Packers Rumors: Latest Buzz, Players to Watch at Mandatory Minicamp
Mandatory minicamp for the Green Bay Packers kicked off on Tuesday, signifying another step toward the NFL regular season.
The arrival of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was not present for voluntary OTAs, highlighted the first day of the minicamp.
The reigning MVP was missing from last year's mandatory minicamp. It was the first step of the holdout that eventually led to a new contract, which then led to the new extension he received this offseason.
With their quarterback in place, the Packers are again a threat to win the Super Bowl. But there are plenty of questions to answer and developments going on outside of just Rodgers showing up.
Here's a look at three things to monitor heading into the final two days of mandatory minicamp.
Christian Watson Shines in First Practice with Aaron Rodgers
Christian Watson is going to be a popular topic of discussion as he prepares for his rookie season. With Davante Adams off to Las Vegas, the 23-year-old is the most exciting addition in a receiver room that will need to make an impact.
After being selected with the No. 34 overall pick in the draft, he is facing the daunting task of transitioning to the NFL and becoming an immediate contributor.
So, when Watson dropped some passes in OTA work, it was a noteworthy development.
However, he put in a good practice when it really started to matter. Working with Rodgers for the first time, the receiver had a good day and displayed "perfect" hands, according to Andy Herman of Packer Report .
With the magnifying glass on Rodgers' receivers and the rookie in particular, this story is expected to swing to both extremes many times before the season starts. It's best to keep that in mind, but it's important Watson begins establishing a rapport with his quarterback now.
Allen Lazard Lone Holdout
One player who did not get the opportunity to work with Rodgers was Allen Lazard.
Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reported the wide receiver did not show up to the mandatory minicamp. He's technically not obligated to be there because he hasn't officially signed the restricted free agent tender the team has offered him.
The tender is worth $4 million this season and would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. Given the role he could play in the Packers' offense, it is not surprising that he would like to see more money.
The 26-year-old was second on the team in yards (513) and touchdowns (eight). While Watson, Sammy Watkins and fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs could all emerge as new weapons, none of them have the same experience with Rodgers.
As such, Lazard has a case for the Packers to commit more money to him based on what he has done.
Then again, the Packers have several other receivers who would love to work with an MVP quarterback. So, the Iowa State product's contract situation is worth keeping an eye on.
Jordan Love Drawing Praise from Teammates
Aaron Rodgers' absence at voluntary OTAs led to opportunities for Jordan Love to act as QB1 for the Packers.
Love was in the spotlight for the period of time when fans had to envision a post-Rodgers world. But since the quarterback committed to come back for the 2022 season Love has faded back into relative obscurity.
These OTAs are important for a player like Love, though. They gave him time to work with his teammates and they liked what they saw from the third-year quarterback.
“I think the confidence is there,” veteran receiver Randall Cobb noted, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “Just watching him process things a little bit quicker than he had before. I always thought he threw a great ball, but it’s all about doing it with a defense in front of you and putting it in tight windows."
Those kinds of reports might not matter for the Packers right now, but that could change quickly. Rodgers has remained relatively healthy but he's 39 years old.
Green Bay is one injury away from relying on Love and Rodgers is not guaranteed to play out his new four-year deal.