GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers called an audible on Wednesday. Left tackle David Bakhtiari was not scheduled to work but, there he was, going through the pre-practice warm-up before jogging onto Clarke Hinkle Field for what was set to be a low-impact practice.
Bakhtiari’s involvement was noteworthy. He made his 2022 debut during Sunday’s victory at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting and playing 35 snaps in his first game in 37 weeks and his second appearance since suffering a torn ACL on Dec. 31, 2020.
“Physically completely different,” Bakhtiari told reporters after the game in contrasting this to his playing in the 2021 finale at Detroit but then being inactive for the playoff loss to San Francisco two weeks later.
Meanwhile, right tackle Elgton Jenkins was working hard on a stair-climber. Jenkins and fellow offensive lineman Caleb Jones were the only players not participating on Wednesday.
Cornerback Jaire Alexander, who suffered a groin injury on the opening series at the Buccaneers, and receiver Christian Watson, who was inactive with a hamstring injury, returned to action.
Coming off a grueling victory in the heat and humidity of Tampa, Fla. – and perhaps with an eye on next week’s trip to London – coach Matt LaFleur put his team through a jog-through practice. Speaking before practice, LaFleur said Bakhtiari would get Wednesday off, like he did last week.
“That was the plan, regardless whether we were going to have a real practice or not,” LaFleur said.
That plan changed, perhaps thinking that putting Bakhtiari through a low-stress practice on Wednesday was the way to go, then giving him a break for the higher-intensity Thursday.
“We’re fluid around here, man,” LaFleur said. “We’re fluid.”
The Packers will host the New England Patriots on Sunday. Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t rule out quarterback Mac Jones, who suffered a high-ankle sprain late in last week’s loss vs. Baltimore.
“Saw Mac a little while ago. Definitely getting better,” Belichick told reporters. “Probably won’t practice today but he’s definitely made a lot of progress in the last 48 hours. We’ll take it day-by-day and see how it goes.”
On follow-ups, Belichick continually and slowly said “day by day.” Then, he was asked about Jones’ options for rehabilitation and recovery.
“Day-by-day,” Belichick said. “What do I look like, a doctor? An orthopedic surgeon? Like, I don’t know. Talk to the medical experts … do you think I’m going to read the MRI? That’s not my job.”
If Jones can’t play, veteran Brian Hoyer will get the start. The 36-year-old has started two games since the start of the 2018 season. Overall, he’s lost 11 consecutive starts.
“Mac’s been unbelievable, honestly, having a Pro Bowl year and doing some great things this year, as well,” LaFleur said. “Whoever’s out there, you’ve just got to adjust and adapt. It’s a little bit different when you’re going against a guy who’s a real mobile quarterback and then you have to go to a pocket passer, so I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of difference within their game plan on how they want to attack us.”