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How injuries ruined Packers’ long-shot plan at wide receiver in 2022

How injuries ruined Packers’ long-shot plan at wide receiver in 2022

The Green Bay Packers’ master plan for rebuilding the wide receiver room in the post-Davante Adams era was always a bit of a long shot, especially in the short term, but unrelenting injuries made sure the plan never really got off the ground.

All five of the Packers’ top receivers entering the 2022 season have dealt with at least one injury.

The explosive and speedy second-round pick got hurt. And then got hurt again. And hurt again.

The reliable returning veterans got hurt.

The injury-prone veteran addition got hurt.

And to cap it all off, the ascending fourth-round pick got hurt.

It’s certainly possible Brian Gutekunst’s plan was doomed from the start. In an effort to replace the best receiver in football (Adams) and one of the best deep threats in football (Marquez Valdes-Scantling), the Packers signed veteran Sammy Watkins and drafted Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure. Expecting a fading veteran with an injury history longer than a CVS receipt, two Day 2 picks from small schools and a seventh-round pick to fill in the gaps left behind by Adams and Valdes-Scantling was overly optimistic at best and roster-building malpractice at worst, especially for a team in a contending window with a 38-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback.

But even the best-case scenario never had a chance because no one could stay on the field.

Watson missed most of training camp after having knee surgery, missed regular-season games because of two hamstring injuries and then was knocked out of a game in the first quarter with a concussion. Entering Week 10, Watson had all of 10 catches over 121 snaps played. He exploded over the last two games, catching eight passes and five touchdowns over 103 snaps. Where would this team be with a healthy Christian Watson over 11 games?

Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, the two highly efficient complementary players, have both missed time. Lazard missed games with a foot injury (Week 1) and shoulder injury (Week 8) and has played through pain from both injuries in multiple games. Cobb left Week 6 with an ankle injury and missed four games while on injured reserve. The Packers desperately needed both Lazard and Cobb to be the anchors of the receiver room, but the pair has played only a handful of games with both players completely healthy.

Watkins was a ticking time bomb that predictably blew up in Week 2. He missed four games with a hamstring injury and has struggled in the handful of games since his return. He’s…

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