s roster bubble, per Ledbetter.

Packers Activate Elgton Jenkins, Robert Tonyan, Christian Watson From PUP List

The health of several Packers players has been one of the largest talking points for the team this offseason. Positive news came today on that front, as offensive lineman Elgton Jenkinstight end Robert Tonyan and receiver Christian Watson were activated from the active/PUP list (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). 

Teams have until August 23 to activate players in this situation, so the timing of the move is highly encouraging with respect to their regular season availability. Beginning the campaign on the reserve/PUP list was considered a likely outcome in Jenkins’ case last week. That would have dealt a major blow to the Packers’ o-line (requiring him to be sidelined for at least the first four games of the season), especially given the uncertainty surrounding All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.

Instead, Jenkins’ activation represents a positive sign in his recovery from the ACL tear he suffered last November. Assuming he is able to play at the start of the season, the question of where he lines up on the line will become one of great importance. On that subject, head coach Matt LaFleur simply said “time will tell” (Twitter link via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic). The Pro Bowler has experience at guard, but could also operate on the blindside if Bakhtiari isn’t recovered from his own knee ailment by Week 1.

Similar to Jenkins, Tonyan was a question mark for the start of the season. He, too, is rehabbing a torn ACL – an injury which limited him to eight games and only 18 receptions last year. His production in previous campaigns earned the 28-year-old a one-year contract to stay in Green Bay in 2022, where he will once again be counted on as the team’s top tight end. Given the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Tonyan should be in line for a larger role in the team’s passing attack.

Watson profiles as a direct replacement on the perimeter for the team’s departed wideouts. The second-rounder was a surprising addition to the PUP list last month, given that an injury wasn’t specified in his case. He will likely shoulder a large workload given the lack of veterans ahead of him on the depth chart, and the prolific numbers he put up at North Dakota State.

Today’s news doesn’t guarantee, of course, that any of the trio will be active in time for the start of the regular season. Their activation gives them a chance to play, however, which will be a welcomed sight as the Packers look to contend once again for a Super Bowl.

Packers Notes: Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Jenkins

The Packers are hoping a pair of rookie wideouts will help replace the production of former receiver Davante Adams. Second-round pick Christian Watson and fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs will be expected to contribute during the 2022 campaign, and while the duo obviously doesn’t have the expertise of a veteran wideout, quarterback Aaron Rodgers understands GM Brian Gutekunst‘s decision to pivot toward youth.

“We’re still a draft-and-develop team,” Rodgers told SI.com’s Albert Breer. “I know we say that a lot; that’s most of the league, they’d like to be like that. There are less teams like the old Washington [teams] when they were trying to buy a team in free agency in many years. You’d like to draft guys and develop them and give them second contracts in-house. But there are needs and there are opportunities. I’ve always felt like adding one or two veteran guys at or around the minimum can really pay huge dividends in important spots.

“We’ve relied on young guys for much of my career. There are pros and cons to both those things. But I like Brian and his staff, and I think everybody in the building, myself included, has tried to focus on growing a little bit more and communicating a little bit more.”

Rodgers mentions a team’s need for cheap veterans, and Breer notes that the Packers are still open to adding another receiver. Once Watson returns to the practice field, Green Bay’s young duo will join Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb atop the depth chart.

More notes out of Green Bay:

  • With Tom Brady turning 45 last week, Rodgers was asked if he could envision himself playing in the NFL until that age. “No, I don’t,” Rodgers answered definitively (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). Rodgers is set to turn 39 in December.
  • During a recent podcast appearance, Rodgers admitted to using a psychedelic called ayahuasca. According to Peter King of Football Morning in America, the NFL won’t be retroactively punishing Rodgers for use of the plant, especially since he didn’t test positive for a banned substance. Both the league and the NFLPA confirmed to PFT’s Mike Florio that ayahuasca is “neither a prohibited compound under the substance-abuse policy nor a PED.” As Florio notes, there is some precedent for the NFL going after a player who admits to using “a given substance,” with the league previously attempting to put Randy Moss in a drug-test program after he admitted to smoking marijuana “every blue moon.”
  • Some good news on the injury front for the Packers. Gutekunst told reporters that he’s hopeful offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins will both return from their respective injuries early on during the 2022 campaign. “They are both doing really, really well. I think they both have a shot to play early in the season,” Gutekunst said (h/t to Zach Kruse of PackersWire). “They are progressing very well.” Bakhtiari tore his ACL in December of 2020, and he was active for only one January contest during the 2021 campaign. Jenkins tore his ACL during Week 11 of the 2021 season. Both offensive linemen were placed on PUP to begin training camp, and there’s probably little chance we see them during the preseason.
  • The Packers had in a handful of RBs for a workout earlier this week. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), Dexter Williams, Kalen Ballage, Jaylen Samuels, Stevie Scott, and Calvin Turner auditioned for the team. Green Bay ended up signing Williams earlier today.

