The Green Bay Packers are heading into the 2022 season with a very deep roster. While they could use some more playmakers on offense to help out star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, their depth chart looks pretty secure with Week 1 of the regular season creeping up.
Despite that, there are some backups on the Packers roster that are making pushes to earn starting gigs as training camp and preseason play begin to come to a close. Time is beginning to run out, but could their efforts help them earn a starting gig once the regular season starts?
As the competition heats up in Green Bay, it’s worth taking a look at two backups that could end up with starting jobs by the time the 2022 season starts up. Let’s identify two Packers players making serious pushes to earn a starting role for the team come Week 1.
2 Packers backups who can steal a first-string job in 2022
2. Romeo Doubs
Romeo Doubs has been earning praise all throughout training camp for his solid play at wide receiver. The Packers, after losing Davante Adams this offseason, need all the help they can get at wide receiver, and Doubs has made a solid first impression that could lead to him getting a starting job right off the bat this upcoming season.
Doubs is a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft who has stood out throughout training camp for making highlight reel plays pretty consistently. Doubs has shined in training camp, and even earned direct praise from Rodgers himself for his strong play. That play has carried over into the preseason, where Doubs has managed to make some big plays in each of Green Bay’s first two contests.
In Week 1 of the preseason against the San Francisco 49ers, Romeo Doubs hauled in a 33-yard touchdown on a critical 4th-and-3 play. Doubs beat his man right off the line, and Jordan Love had one of his easier throws of the day. In Week 2, Love found Doubs again, this time for a four-yard touchdown. The degree of difficulty on this catch was much greater, as Doubs had to jump up and extend over his man in coverage to haul in a nice pass from Love on a fade route in the end zone.
Doubs knack for big plays should prove helpful for the Packers once the regular season rolls around. However, Doubs has been plagued by drops throughout training camp and the preseason, and it could derail his case for a starting role. Despite his impressive touchdown catch, Doubs had two drops in Green Bay’s second preseason game, and those are the types of things that will put an end to a successful training camp period.
Doubs is pushing Sammy Watkins for the final starting wide receiver role in the Packers offense, and if he continues his solid play, he could end up overtaking him by Week 1. Romeo Doubs is still very raw, but his ability to reel off big plays whenever he pleases could be just what Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense needs in 2022.
1. AJ Dillon
AJ Dillon has emerged over the past two seasons to become a near equal to Aaron Jones in the Packers backfield. And there’s a chance that Dillon could be set to take over for Jones at some point in the 2022 season, maybe even as early as Week 1.
As Jones struggled through an injury-filled 2021 season, AJ Dillon put together a breakout season. Dillon’s 2021 stats (187 CAR, 803 YDS, 5 TD, 34 REC, 313 YDS, 2 TD) look fairly similar to Jones’ (171 CAR, 799 YDS, 4 TD, 52 REC, 391 YDS, 6 TD) indicating that there may not really be as big of a gap between the two as initially expected.
Heading into the 2022 season, Jones and Dillon serve as more of a 1A/1B duo rather than a true starter/backup scenario. Both guys are effective in their own ways, with Jones being more shifty and elusive, while Dillon is more of a bruiser. They work as a duo, but it’s clear that Jones has been the 1A option, while Dillon has been the 1B.
Could that change in 2022? There’s certainly a shot for it to happen. Jones and Dillon were pretty much equals last season, and if Jones struggles early on, Dillon could take over as the Packers starter. Many believe the starting running back role will be Dillon’s at some point in the future, and there’s a chance the future could be upon us as soon as this upcoming season.
Dillon is admittedly going to have to do a lot to swap roles with Jones, but it’s not as far-fetched of an idea as many may think it to be. Dillon has proven to be an effective running back in a partnership with Jones, and while Jones should get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to bouncing back from a down 2021 season, AJ Dillon could take control of the running back room with a strong start to the season.