GREEN BAY, Erase. — The Green Bay Packers’ Week 1 prospects improved on Sunday after coach Matt LaFleur said three key players — offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, tight end Robert Tonyan and rookie receiver Christian Watson — have been activated from the physical not in able to run the list.
While it doesn’t guarantee that the trio will be available for the September 11 opener with the Minnesota Vikings, it at least offers the opportunity. If they had stayed on PUP to start the season, they would have missed at least the first four games. Both Jenkins and Tonyan have torn left ACLs from last season and Watson suffered a right knee shortly before training camp.
“It’s like the next step in the process,” LaFleur said on Sunday. “It’s not like they’re going to be there in team drills. But they’ll be doing some individual drills and now that they’re back you can do some walkthroughs now, which will obviously be very beneficial for, especially for a guy who’s not in National Football.” League have played like Christian. So it will be great to get them there for some of the walkthroughs.”
Still, it may help resolve some questions about the Packers’ crime. Jenkins was a Pro Bowler at left guard in 2020, then filled in on the left tackle last season for All-Pro David Bakhtiari (who remains on PUP after undergoing third knee surgery since his first left ACL tear). Jenkins could return to guard or tackle left, but could also fill another gap on a right tackle. The Packers substituted several players during training camp in both right guard and right tackle. LaFleur even joked that Jenkins could play tight end.
“As for where he’s going to play, I think time will tell,” said LaFleur. “I don’t want to tie on the right side. I don’t want to tie on the left. I don’t want to tie on a tight end.”
It was a relatively quick comeback for Jenkins, who was injured in Minnesota on November 21.
“I think Elgton has done everything everyone has asked him to do regarding the rehab process,” LaFleur said. “He’s been super disciplined and he’s putting the work into it. That will be a big boost when he’s completely free to help us. Because there aren’t many guys, number 1, as talented as he is, but also as versatile as He is.”
Tonyan sustained his injury nearly a month earlier, on October 28 in Arizona, leaving the Packers without an apparent game-changing end. The previous season, Tonyan caught 11 touchdown passes in 2020.
Watson, the Packers’ second-round pick, competed throughout the offseason program but opted for surgery shortly after practice in June to correct nagging knee pain. He is expected to be part of the plan to replace All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in March, though fellow rookie receiver Romeo Doubs’ hot start may have put him past Watson to to start the season.
The Packers have three more players on PUP: Bakhtiari, kicker Mason Crosby (knee) and running back/kick returner Kylin Hill (knee). They also lost safety to Dallin Leavitt through a significant shoulder injury during Friday’s preseason opener in San Francisco and signed kicker Ramiz Ahmed on Sunday after Gabe Brkic suffered a hamstring injury.