Elgton Jenkins Likely To Stay On PUP List To Start Regular Season

The offseason rumors of Elgton Jenkins‘ return not transpiring until at least October are looking likelier to be true. The Pro Bowl offensive lineman is likely to begin the season on the reserve/PUP list, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

Players currently on teams’ active/PUP lists have until August 23 to be activated. If activations do not take place, they must begin the regular season on the reserve/PUP list — a roster designation that requires a minimum four-game absence to start the season. The potential unavailability of Jenkins and All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari continues to complicate matters for the Packers’ offensive front.

Jenkins, who has played a few spots along Green Bay’s offensive line, suffered his ACL tear on Nov. 21, 2021, going down on a noncontact play. If he remains on the PUP list going into the season, the earliest he could return would be the team’s Oct. 9 game against the Giants. That would be on the longer end for an ACL return, though these severe knee injuries — as Bakhtiari’s complications from a New Year’s Eve 2020 tear show — affect each player differently. The Packers also are known for injury-related caution.

Bakhtiari remains on Green Bay’s active/PUP list as well. The team managed to go 14-2, prior to a meaningless Week 18 loss to the Lions, with its starters last season. That came entirely without Bakhtiari and partially without Jenkins, who missed 10 games (counting Green Bay’s divisional-round loss to San Francisco).

The Packers have been using Jon Runyan Jr. as their first-string left guard during camp, per Schneidman, who adds a combination of Yosh Nijman, Zach Tom, Royce Newman and Jake Hanson have been combining to fill the other three tackle and guard posts. The Packers used third- and fourth-round picks on Sean Rhyan and Tom, respectively, this year. Josh Myers, who also missed a chunk of last season, remains at center. The team’s first depth chart listed Nijman at left tackle, Newman at right tackle and Hanson, a third-year blocker, at right guard.

Jenkins, who filled in for Bakhtiari at left tackle to start last season, is going into a contract year. A strong return from the ACL tear would put him in position to command top-tier guard money. He was a Pro Bowl guard alongside Bakhtiari, who signed a top-tier tackle contract weeks before his ACL tear, in 2020. Of course, the longer both he and Bakhtiari remain out the more questions it will generate about the state of Green Bay’s O-line.

Packers Place Nine Players On PUP To Start Camp

Sat, 4:07pm:

As mentioned as a possibility last night, the Packers made an addition to their PUP list today, placing star left tackle David Bakhtiari on the list after not including him in their first moves last night, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Bakhtiari missed all but one game last season as he recovered from an ACL tear that he suffered in Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season. He spent most of 2021 rehabilitating before finally making his season-debut in a Week 18 game that had no bearing on the team’s playoff positioning. He was inactive for Green Bay’s playoff loss to San Francisco.

Reiterating what was said yesterday, there is no need for Packers fans to fret quite yet. This is a natural process for NFL teams, especially concerning players returning from a major injury. As long as Bakhtiari comes off the PUP list in the preseason, he should have no restrictions going into regular season play.

Fri, 9:52pm:

As many teams are making necessary adjustments to their injury lists, the Packers joined in today, adding twelve players overall, nine to the physically unable to perform list and three to the non-football injury list, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. 

The biggest surprise on the list was rookie second-round pick Christian Watson. An injury has not been disclosed for the wide receiver, who recently signed his rookie contract. Similarly, undrafted rookie defensive tackle Hauati Pututau was placed on the list for an undisclosed reason.

Four players placed on the PUP list were expected, as they are returning from major injuries. Tight end Robert Tonyan missed half of last season after tearing his ACL in late-October. The same game saw then-rookie running back Kylin Hill suffer a season-ending knee injury. Shortly after, tackle Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL, as well, ending his season after only eight starts. Linebacker Randy Ramsey also suffered an season-ending injury before the season even began after serving in 2020 as a core special teamer.

The three remaining players, kicker Mason Crosby, defensive lineman Dean Lowry, and running back Patrick Taylor, were all placed on the list with no information as to what has put them there.

