Doubs unexpectedly missed the final preseason game against Seattle with a hamstring injury. At the time, Matt LaFleur said at the time that he thought holding Doubs out of that game was more “precautionary,” and that they’d have a better idea of where he was at this week.
Watson’s absence came up out of nowhere as well. When asked on when Watson’s injury popped up, LaFleur wouldn’t specify. On the injury report, it said that Watson was out with a hamstring injury as well.
During Wednesday’s post practice press conference, LaFleur would say, as he often does, that they will give Watson and Doubs the whole week and see where they are at on Sunday.
In an already young and inexperienced receiver room, the unknown around Doubs’ and Watson’s statuses for Sunday’s game does come with some concern, with these two expected to see the bulk of the targets at the position this season.
As LaFleur has mentioned previously, Doubs has the ability to run just about any route and win in all parts of the field, which makes him a high volume target for Jordan Love. Watson, meanwhile, brings big play ability regardless of what part of the field he is targeted in with his speed and even without getting the ball, he’s able to impact the game by creating opportunities for others with the attention that he draws.
The run game was already expected to be a key element to Sunday’s game against Chicago. For one, a stout running game takes some of the burden off of Love’s shoulders and will help keep the offense out of obvious passing situations. This is also a Bears’ defense that really struggled to stop the run a season ago, which in Weeks 2 and 13, the Packers were able to take advantage of.
However, if the Packers are without either Watson or Doubs – and especially both – we could see Chicago really crowding the line of scrimmage in an effort to take away the run game, forcing the running backs to run into heavy boxes, along with making Love and the inexperienced receivers and tight ends that he does have available beat this defense.
”We’ve got a plan in place and we will play the guys that are ready to go,” said LaFleur. “The one thing about this league is nobody cares. You’ve got to find a way to get it done and I think our guys have taken that mindset, no matter who is out there. The expectations remain the same and that is to go out there and play winning football. So we will get our guys ready to go.”
Also on the injury report was David Bakhtiari, who did not practice either, although these absences have been a regular part of his practice schedule. Rashan Gary and Dontayvion Wicks were limited participants, while Anthony Johnson was a full participant. Some good news is that neither De’Vondre Campbell nor Darnell Savage were listed. Campbell had been out for a few weeks with an ankle injury and Savage was sitting out during the last practice open to the media.