The Green Bay Packers might be looking at their matchup in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears with the idea that WR1 Christian Watson won't be playing.
It's not looking good for Watson, who was still not practicing as of Thursday due to a hamstring issue. Thankfully for the Packers, however, Romeo Doubs returned to practice for the first time in a couple of weeks, also due to a hamstring.
It's not the problem you want to have in Week 1. You'd obviously rather have an overabundance of available guys at every position, but such is life in the NFL. Maybe the Packers should pursue some of these free agent options we suggested sitting on practice squads or available elsewhere. More realistically, guys on the roster already are going to have to step up in a big way.
Who will be the "direct" replacement for whatever volume of targets Christian Watson was scheduled to receive against the Chicago Bears? Let's take a look at three players who are going to need to step up big-time for the Green Bay Packers in Week 1.
3 players who could shine for the Packers in Christian Watson's absence
The obvious: Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed
As long as Romeo Doubs is good to go, we can expect him to be the primary receiver to "shine" in the absence of Christian Watson, right?
As good as Doubs's preseason was in 2022 for the Packers, his regular season was a little disappointing by comparison. He was a rookie fourth-round pick, so you have to grade him on a curve, but expectations for growth in year two are apparent. Doubs appears entrenched as the Packers' WR2 and you expect that guy to step up in the absence of WR1.
Jayden Reed was also drafted in round two for a reason. The Packers believe he can be an instant contributor and difference-maker, and with his ability to get open quickly out of the slot, perhaps the "former" Bears fan will put on a show on Sunday.