That’s five expected starters, Watson, Tonyan, Jenkins, Lowry, and Crosby, on the PUP. Packers’ fans will be relieved not to see left tackle David Bakhtiari placed on the PUP list a year after missing all but one game last year recovering from an ACL tear suffered in late-2020.

There could always be additions to the list, as it isn’t official until Tuesday. Additionally, a player can come off of the list anytime during the preseason and can’t be on the list once they’ve practiced with the team. Any players still on the PUP list at the start of the regular season will be required to sit out a minimum of six games, but they won’t count against the roster as the team trims to 53 players.

While the number of players on the list may be alarming, there’s little to worry about as of right now for these Packers. As long as they come off of the list before the season starts, there will be no league-restrictions on their participation.

Packers’ Elgton Jenkins A Candidate To Start Season On PUP List

Offensive line unavailability has become one of the Packers’ recent themes, with David Bakhtiari‘s lengthy recovery effort from his December 2020 ACL tear headlining this. But Green Bay was without its top young blocker for much of last season as well.

Elgton Jenkins went down with a torn left ACL in late November of last year, and the Packers are not certain to have the versatile Pro Bowler to start this season. Jenkins is a candidate to begin the 2022 campaign on the reserve/PUP list, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes, with his roster projection leaving the fourth-year lineman off the team’s initial 53.

The former second-round pick beginning the season on the Packers’ PUP would shelve him for the team’s first six games. The NFC North champions are annually cautious with injuries, but they have seen O-line trouble become a persistent issue. The Packers regularly trotted out second-stringer-laden blocker configurations last season, and Aaron Rodgers‘ top two protectors were largely not part of those. Bakhtiari and Jenkins have not played in a game together since Week 16 of the 2020 season.

Bakhtiari’s primary fill-in on the left side last season, Jenkins would be in line to play alongside him at left guard or at right tackle this season. The Packers can upgrade at most of their O-line positions by slotting in Jenkins, who is entering a contract year. Jenkins made the Pro Bowl as a guard in 2020 and represents an essential piece up front for the Super Bowl-contending team.

Matt LaFleur did not guarantee Bakhtiari, who missed Green Bay’s offseason program after being sidelined for 17 of the 2021 team’s 18 games, would be ready to go to start training camp. While the Packers have that as a goal, the team’s O-line health troubles will remain a central issue until Jenkins joins the All-Pro left tackle up front.

Having let Corey Linsley defect to the Chargers last year and having released Billy Turner in March, the Packers have just one notable veteran contract on their O-line (Bakhtiari’s $23MM-per-year pact). It would seem Jenkins has an opportunity to join Bakhtiari as a long-term cornerstone for the Packers up front. Missing a chunk of the season due to a 2021 injury would hinder Jenkins here, but a return to health during this upcoming slate would position him to be one of 2023’s top free agents.

Latest On Packers OL David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins

The Packers face significant questions along their offensive line, not as a result of personnel or performance, but due to injuries. Both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins continue to recover from ACL tears, which will remain an important storyline into the summer. 

Bakhtiari suffered the injury in practice last December, which dealt a significant blow to the team’s playoff run. There was optimism that he would be able to return to full health at some point in the 2021 campaign, but things didn’t go according to plan. He wasn’t activated until November, and only saw the field in Week 18. He was deactivated the following week, meaning he missed a second straight postseason.

That has, understandably, left the Packers cautious in their handling of the 30-year-old. The team made it clear recently that Bakhtiari wouldn’t participate in OTAs or minicamp, aiming instead for a return to action by training camp in late July.

“Time will tell,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said, via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, regarding the two-time All-Pro’s summertime availability. “We fully anticipate him being ready to go, but we did last year, as well… But we feel good about the work that he’s put in and where he’s at.”

Assuming Bakhtiari is able to regain his left tackle spot, that would leave Jenkins in need of a new position for 2022. He filled in at the blindside before suffering his own torn ACL in November, which leaves his Week 1 availability in doubt. Whenever he is able to return, the Pro Bowler could return to left guard, where he began his career. However, as Demovsky notes, Jenkins could move to right tackle as a replacement for Billy Turner.

With their top two o-linemen on the way to full health, the unit is in line to perform at a higher level in 2022 than it did last year. While it remains to be seen, of course, if Bakhtiari and Jenkins will regain their high-end form upon return, there is cause for optimism for two of the team’s most important offensive contributors.